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I often think about the effort it takes to fight against something that already exists.  I suppose that is denial.  Which is appealing for many different reasons, but takes a lot of effort.  When an elephant is sitting in the room, it can take a lot of effort to pretend it doesn’t exist. Holding back reality can be exhausting. That is what has me contemplating the idea of acceptance today. And acceptance doesn’t mean that you have to want IT, or even like IT, it just means that you have to acknowledge that IT, whatever IT is, exists.

Examples of IT, that I often see (aside from elephants) are things such as anxiety, depression, brain injury, anger,or perhaps an unhappy relationship.

When people are working to deny the existence of these issues, they are often fearful of the work involved in dealing with them. Or they may be afraid of what it says about them and what others will think or how it will affect their sense of identity. What they don’t often realize is how much energy they expel trying to pretend these things don’t exist for them.

As I said before, an important piece of this acceptance process is knowing that you do not have to like or want the issue you are facing, but by acknowledging it’s presence, you can get the upper hand. For instance if you are to acknowledge that you have anxiety, you can start to get to know your anxiety.  As you get to know your anxiety, you can start to anticipate when it will affect you and to learn ways that you can better manage your anxious reactions. This knowledge can be empowering and instill a greater sense of control, allowing you to make choices that improve the overall quality of your life. The secondary benefit is often that when you increase your sense of control, you tend to reduce your anxiety. This idea of getting to know what your are fighting or resisting can work for all of this issues I listed above.

I don’t mean this as an easy fix, as there are days when facing the issue will continue to be challenging, but overall you are working toward a new relationship with the issue in which you have more control and it catches you by surprise less of the time. It is a process, but one I think is worth the effort.

Just a little food for thought . . . . What do you resist in your life? How could you get to know your IT in a new way? Work with your IT, not against IT!

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