February 16th, 2016
You’ve heard it before: The truth will set you free.
In life, dishonesty is not just about the little white lies we tell to our friends (“No, really, you look great in that dress!”) or co-workers (“I’m definitely not looking for a new job. I love it here.”). Dishonesty is also the little white lies that we tell ourselves and the big, broad falsehoods that are so ingrained in our minds that we’ve almost convinced ourselves they are real. You know, those lies. The ones that you tell yourself to keep the peace in your household, that ensure you are not rocking the boat and that mean life stays exactly the same. These are the lies that keep you from being the person you want to be.
That’s why the fourth step in the process of letting go is acceptance of the truth.
The Art of Letting Go: A 5-Part Series
- Reflection: Learning who you are and who you want to be
- Awareness: Understanding the changes that need to occur
- Forgiveness: Making peace with your and others’ mistakes
- Acceptance: Leaving the familiar and embracing the unknown
- Balance: Making steps 1-4 a part of your life; continue to grow
During the process of letting go, you have been thinking about who you are and your goals, and you have looked at all the aspects you need to change in your life to reach your goals. You’ve forgiven yourself and let go of the guilt and blame that has kept you from moving forward with your life. The previous steps have helped us to get rid of the clutter in our minds and hearts, allowing us to see where we want to go and who we want to be.
And now is the time to see the truth, accept it and actually move forward.
Acceptance in Action
It comes down to this: If you do not accept your reality, then your status quo revolves around avoiding the truth — the bad relationships, the professional unhappiness, the financial troubles, the family drama. It means you stay stagnate and hold on to the things that are keeping you down, ensuring you will never be the person you want to be.
[bctt tweet=”If you do not accept your reality, then your status quo revolves around avoiding the truth. “]
However, acceptance means that you embrace each moment. You do not resist what is happening or what has happened — but you allow the reality of your situation to be exactly what it is. There is no justification, there are no excuses. There is simply an understanding that what has happened or what is happening is not a reflection of who you are or who you want to be. It is just an experience you are going through. And just like all experiences, it too shall pass.
This is a pivotal part of letting go because you cannot let go of what you have not accepted. Denial ensures that you hold onto your drama and unhappiness and dysfunction. That’s because you are still trying to make the bad into something good. You are essentially trying to fit a square peg into a round hole, and it’s not moving. Of course it wouldn’t. You cannot simply ignore the dysfunction in your life and hope that it turns into something functional.
Some people may think that if they avoid an issue, then their avoidance makes it less true/real. But in reality, avoidance makes the issue worse, and it begins to cause other problems in your world. It envelops you.
When you stifle all of the emotions associated with an issue/challenge/experience, it can cause a breakdown, a meltdown, a whole lot of anger and a near constant unhappiness. When you avoid the reality of your marital problems, you become a human teakettle, and eventually your bitterness will loudly bubble to the surface. When you avoid your financial problems, they get worse, the stress becomes all encompassing and you may let it begin to impact other areas of your life, including your relationships and professional life.
You know that time you yelled at your daughter, your son, your husband or your subordinate at work over something small? I can guarantee that deep down you know that was more about the personal issues you were avoiding than it was about their small transgression.
Your Moment of Truth
If you really want to become a master of letting go, then you must learn to accept everything as it is. Many people say, “How can I accept them hurting me… getting fired… losing my house?” Acceptance does not mean you say, “Well, that’s just how it is.” When you accept how it is, you can then take steps to change your situation or heal. It means you take in the truth of what has happened, process it, acknowledge how it has affected you and then move forward.
[bctt tweet=”If you want to become a master of letting go, then you must learn to accept everything as it is.”]
I’ve said it before: If you do not accept your truth, then you will never move forward. The truth can be a starting line to the future you want. It’s the before picture. It’s your motivation to become the person you want to be, to achieve your dreams, to make your reality into something you’ve always wanted.
And it gives you the incentive to face the unknown, and say, “I never want to put myself in that situation again.”
The Challenges of Acceptance
During the acceptance process, you may be stricken by what I like to call, “Feel good acceptance.” That means that while things are good in your life, you can accept the hurt and pain that someone caused you. You can accept that you were fired without a cause or that your father was not there for you when you were a child.
But as soon as something goes wrong, you begin to bring up everything bad that has happened in your life. When the going gets tough, you are once again a victim of past crimes, and the anger and bitterness that you had left in the past begin to resurface.
To avoid this, you must remember to tell yourself that no one else’s actions should affect what you do for yourself. They only have the power to hold you back if you give it to them. Knowing this will allow you to fully accept your present and past.
The Freedom That Comes With the Truth
I know change is scary and admitting your own wrongdoings and the faults of others can be difficult. But acceptance takes away the burden of what went wrong, who left, what mistakes you made, etc. It lifts all of this off your shoulders. It allows you to step outside of the blame game, the guilt game and be free to change your life.
So many people wear the burden of “making it right” or “understanding why.” They seek some sort of finality or enlightenment: why your dad left, why your husband cheated, why you never went to college. But the truth is that you may never make it right and you may never understand their/your actions. Acceptance allows you to take the energy from that and put it toward creating the life you want.
I know some situations are incredibly difficult to accept because to accept may mean your partner lied or your friend was not there for you. But what is the alternative? Do you want to let their actions or your actions keep replaying in your mind? Do you want to keep making the same mistakes? Why not accept it? Why not feel your emotions and heal from your pain?
When you accept your past and present, it allows you to gain perspective, be confident in your decisions and begin to take a step toward change.
If you need extra support as you accept the newness in your life and embrace the unknown, a counselor like myself can offer plenty of guidance. You can contact me at (864) 559-8181 to schedule an appointment. I can help people in the Greenville, SC area or internationally via Skype.