How To Learn Acceptance and Letting Go
By Genevieve Ava, B.I.S., NASM-CPT,
Life is not a smooth ride. There are always unexpected turns and twists that shake your perception of reality. You might also come across problems that you simply cannot solve. When this happens, it can be tempting to beat yourself up for what you cannot control. But this is not the right way. You are your own best (and most persistent) company, so you need to make it through this life on good terms with yourself. To do so, you need to learn acceptance and to let go of things that are out of your hands. Here’s how you can do that:
Start With Self-Compassion
When you find yourself unequipped to deal with certain situations, try not to get upset. Remember that this is completely normal. Nobody knows everything. Treat yourself as a student learning something new and not a robot who’s been programmed to make only the right moves. Only once you learn acceptance and let go of your grudges against yourself can you truly grow as a person. Your ignorance is not always your own choice. Some experiences come with age and time. Practice self-forgiveness and don’t scold yourself for not knowing in the past what you know now. Negative self-talk won’t change the past. It will destroy your present and infect your future with self-esteem-related problems.
Self-compassion comes from the understanding that you are your biggest supporter. Your body and mind have been through every good and bad day with you. And it is these two that can get you through the next ones. So instead of focusing on what you could not do, think about what you did do.
You have made it through tough times, so have faith in yourself to get you through this difficult time, as well. If you mess up, fail a test, lie to someone, or hurt someone’s feelings, don’t go into self-critic mode. Be gentle instead. Practice self-acceptance. Work to understand your motivations at that point and treat your behavior kindly. Mistakes are a very human thing. Accept what you did was wrong, but don’t do so in a self-reproaching manner. Talk to yourself as you would a child, and then work on correcting that mistake. This is not easy, and there will be days you’ll get tired of messing up over and over again. But how you treat yourself in those moments matters, and a kind approach will make a significant difference to your well-being.
Talk to Someone
Talking to someone else will make it easier for you to practice self-compassion. Nothing opens your eyes and gives you a new perspective better than telling someone about your problem and seeing it from their side. There’s a reason why so many forms of talk therapy exist. Suppressing your stress can only work for a limited time. It can manifest in various ways: irritation, sudden outbursts, numbness, muscle tension, headaches, and fatigue. Emotional baggage can cloud your judgement and make it harder to take practical action. Venting your feelings gives you more headspace to figure out a solution and look at the problem rationally. You can’t learn acceptance and letting go if you don’t address how holding on is effecting you.
By labelling what you’re feeling and putting it into words, you escape from flight-or-fight mode. It shifts the mindset from “What is going on?” to ‘How can I fix this?” If life has you in a painful loop from which you think there is no escape, you just have to take a step back. Verbalize what you’re feeling and what triggered it, and then put everything in its respective compartment.
Open-ended questions from a good talker or a friend can help you assess what’s going on in your head and why. You’ll be surprised how many connections you’ll find in your behavior by talking to someone about it. The listener will not only keep you company but also validate your concerns, which will boost your confidence. Plus, you’ll feel a little less lonely in your suffering, and that alone can make talking to someone worth it.
Gratefulness Can Help You Accept and Let Go
Getting too lost in your problems can damage your mental health. If you limit your thoughts to everything that’s wrong in your life, you’ll miss out on everything that’s right. You can’t learn how to practice self-love if you only think about your flaws. One way to approach this is through gratitude. Gratefulness will not fix your problems, but it will improve your relationship with them. You won’t be so concentrated on your life and it’s big and small miseries that you miss the golden opportunities that come your way. It will open your eyes to the hundreds of other doors still open to you.
According to a study conducted in 2019, optimism can promote healthy aging. And what promotes optimism? Gratefulness. It gives you reasons to look on the bright side. Even if you’re not a naturally optimistic person, it will help balance your scales. And you definitely need that stability as you age. So if you want to delay stress lines and wrinkles, learn about acceptance and letting go. Start with practicing gratitude and optimism. You can use journal prompts for inspiration.
Gratefulness teaches you to be thankful for the experience instead of spending your days thinking what could’ve been if you had done things differently. Writing about everything you’re grateful for is just one form of gratitude. Meditation, taking care of yourself, working on your self-talk, mindfulness, and smiling more often are also a part of gratefulness. If you get bored of doing the same thing everyday, get creative! Make jars and add something about one of your favorite things in it daily. Share a happy moment with an old friend.
Conclusions on Acceptance and Letting Go
You can learn acceptance and how to let go of things that are not in your control by practicing self-compassion, talking to someone (a professional or a friend), and spending some time being grateful every day. You can get over things by understanding their reality and your reaction to it, and you can free yourself of pent-up emotions and what-ifs through talking. Incorporate a little bit of optimism in your routine by being grateful for everything that you have learned and endured so far. Incorporating acceptance and letting go into your self-care will enhance the wellness of both your mind and your body.
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