Have you ever felt like you are stuck in a rut or faced a problem you can’t seem to move past or fix?
We have all gone through these patches. I have found there have been phases of life where no matter how hard I tried to reframe, goal set, escape, I simply could not get myself away from the whirlpool. Retrospectively, I realised in all of these periods of sustained suffering, I missed what I now understand is a critical first step. Acceptance.
To us Westerners it may sound a little counterintuitive, but the significant benefits of acceptance are both well researched and ascribed to in much of the world. To take one example, acceptance is one of the most fundamental tenants of Buddhism which teaches that in order to be free of suffering, one must first accept it. For those more interested in mainstream proof, the Harvard Medical School website has an entire article by Medical Doctor Srini Pillay on acceptance and its impact on wellbeing. The conclusion can be easily surmised from the title ‘Greater Self-Acceptance Improves Emotional Wellbeing,’ without even reading the article.
I first really learnt the criticality of acceptance while recovering from my paragliding accident which led me to the principles of ‘Glide to Soar.’ While I thought I knew its importance in the process of overcoming adversity, clearly I didn’t learn the lesson well enough as I have missed it for the last 1.5 years and suffered as a consequence.
At the end of 2019 I re-awoke to the to the fundamental necessity for acceptance after coming a hairs breadth from 21st century burn out earlier this year. For many multitudes of good reasons life, and more importantly work, had for a year and a half really been dragging me and I was as close as I have ever come to the glass fully empty view of the world. Acknowledging I was struggling and after finally getting over the perceived injustice that kept me fighting against the situation at work I tried time and again to get myself out of the situation. I reframed, goal set, tried to care less… nothing worked.
“To us Westerners it may sound a little counterintuitive, but the significant benefits of acceptance are both well researched and ascribed to in much of the world.”
It was only after a voice killing bout of laryngitis and during a combined doctor and wife enforced week of sick leave the problem struck me a blow like Muhammed Ali to the face. I had tried everything, everything but the first step. Despite the fact I had (eventually) done everything else right, deep down I still resented my situation, I still blamed it on my company and the cosmos. The result was like trying to do photography without first buying a camera. I could do everything else right, use the correct shutter speed, aperture and frame everything perfectly, but without the camera I never got the shot.
Though I would love to say that like a phoenix from the ashes I arose from the fires of burn out as soon as soon as I realised and applied this seemingly insignificant step, recovering was obviously a slightly longer process. The stark and incredible truth though was the realisation alone was enough that I felt the weight of cynicism lift and feel a flicker of hope, which I never realised I lost, start burning again. With true acceptance attained, my hike out of the rut started.
Do yourself a favour, stop and think about whatever it is that you’re holding onto, present or past. Then with every part of you genuinely try to accept it for whatever it is; a part of life, another individual or just a thing, and let yourself stop fighting. When you let the weight of the past go and get gliding, you’ll be surprised how fast you can soar.
Trust me, when you get this right, it WILL change your world.
Want more blogs like this, top tips and free content to help you reach fulfilment? Sign on to our mailing list below to join our community aimed at building a better world!
Click on the pictures for more stories or to contact Shane.