The word Acceptance is often used in spirituality or in almost every program for Self-Growth. However, the term has varied meanings which makes it necessary for us study it in detail, since implications arising from a wrong understanding can be hazardous.
Is acceptance a sign of weakness, to be seen only as compromising and adjusting to a situation, OR would it also allow us to change something about ourselves and become stronger?
1) Acceptance of the Situation as in letting go:
There can be situations where we may be needed to surrender ourselves to the situation and accept the situation as it is. These situations can be seen as something external to us or also as something about us. The need for acceptance comes from two perspectives;
a) The situation cannot be changed – its beyond our capacity to change the situation or is an aspect of possibly our destiny/ fate/ past karma and hence cannot be changed.
b) The situation should not be changed – the situation could possibly be a necessity as a part of some future events or as necessity towards developing some necessary attribute. The other simple suggestion is hence about being patient and accepting the situation.
This kind of acceptance necessitates us to letting go our objectives and thence surrendering our efforts that we might have been in, till now. This further necessitates us to have faith in something above us, which is an aspect of the Brahmasahastra Chakra.
2) Acceptance As An Acknowledgement Of Both, Personal Sensitivities And Weaknesses:
What is the logic that has led me to the conclusion that either, I cannot or should not change the situation?
Is it a wrong feeling of personal incapacity which makes me believe that I cannot change something?
Or is it some sub-conscious anxiety that makes me believe that I should not be changing something about a situation that is disturbing me? Acceptance in such a situation, could actually be a compromise or an adjustment, which most of us invariably end up doing.
Secondly, if I am choosing to change a situation or something about a situation, is it necessary that there has to be always a problem in that situation? Is it also possible that my problem or experience of stress is in fact triggered by one of my own expectation or sensitivity?
In such a case, do I keep on changing innumerable people people around me, or do I change just my sensitivity and improve my experiences with everyone around me?
The results of such compromises or directing efforts towards changing wrong objectives, express themselves in the form of disturbed/ strained relations, irritable behavior, anxieties or even health problems such as obesity, hypertension, asthma, IBS, migraines, etc.
The need here hence is to introspect and;
1) Re-evaluate the criteria of our various decisions
2) Identify personal sensitivities and/or that are contributing to the experience of stress towards certain situations
Now Comes The Important Part:
The process of introspection (or Swadhyay) can be likened to a process of looking into a mirror and understanding yourself. The problem here is that the mirror shows ‘what you are’ and not ‘what you want to see yourself as’.
The process of Swadhyay hence runs the risk of showing us aspects of ourselves that could be detrimental to our Self-Esteem. As a part of our defense mechanisms, we hence usually end up rejecting or avoiding to acknowledge aspects of ourselves that are uncomfortable for us.
The question hence is, how can I work towards my self-growth if I am unable to acknowledge accept/ something about myself?
The need here hence is to learn to accept/ acknowledge knowledge about myself that arises during the process of Swadhyay, so that I can be aware about my own weaknesses. This awareness itself will be giving me the direction for my self-growth.
This kind of acceptance, necessitates us to be able to respect ourselves and not lose our self-esteem after identifying our own weaknesses. This unconditional self-respect and self-esteem is the result of our faith in our own unlimited potentials within us that we somehow have forgotten. This acceptance is an aspect of our Vishuddhi Chakra.