Acceptance fuels change. Sound contradictory, doesn’t it? The definition of acceptance is critical. It's easiest to explain by showing what it isn’t. Take these perspectives on aging bodies.
Denial: I’m old, but I’d rather be injured than give up!
Resignation: I’m old, and there’s nothing I can do about it.
Acceptance: I’ve got limitations but so much is still available to me.
At 35 I injured my back so badly I could barely sit for 3 years. I couldn’t accept that I couldn’t even carry 2 gallons of milk! Firmly in denial, I constantly tested limits, reinjured myself, and became increasingly deconditioned and less capable!
Once I was pain-free, I stayed that way by not twisting. That meant no soccer or basketball with my kids and no tennis or golf with my husband. I was resigned to my limitations but hated it. My victim mindset drained me and others!
One day instead of mourning what I lost, I saw and was grateful for all I could do – things that were impossible just a year earlier. I could bike, run and even carry my children again! This motivated me to work with what I had to get stronger and more flexible. It took a long time, but I was able to even incorporate twisting motions into my workout, so now I can play tennis or golf as long as I stay in shape.
Acceptance reclaims the energy wasted in denial or lost in resignation. This energy creates a line of sight to new possibilities, thus fueling change.
For me, denial led to back sliding, resignation led to stagnation, and acceptance expanded my capabilities. Acceptance has helped my clients too. A creative client discovered and accepted that sometimes he needs structure to gain clarity. Another client accepted that the more time she spent following and discussing the news, the more anxious she felt. She limited this time and reduce her anxiety.
Where have you been in denial or resignation? What could acceptance open for you? Let’s start a conversation!