If you believe the fluffy type of posts you see on Pinterest, accepting yourself is the key to all salvation. Or something. If you accept who you are, you will be happy. If you accept that you can’t change others, that you can’t stop the sun from spinning etc… happy. Right?
The Acceptance Myth
For the last few months I’ve been hammered by injury & illness non stop. From one to another. It has been shit. Exhausting. Painful. (Expensive!)
I’ve had to give up things and phone them in. A lot of phoning in & being half-assed, in fact.
Pretty much the only blog posts that have gone out here and on Bloggers and Bacon have been posts I already had scheduled. I had to admit I wasn’t coping with uni. I went to the doctor & got a medical certificate for extensions. I kept getting sick even after the extension though, so I still had to phone in just writing the assignments. I had to keep taking days off work. I ran out of sick leave & have dug pretty deeply into my annual leave too.
I have accepted all of this. It was happening. No amount of denial fixes how sick I was.
Did acceptance fix it all?
In fact as I kept getting sicker I had to keep finding more things to give up. I had to reach out to friends for ideas of what else I could give up. I kept finding things I could give up. It wasn’t easy but there are always more things you can drop.
- I was (am) still stressed by the things I dropped.
- I am worried my assignments were so bad I failed.
- I’ve had to put off some big behind the scenes changes on my blogs & I started having feverish dreams about them.
- I wondered what would happen at work without me there.
- I haven’t caught up on my lectures & Blackboard “participation”; made worse when I got an email “reminding” me that it’s worth 20% of my grade.
Accepting I wasn’t able to do those things didn’t eliminate the “I’m tired. I’m failing. The world is awful.” thoughts when I hadn’t rested enough.
Let me say that again: acceptance doesn’t eliminate the feeling that you’re not doing what you “should”.
Even acceptance combined with full medical care, extensions, sick and annual leave… a full strategy; didn’t stop the feeling that you’re not happy, because you’ve reneged on obligations.
There is no happy-glossy-shiny-unicorn-induced state of being when you’ve had to give up all the things.
Look for the bright spots
Even in this frustrating time, I’ve had a couple of really good things happen. Just an odd email that has brightened my day. Thanking me for this. Inviting me to that. Small things, and sometimes the thought of replying to an email has been overwhelming, but they were good things.
None of this to say you shouldn’t be accepting of your limitations, situations or anything like that. But accepting the wisdom of a quote on Pinterest is one thing. Expecting it to reflect the nitty gritty of reality is another thing entirely.
How do you view acceptance? Do you find that there is a difference between the life-coachey type of soundbites and how it applies in reality?
22 Replies to “The Acceptance Myth”
You’ve certainly had a bad run health-wise!
You reminded me of the ‘body acceptance’ movement… accepting our bodies no matter what. There’s a train of thought that a better term for some of us may be ‘body neutrality’ which isn’t quite as passive. It reminds us that self-hate does little to help but considers that we may not fully ‘accept’ the status quo.
(If that makes sense!)
Yes, I find the body acceptance thing a bit hard. I am the heaviest I’ve ever been (compounded by my recent injury and illnesses). I don’t like my body at its current weight or shape. I don’t feel good. But that doesn’t mean I hate myself. I just need to be well enough to be exercising again and maybe have the energy to cook proper meals more consistently. Just because I don’t like my body right now doesn’t mean I hate myself.
I totally understand this post hun. I have spent 7 months basically in bed with breast cancer this year and believe me, that gave me a lot of time for thought and not much else. I hope you feel better soon. I am back on my feet now and doing a whole lot of catching up!
I’m so glad to hear you’re on your feet again Jody! You’ve been amazing during this time.
I’ve done a bit of ACT (Acceptance & Commitment Therapy) with a counselor. I did find it helpful. It was more about accepting that you can’t control thoughts and feelings as much as we think and learning to let them come and go without attaching to them too much. But yeah, inspirational quotes on social media: blerrrrghhh
Hope you’re on the mend very soon.
I think that’s a good point to make; and maybe what I was inarticulately trying to say! The thoughts will still happen, but that is different from taking action on them. Though I wish I’d had the ability to rid my head of the thoughts that one bad fevery night. I mean, who half-hallucinates email automation sequences!? It was stressful.
Oh Vanessa, you’ve had a bloody bad trot. Although I haven’t been sick, Miss M’s constant colic has also made me have to postpone and pull out of things, I feel like I’m letting people down. Yes, I have accepted the fact I have a baby and she is my first priority but for me, acceptance isn’t about making it go away, acceptance is just making it easier to deal with decisions made.
