by Scott Bragg
Acceptance is a concept that is discussed widely throughout self-help programs. It is a big part of one’s recovery, whether it is for mental health or substance abuse issues. The concept may be simple in theory, but not necessarily easy to practice.
Here is an introduction in defining acceptance that begins to scratch the surface….
Acceptance is not approval
Accepting an event or situation does not mean that you like or approve of what has occurred. It is merely an acknowledgment of what has happened. It consists of coming to terms with an unfortunate situation. A timely example is that the COVID-19 pandemic has been a challenging lifestyle change for many. As a result, people have come to terms with many changes in routine, such as a stay at home order. Of course, most people are not pleased that restaurants, bars and malls are not open. However, many choose to accept this because of the pandemic, or at least have realized that we cannot control the situation at hand. Acceptance allows us to feel
Acceptance deals with feelings head on
The act of acceptance opens doors for us to endure our feelings. Sometimes those feelings experienced are difficult for us. Sometimes they are not so difficult. However, when practicing acceptance we learn tools reinforcing the ability to “sit with” our feelings. These tools prevent us from avoiding our feelings, which can lead to unhealthy coping skills. Self-harm, excessive use of alcohol or other drugs, and verbal aggression are examples of unhealthy coping skills caused by avoidance.
Acceptance leads to change
Accepting an event or situation is a launching pad for change. While avoidance leads to being stagnant or even going back to old ways, acceptance allows us to move on. For example, when an individual acknowledges having anxiety, depression or other issues, they will learn to deal with those issues. The acknowledgement of the issues then leads to learning new skills and building confidence going forward.
This blog offers a glimpse into how the process of accepting. Many people struggle with acceptance when their lives become unmanageable. Seeking professional help is not a sign of weakness or failure. It is a positive step that can lead to lasting change when partnered with the right therapist.
Scott Bragg is a Licensed Professional Counselor and Certified Addictions Counselor (CAADC) in the state of Pennsylvania. He has passion for helping men with mood disorders, especially new dads.
The purpose of this blog is to educate and entertain. It does not replace treatment from a mental health professional.