I would like to quote a part of this used book called 'You Can't Afford The Luxury Of A Negative Thought - A Book For People With Any Life-Threatening Illness--Including Life' I bought today:
A Is for Acceptance
Acceptance is such an important part of happiness, contentment, health, and growth that some people have called it "the first law of personal growth."
The world goes on, people do what they do, events come and go and for the most part, our only choice in all this is, "Do I accept it or not?" If we accept it, we flow with it. We allow life to do what it's already doing.
If we refuse to accept it, we usually feel pressure, pain, frustration, anxiety, and dis-ease. We struggle with what is. The struggle, for the most part, takes place within us--where it also does most harm.
Acceptance is not the same as liking, or being happy about, or even condoning. It is simply seeing something the way it is and saying, "That's the way it is." It's seeing what's going on and saying, "That's what's going on." It's looking at something that's happening and saying that's what's happening."
Acceptance is realizing that to do other than accept is (a) painful and (b) futile. Through nonacceptance we try to control the world. We want our "shoulds," "musts," and demands to rule the world.
It doesn't work. It simply does not work.
To prove how futile the struggle to control the world, get up tomorrow at 4 am and try to keep the sun from rising. Do everything you can to keep it from coming up. Struggle madly. Use all your power, influence, money, friends, and political connections to help. You won't be able to delay its scheduled ascension for so much as a millisecond.
Maybe you don't want to control the turning of the earth; you just want to control the world around you. Good luck on that one too. The truth is , we sometimes can't even control ourselves--that part of the universe we have the most direct influence over. If we can't control our own thoughts, feelings, and physical reactions, how can we hope to control others?
Nature goes on being nature in its own natural way. We have very little control over it. What do we have control over? The space within the skin of our body. We can work to make that environment as loving, joyful, peaceful, and delightful as we like. That in itself is a lifelong project--and a worthy one too.
The rest--the outer environment--does what it does. There's not much more to do than say, "It's doing what it's doing."
When we set out to change a small fraction of the outer universe we do have some ability to change, one of the best starting points is acceptance. The sculptor begins by accepting the block of marble as it is, and then removes everything that isn't a statue. When asked how to sculpt a horse, one artist explained, "I see the horse in the stone; then I take away everything that is not the horse."
Michelangelo's David was carved from a flawed block of marble. Another sculptor had begun work on the block and abandoned it. There was a deep gash in the side making the stone "unacceptable" to sculptors for decades. Michelangelo, however, accepted the marble--gash and all--and created one of the marvels of humanity.
We begin with acceptance and move from there. This includes acceptance of ourselves. We are, please remember, a part of nature. We can be as contrary as a thunderstorm on a picnic. That "natural" part of us has its own rhythms, its own timelines, and its own agenda. While bringing this "animal" under control, we must learn to accept it.
This "natural" part of us most people call the body and that's accurate, providing that you remember the body includes the brain that thinks the thoughts and the nerves that feel the feelings.
Thoughts and feelings are a necessary part of the human animal.
The "natural" part of us thinks the Fight or Flight Response is terrific. Eons of genetics have told it so. We now must gradually convince "it"that the Love and Acceptance Response is more valuable for our survival as an animal.
This convincing we call education. The source of the word is educare, "to lead forth from within." It's the gradual process of leading from within rather than being led from without.
In that process of teaching acceptance, we must practice acceptance. Set a good example for yourself. Learn to accept whatever you do. This, of course, is not carte blanche to run roughshod over others or to hurt yourself. It's just a realization that, being human, we're going to do things we're not going to like (and by "doing" I mean all levels of doing, including thoughts and feelings), and we might as well accept those too.
Learn to accept even your lack of acceptance. When you're not accepting something, accept you nonacceptance of it. Can't accept your nonacceptance? Then accept the fact that you can't accept your nonacceptance. If the bad stuff like guilt can pile up in layers (feeling guilty about feeling guilty about feeling guilty), so can the good stuff (accepting the fact that you can't accept your nonacceptance).
Yes it gets funny and it certainly can be fun. That's one of the keynotes of acceptance; a sense of lightness. As you accept the heaviness, you begin to feel "the unbearable lightness of being." Accept that, too. No: welcome it.
With acceptance, you can't set some things aside and say, "I'll accept these, but not those." Acceptance is unconditional. You can like one thing more than another--that's preference--but acceptance means not excepting anything. Actually, it's easier that way. You don't have to remember what to and what not to accept. If it is, accept it. Simple.
Schedule acceptance breaks throughout the day. Give yourself and acceptance break right now. Accept everything around you, everything inside you, everything about everything. Accept your thoughts. Accept your thoughts about your thoughts. Accept your thoughts about your thoughts about your thoughts. Accept whatever feelings you have, the sensations in your body. Don't try to change any of it--trying to change is a form of nonacceptance.
Accept your surrounding, your physical environment. Accept your room, its furnishings, the smells, the sounds, and the occupants. Accept your thoughts about what's there and about what's not there. Accept your memories, fantasies, demands,and opinions about how it should be.
Accept all the things you did but wish you didn't do and all the things you didn't do but wish you did. Notice that these decisions about what's hot and what's not about an activity (or inactivity) are thoughts too. Accepting thoughts--including the negative ones--is an important step toward greater joy.
And greater health.