What do you do when the worst happens?
How do you move on – especially when your worst fears come true?
Whether it’s a divorce, a break-up, a death or even the closing of a business you committed yourself to, the grief we feel when something comes to an end can be devastating.
It can consume your every moment and make you doubt yourself in ways you never imagined.
One minute you want to run from everything you know, the next you’re hiding under the covers hoping someone can save you from your own feelings.
And although you’ve probably heard about the five stages of grief, nothing you remember in this moment is of any use to you.
One of the most difficult things for many of us during this time can be accepting where we are and embracing our personal reality.
Maybe you’re currently in the throes of disappointment or pain - or can remember this feeling - but when you’re struggling, it can be hard to simply accept that this is where your life is in this moment.
You might want to deny your situation or become defensive. You might even find yourself crying out and proclaiming that life isn’t fair or that it shouldn’t be this way.
It can feel like you’re stuck in a constant vortex of disbelief and pain that might not end.
But no matter where you are right now, I want you to know you’re not alone and that you can find some relief from what you’re feeling.
First you might be wondering why you would ever want to accept the situation you’re in. It may not feel logical, but the truth is that the more you resist your current situation, the more you prolong your suffering.
Think about it for a moment.
If you’re currently in the middle of something that’s having you feel discomfort or pain, take a look at what’s causing you the most difficulty.
Is it the situation itself? Or is it the story you tell yourself about what is currently happening?
Most often when you encounter a disappointment or loss, your first inclination is to fight it and while the situation itself may be sad - or even heartbreaking - your own resistance compounds the pain.
You might even find yourself resisting your emotions or dismissing them as childish, wrong or petty - but unless you give yourself permission to feel them, you’re actually binding yourself to the pain you’re trying most to avoid!
Acceptance after loss can also be difficult because it might feel like you’re giving up or betraying someone. Particularly if the loss is the death of a loved one, it’s not uncommon to feel resistance because to accept what’s happening might feel like it minimizes or dismisses their value.
But in truth - nothing could be more opposite.
Acceptance does not minimize or dismiss the value of what you once had.
Instead, acceptance allows you to find a greater doorway to appreciate and truly value what you’ve had. It can even show you how to learn the lessons and find the perfection - even in moments of pain.
It allows you to honor what you had in the past and build something stronger for yourself in the future.
At the same time, I don’t want to be trite and say that acceptance is easy. Or that it’s a check-the-box step on the road to recovery.
No. Acceptance is a gradual and important part of your process and isn’t something you can simply do - it must be felt deep inside.
In fact, how many times have you heard friends or family say they accept where they are, only to see them living with palpable grief or being stuck in the same patterns or stories of the past?
We’ve all been there.
And it’s important that we learn to distinguish for ourselves whether we’re simply saying the words or truly feeling the shift within us - especially if we want to move forward in ways that enrich our lives.
Another thing you may recognize in your journey toward acceptance is that acceptance can be hard because it requires you to feel your pain. Instead of denying, turning away or dismissing your pain, acceptance requires that you embrace your pain - to feel it and realize that it won’t overwhelm you - no matter what.
For many years, acceptance felt challenging because I feared looking at my own feelings and being so exposed. If I looked, I could no longer deny my pain and my world might come crashing down.
In fact, by looking at my feelings and my situation - especially when it came to my divorce - I actually found liberation and strength to move forward.
And I promise that you can too.
So, how do you actually move to find greater acceptance when you’re deeply struggling?
As I mentioned acceptance is truly a process.
It doesn’t mean giving up. It doesn’t mean giving in to the pain. It doesn’t mean being resigned.
Acceptance means that you embrace your pain and your circumstances without the constant need to suffer.
It’s about making peace with your circumstances so you can move on with loving, living and being able to enjoy your best life.
Here’s what I recommend.
When it comes to acceptance, recognize that no amount of wishing or blaming others will make your situation any different.
It can be tempting to point fingers or even pray things will change, but the reality is that the sooner you can see that your situation is exactly as it is, the easier it becomes to move through the pain.
One of the other things I often share is that acceptance also involves recognizing that whatever has happened, is happening and will happen and is ultimately designed to bring you to your highest and personal truth.
Each of life’s circumstances and pains brings with it an opportunity for our own evolution. Whether that means embracing a part of ourselves we’ve never been able to before or moving beyond our limitations, if you can see this situation as a chance to elevate your own worth - acceptance truly does become easier.
“It is only when we have the courage to face things exactly as they are, without any self-deception or illusion, that a light will develop out of events, by which a path to success may be recognized.” I Ching
Taking off the mask of disappointment and finding the gifts can even help you find greater compassion with yourself - so that you don’t continuously use past events or pains to beat yourself up.
Imagine, instead of bearing the constant weight of loss and self-blame, you could use acceptance to propel you into greater confidence.
That’s what truly becomes possible.
So, if you’re reading this and finding yourself stuck or resisting your pain, begin to embrace your situation without wishing it to be any different and look for the blessings and gifts so you can find the light that will illuminate your future.
It may take some time, but the more you can imagine yourself surrendering and looking for ways to truly lean into your feelings, the more you’ll be able to find the acceptance you need to heal!
P.S. Need support? You don’t have to do this alone. If you aren’t already a part of my private coaching membership Destination ME, I invite you to join and receive coaching support directly from me alongside others who are invested in their healing and evolution.