Finding Emotional Freedom In Acceptance
In this striving, individualistic society, the virtue of acceptance is undervalued. Most of our thoughts and efforts are directed toward achieving our goals and bending life to conform to our will. We reject, avoid, or try to change what we don’t like and work to create a life and to seek or create relationships that are to our liking.
Such ego-striving has its value as it can achieve many good results. But it has its limits and unwittingly results in much unnecessary suffering for the person when our efforts do not bring the desired results. When our efforts meet with failure or resistance, detachment and acceptance is required and can be helpful. This is a little-known secret of mental health.
Acceptance is a stance toward life: a willingness to accept circumstances we do not like (difficulties, hardship, discomfort, suffering). It involves acceptance of self and of others, and accepting the reality of a moment or situation without resistance, opposition, or negative judgment. It also involves the refusal to engage in fruitless argument, contention and fighting. It involves recognition that we come up against obstacles and difficulties for a reason and that there is something to be learned from them. It is maintaining a neutral stance.
Emotional detachment is the corresponding required attitude. Detachment does not mean non-caring. It means opening to a perspective that is bigger than oneself. It simply means letting go of judgments and futile efforts at control. It means suspending judgment and not being controlled by our feelings. It is being the detached observer: noticing what we are experiencing, without negative judgements of either self or other or of whether we like something or not. More than that, it involves letting go of obsessive, repetitive, unproductive thoughts and just observing.
Together, an attitude of acceptance and the practice of detachment allow for openness to outside input, intuition, and inspiration, which allows for solutions that our ordinary habits of ego-centric thinking do not allow, and which are always the source of new inventions and creative solutions, insight and understanding, and solutions to the problems of life. This also brings release from frustration, anger, anxiety, grief, hopelessness, despair and depression, and as such are important keys to mental health that frees us from unnecessary psychic suffering and brings greater happiness within oneself and results in better relationships and results with others.