The Resilience Challenge Day 1: Acceptance, “It is what it is”

woman stands facing backward watching sunny sky
by Barry Winbolt

Following my last blog, here is the first of my daily tasks to enable you to develop the habits of highly resilient people.

When faced with an unexpected demand or problem situation you can resist it, or you can accept what’s happening. This exercise will help develop your ‘acceptance’ mindset. Fighting and complaining about a problem only wears you down and makes the problem seem worse. Accepting it, on the other hand, allows you to divert your energy to something productive. 

If you are struggling with an impossible workload or a seemingly unresolvable situation it will wear you down and tire you out. However, highly resilient people know how to confront the situation so that the stress doesn’t get to them.

The first task in the five-day challenge is to start practicing the habit of acceptance. “It is what it is”, as they say. Don’t waste time complaining about things, step up, and accept it. This will allow you to get on and do something about it.

Being accepting of circumstances allows you to direct your energy towards goals and solutions. Refusing to accept is simply fighting with reality, it’s tiring and you won’t win.

By the way, accepting doesn’t mean liking. If a situation is unfair or unjust you may still need to do something about it. As you become more resilient you’ll be better placed to do that.

Accepting a situation doesn’t mean you’re giving in, it means you have faith in your ability to survive it and learn from it.

Day 1 Challenge: Practice Acceptance

Think of a situation you have been resisting (I’ll call it ‘the problem’). It can be work or anything else, as long as it concerns you directly (for example, grave though such matters are, politics and climate are out). Let’s call this ‘State 1’.

Now think of a situation that you accept without fighting it. Bad weather for example, or the inevitability of the traffic on your commute. (This is State 2).

Personal Resilience Course

The idea here is to identify that accepting part of you in action. We all have something we accept because we know that we can’t influence it. 

It may not be obvious to you at first. We often become unaware of things we’ve just accepted, so you may need to give it some thought.

When you have identified State 2, ask yourself questions about how you managed to be accepted like that. For example:

  • “How do I do that?”
  • “What do I tell myself about it that makes it possible for me to just accept this?”
  • “How does it feel when I let go and accept something like that?”

Accepting your Strength

I’ll call this attitude of acceptance your ‘accepting strength’. The questions above should help you be more conscious of your skill of acceptance. You can now apply it to ‘the problem’ situation.

When I did this exercise with a client recently—I’ll call here Clare—she immediately said:

“It feels lighter, it lessens the amount of effort I need to think about it. I don’t know why, but I feel calmer already”

Now that you can recognize how it feels to be accepted like that, you can apply it to something in your life that has been causing you pain. Remember the saying: 

“Every day may not be good, but there’s something good in every day”. 

Start practicing this today, and in the days that follow. 

For Day 2’s Resilience Challenge see here.

To learn more about resilience see: Personal Resilience

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