When it seems like everything’s fluffy out there it can be very hard to get on. You’ve had a really hard time of it but those little emails that have kept you going are worth gold. #LovinLifeLinky
I could have written some of this Vanessa! I have had to learn so much about what I can and cant control in my life over the past 2 years and to say I need to accept them sounded trite to me. How could I accept something I didnt like or feel? What I have learned via my psychologist. my readings and my work via ACT that Ness mentions is that I can ‘sit’ with things a little more readily (not easily) and eventually the thoughts etc pass. It helps to be mindful more. I do not like memes but I have made some sayings up that help me and I may share them from time to time. I hope you are beginning to feel well again. Physical illness can be such a downer. Thanks for linking up today.
It sounds like you’ve had a really crappy time Vanessa. I felt the exhaustion coming through your words. Denyse, I could have written part of your comment! I learned to ‘sit’ with my feelings from a very good counselor years ago while I was mending from a particularly traumatic situation. It was the hardest thing I think I’ve learned to do, and I still lean on her tools today when I need to (even though I’ve not seen her for over 10 years). I find mindfulness and gratitude help me a lot, and I have to admit, I love inspirational quotes. Reading books with them interspersed always gives me a lift! Each to their own. I’m getting better at my ability to accept things (when I have to)…. I try and get to the ‘letting go’ part as soon as I can if that’s what will benefit me. But it’s hard. The serenity prayer (even though I’m not religious) has always helped me out. But, sometimes no matter what I think or do, life is just plain unfair. Letting go of that is something I still have difficulty with sometimes. I hope you start to feel better inside and out soon, Vanessa. It’s hard to see ahead when life is such a struggle. x
Just because you accept it doesn’t mean you have to like it! It sucks!
Oh bad health scares how they warp our minds. I suffered from about 6 straight weeks of severe vertigo with a newborn baby and it took it’s toll badly- finally recovered and BAM hey anxiety! Mind over matter is such an important yet difficult thing to achieve!
Oh BIG huge hugs!!!!
Well bloody said! Acceptance doesn’t actually solve any of these problems. It’s not going to make you well or do your uni work. Having a plan is helpful and doing what you can is helpful. But sitting around in acceptance does diddly squat. For me, it’s up there with “the secret”.
What a shockingly overwhelming and difficult season. I can’t even begin to imagine.
One phrase that has helped me distinguish between accepting the things that need to be accepted, and making changes that need to be made is this:
know the season you’re in and respond appropriately.
That phrase tells me that this period of challenge is not forever. It empowers me to make good choices and decisions about what needs to happen during the season. It enables me to understand that I don’t have to be plagued by the “shoulda, coulda woulda’s”. I am also comforted that I don’t need to follow the unhelpful “advice” from friends and family who think they understand the fullness of my situation.
I hope things improve for you – that your season of illness becomes of a season of recovery and renewal. In the meantime, care well for yourself.
To say you’ve had a rough trot is an understatement. I hope things are on the improve. You are right in what you say about acceptance. Although I do believe in part, I think you first need to be in a good place before you can embrace acceptance. And that’s hard.
It would be nice if those airy fairy quotes fixed everything. Obviously put out there by someone in a good place with good intentions.
Sorry you’re going through a shit time. I hope it’s over soon and you can have a easier time of it x
Sorry you have had a shite time. Hang in there…xx
Hoping that better health and better times are on the way to you ASAP!
Acceptance and I really don’t get along, as I am so left brained that I keep looking for solutions to any problem at hand.
I’m big on acceptance and commitment. Had to use it with my fibromyalgia. Just accepting my new normal and committing to be the best I could be within it. It’s still shite of course … but … what can you do?
No matter what happens, it is difficult to your change circumstances. Whether you’ve been trying to sell an acreage property; for debt reasons or trying to maintain good health. Yes it is ‘not good’ when you get behind on uni assignments. Sometimes, if it’s not too late deferring is an option because I found the HECS debt still exists if deferring is too late. You’re right the bright spots, a quiet smile, a positive comment, a kind word can change the endorphins to feeling a little better despite the constant disasters. Take care and grasp the positives. Cheers M
I believe in accepting what you cannot change. It doesn’t mean I have to like it, but I understand that that is just how it goes sometimes.
I hope you are feeling better and your rough trot comes to an end really soon.
Thanks for linking up to #MummyMondays