Friday, October 8, 2010

What You Don't Have to Accept

What You Don't Have to Accept
Written by Gina Lake
Acceptance is an important spiritual teaching because the ego is so unaccepting of the way life is. Therefore, acceptance can move us out of the ego and into Essence, which accepts whatever is going on. Acceptance is a spiritual tool that counteracts, or neutralizes, the ego and drops us into Essence. Acceptance, however, doesn't mean doing nothing about whatever is going on; it means that you accept whatever is going on, and then you respond to that from Essence. Not accepting what is going on keeps you identified with the ego and its solutions to whatever is going on. That's why acceptance is important—because it drops us into Essence, which knows how to respond kindly, compassionately, and wisely to any situation. If you don't want the ego making your decisions about what to do about whatever is going on, then first accept that it's going on, then see how Essence moves you in the moment to respond.

People often assume that accepting a situation means not attempting to change it or not removing yourself from it. That is a key misunderstanding. For instance, if someone is criticizing you or acting unkindly or abusively to you, you accept that that is happening (because it is!), and then you respond from Essence. That response is likely to be a rational one, not an emotional one, since the ego is the generator of emotions. Essence might express compassion or say something to the person who is being unkind or abusive to calm him or her or bring peace to the situation. Or Essence might remove you from the situation without saying a word. Or perhaps there is something to be learned from the situation that will register within you intuitively, which you will be able to catch if you aren't caught up in a negative emotion. But I want to be very clear that Essence doesn't accept abuse or unkindness. It accepts that unkindness is happening, but it doesn't allow it to continue, although it doesn't respond abusively or unkindly to it. This is an important distinction.

The ego responds automatically to unkindness and abuse in primarily two ways, both of which are dysfunctional: It responds by getting angry and judging, criticizing, or in some other way trying to hurt the abusive person. Or, if your ego has a self-image of unworthiness or of being a victim, then you accept the abuse, blame yourself for it, feel sad and worthless, and do nothing to stop it or remove yourself from the situation. If your parents or other people in your childhood have been unkind to you, then you probably have an egoic mind that is unkind to you (i.e., you have a lot of negative thoughts about yourself), and you are likely to accept unkind treatment from others because that's what you are used to and what you expect or think is normal or what you think you deserve.

No one can succeed at hurting you if you don't allow it. That is the good news. People can and do criticize and judge us all the time. But if it is the primary way someone is interacting with you, then acceptance means accepting that is happening and then also accepting that you don't like it and aren't willing to allow yourself to be abused and then giving yourself the gift of getting out of that environment.

When I talk about acceptance in my book Loving in the Moment, I'm talking about accepting other people's differences and conditioning (how they do things differently from you), not accepting criticism, blame, anger, judgment, or abuse on an ongoing basis. Yes, some of this negativity occurs in every relationship, but if that is what is primarily going on in your relationship, then Essence is wise enough to choose a more loving environment, even if it means being alone. Essence accepts that egos can be mean and nasty, but it does whatever is necessary to create an inner and outer environment in which peace and love can thrive. Essence moves, always, in the direction of love, and that means loving yourself enough to not accept unkindness and abuse.

By the way, not accepting negative behavior is also in the abusive person's highest good because that person needs to understand the impact of such behavior and not have it reinforced by you. This is why we send children to their room when they misbehave, isn't it? In doing this, we say, "I love you and accept you, but this behavior is unacceptable." We want to distance ourselves from a child who behaves badly by isolating them, and this accomplishes two things: The behavior is not reinforced and we are saying no to participating in a negative environment and yes to creating a more loving one.

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I am currently trying a new way of eating (forget about that nasty "D" word!). I am following the "Schwarzbein Principle" and learning ways to focus on creativity and taking care of ME. I am currently in Body Blissmas, a program started by Jill Badonsky. As I learn to focus on healthy eating and being happy and creative, I would like to help you do the same.

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