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  • Loralyn Mears, PhD

MONDAY MOTIVATION: LEARNING ACCEPTANCE

This article was originally published on September 23, 2019 at https://gritdaily.com/monday-motivation-learning-acceptance/



MONDAY MOTIVATION TO KICK YOUR WEEK OFF

Monday Motivation here we come! This is for those of you who slog through your Monday mornings. If you lament the end of the weekend and dread returning to the office, you may need our Monday Motivation quick tips. Grit Daily offers an avenue to connect with others like you. We’re here to help get your work week off to a good start. Pump your fists – it’s time for Monday Motivation!


WHY ACCEPTANCE IS HARD

If it was easy, nobody would be writing or reading columns about learning how to accept things for what they are. First, there is a broad continuum concerning those things we must learn to accept. It follows that some things are harder to accept and move past than others. For example, the death of a loved one is often cited as the most challenging experience to come to terms with. And, everyone processes things differently on their timeline so you can’t compare yourself to others.


What may sound counterintuitive here on Monday Motivation is that you don’t have to necessarily “get over it” but you do have to find peace with it. When we put all of our energy into getting over it, we add stress to an already challenging situation. That resistance that creeps in sets us up for battle making the “it” we’re trying to get over something that we have to fight against. In contrast, taking time to look into the issue and identifying why we’re struggling to accept it will illuminate what we need to do to come to terms with it.


The last thing that we should do, but somehow can’t stop doing, is punish ourselves because we can’t accept our reality. We play this game with ourselves, convincing our own minds that if do this or that, then everything will be fine. But that’s a fallacy. We’d be much better served if we figured out how to get to a place of acceptance, no matter how painful or how tough it is to embrace the truth and reality of our situation. This is the beginning of self-growth.


ARRIVING AT A PLACE OF PEACE

Grief is a daily part of our lives. We’re always working through the loss of something be it a job, a relationship, our motivation, etc.. Since this is a Monday Motivation column, let’s flip the idea of grief around and frame it in the terms of change. Our lives are dynamic, in perpetual motion where change is the only constant. You can be happier if you learn to accept uncomfortable truths rather than always fighting to disprove those truths. Essentially, it’s peace versus war within yourself.


This truth allows us to readily flip the Kübler-Ross model for grief into a framework to help us manage change which is also hard to do. The model was originally designed 50 years ago in response to managing terminal illness, highlighting that we experience five stages of grief: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. This construct gave rise to the well known S.A.R.A. model (Shock, Anger, Resistance, Acceptance). However, since that time, the model has been expanded to be more inclusive, adding an “H” for hope at the end of it and finding applicability in both professional and personal circumstances.


What is critical here is that you cannot get to a place of hope until you stop resisting the reality of your situation, find a way to accept it and only then will you see that better days are ahead because you’ve freed yourself from the battle of You vs. Your Reality. The other important factor is that life is not this linear, you simply do not progress from one stage to another in some neatly defined and followed process. That’s not how life works.


TIPS TO LEARN ACCEPTANCE

Earlier this week, on my 10 cities – 10 Days – 10 Lessons tour (actually, I learned more than 10 lessons but more on that next month), I read Mark Manson’s provocative, refreshingly candid and no-nonsense book advising people on how to live a good life via a counterintuitive approach. That book is called, The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck. It’s been a New York Times bestseller for over a year with more than three million copies sold. My favorite line in the book speaks to today’s Monday Motivation theme:

“When we choose better values, we are able to divert our f*cks to something better – toward things that matter, things that improve the state of our well-being and that generate happiness, pleasure, and success as side effects. This, in a nutshell, is what “self-improvement” is really about…”
#1 – DON’T OBSESS

A mistake that many of us make is constantly regurgitating a scenario as if playing it back enough times will change the outcome. It’s not about letting it go because we may be living that scenario for a protracted period of time. However, by not obsessing about it, making a plan for next steps and finding ways to manage through it day-to-day, we’ll give ourselves a bit of peace, however fleeting or minimal that reprieve may be until we are out of that situation.


#2 – DON’T SELF-MEDICATE

It’s so easy to turn to drugs or alcohol to escape our reality. However, all this does is cloud our thinking and our ability to uncover the truths and lessons that we’re supposed to learn. Drinking excessively masks what we need to see. In effect, self-medicating adds one more problem to an already challenging situation of learning acceptance.


#3 – DON’T COMPARE YOURSELF TO OTHERS

This is your journey, your process, and your timeline. It’s not anyone else’s so it doesn’t make sense to evaluate how you’re working towards acceptance versus how others have done so.


The bottom line for Monday Motivation, stop resisting. Ask yourself if you want to keep battling your reality or come to terms with it. Learn acceptance. Once you do, you’ll be free to be happier.

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