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Part 3: Acceptance and Anxiety

#Acceptance means accepting reality in the current moment. Acceptance means accepting the fact that you struggle with #anxiety and that it can be very uncomfortable, and at times, out of your control. No matter how hard you work to prevent the anxiety, the reality is it can still occur. Instead of trying to prevent the anxiety or make it go away, we want to accept that it might happen, and if it does, it will pass. A lot of anxiety comes from the uncertainty of life and life’s events. Will anxiety disrupt your day today or will you embarrass yourself at lunch? The truth is, no one is certain about anything in life. We never know what will happen later today or tomorrow. Most individuals who do not have anxiety simply have an easier time accepting the uncertainty or have a false sense of certainty. So to try and fight the discomfort of the uncertainty, individuals with anxiety often, unsuccessfully, try to control the things around them. However, the more you fight your anxiety, the more power you give it and the stronger it will become. Think about your anxiety like ripples in water when a pebble is dropped into it. The only way to make the water stop moving is to wait. In other words, we need to be able to sit with uncomfortable emotion and allow it to pass.

You also need to accept that life is not meant to be pain free. I know, crazy, right? It seems in today’s society, we have gotten so used to immediate gratification for almost everything that it is very difficult for some people to deal with adversity. If we are lost, we Google directions and they show up in seconds. If we run out of toilet paper, we order it on Amazon and it gets delivered in a few hours. If we don’t like how we are feeling, we take a pill to make it go away. Unfortunately, bad things happen and you will experience uncomfortable emotions because of these things.

We experience emotions like guilt, sadness, regret, and even anxiety to help us live more successfully. We learn from our failures, we develop empathy when we hurt someone, we appreciate the people in our lives when we lose someone we love, and we teach our children safety before they go out into the world alone. Accept that even the uncomfortable emotions have a place in your life. It isn’t about making these go away, but learning how to deal with them appropriately when they arise.

What Acceptance Does Not Mean

There is often a misconception about what acceptance means. People think this means forgiveness, weakness, giving in, doing nothing, or accepting limitations. It is very important to note that acceptance does not mean any of this! When talking about acceptance, all that is meant is that negative things have or are happening and we need to accept that reality. A person working through childhood trauma needs to accept that these experiences happened. This does not mean what happened was okay, that they need to forgive the people involved, or that they should stop trying to make changes to the limitations this trauma has caused. Acceptance is accepting the fact that these experiences happened. Do not misconstrue acceptance for something that it is not. Through acceptance you can work on change and improvement starting from where you currently are.

Want to learn more about anxiety and how to treat it? Check on my eBook, Conquer Anxiety in Ten Weeks: A Guidebook for Overwhelmed Women Who Dare to Be Fearless.

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