Choosing the path of clarity

If we confuse acceptance with giving up our power to choose…

…perhaps in the form of resigning ourselves to situations or relationship dynamics that don’t work for us, we miss out on the lightning clarity that acceptance offers.

When we learn to accept others, even if we find them infuriating, we access clearer insights.

Instead of plastering over the information people are giving us through their words and actions with our own biases, programming, and reactions…

acceptance helps us more clearly see what we see and know what we know.

And in my life, acceptance isn’t something that happens overnight, all at once; it’s more like a practice that must be returned to regularly, like brushing your teeth.

This isn’t about adopting Buddha-like calm while suppressing a volcano of emotions, so let’s break things down.

Maybe your mom insists that she’s a skillful communicator, that clear communication is super important to her, yet when you talk to her, you often feel misunderstood, confused, and frustrated.

This doesn’t jibe with her assertion that she values and is skillful at communication, so you might have inner child parts who kick in to help you unsee what you see and unknow what you know…

perhaps in the form of placing the onus on yourself: “I must just be misunderstanding. It must be my fault that I can’t understand, that these conversations feel so confusing.”

When you start to accept your mom for who she is, returning to this intention each time you talk, you make space for curiosity.

Rather than consciously and unconsciously going to battle with reality…

…you start to simply observe and allow yourself to ask questions, “Hmm…what am I feeling here? What am I seeing? What is my mom saying and doing?”

And as you allow in more information through the power of acceptance, you then get to choose how you want to respond.

For instance, maybe you notice that whenever you try to talk to your mom about something you need, she responds with a verbal avalanche, and by the time the dust clears, you’re not sure which way is up anymore.

With curiosity, you notice that the need you were trying to communicate got lost in the shuffle, and when you try to communicate it again, thinking perhaps you just weren’t very clear the first time, the verbal avalanche is triggered once more.

The avalanche might include things that sound supportive, like, “I understand where you’re coming from,” but nonetheless, by the end of the conversation, you find that your needs have slipped to the sidelines…

…and instead, now you’re talking about what your mom needs–or something else entirely!

With continued acceptance of what is rather than jumping to what you think should be happening…

…you connect with the inner knowing that, next time, you don’t want to have a discussion with your mom about what you need.

It seems to predictably lead into a cloud of confusion, and it doesn’t feel good to enter that fog with her.

So, instead, you decide to practice communicating your need using the Broken Record Technique.

When your mom starts to lead the conversation away from the need you’re communicating without actually responding, you simply say, “I hear you, and I need [repeat your need].”

After a few repetitions, you notice your energy waning, and it’s feeling more difficult to not go into the fog with her, so you choose to wrap up the conversation: “I need to go, Mom. Enjoy the rest of your weekend–love you! Bye!”

In this conversation, not only are you accepting where your mom is at…

…as opposed to wishing she was somewhere else and fighting the current reality, you’re also accepting where you’re at right now.

We often have inner parts who think things like, “I should be able to figure this out,” or “If I can just explain this the ‘right’ way, I’ll finally get her to understand.”

Accepting where you’re at allows valuable information to come through, such as, “You know what, I actually don’t know how to explain this any more clearly right now, and I’m wearing myself down by continuing to try.”

Another form of acceptance that can transform our interactions (and our lives)…

…is acknowledging that we have limits, that we’re human, and our limits might be different from someone else’s.

For example, maybe someone else can talk to your mom and not feel what you’re feeling. Good for them! This doesn’t cancel out your experience.

It’s common to have inner parts that compare us: “So-and-so can talk to Mom without getting triggered! What’s my problem? It must be all my fault.”

Our limits also fluctuate depending on numerous factors, such as how well we slept, how much information is being conveyed and at what pace, other things going on in our life, etc.

When we accept ourselves where we actually are today, not where we think we should be, we’re able to make choices that align with present-day reality instead of expectations and fantasies.

When we make choices based on how we think we should feel or what we should be capable of, this often doesn’t work well.

If you’ve ever seen the show (or read the books) The Magicians, before working magic…

…the characters frequently have to puzzle out the conditions they’re working with, represented by hairy-looking math, because those conditions need to be accounted for in the spell.

If they’re casting a spell using protocols that work when the moon is full, but the moon is new…well, the spell’s probably not going to work that well.

Acceptance allows us to get out of the endless loop of “But it should work! I should be ‘better,’ different, ‘further along’!”

Instead, we’re able to look at what actually is and go from there.

Acceptance helps us soften and eventually release the layers of shame and judgment and acknowledge limitations–both ourselves and other people’s.

These limitations don’t make us “bad,” they make us human.

And if, as the magicians of our own lives…

…we’re not accounting for the ever-present condition of being human…well, our magic is probably not going to work that well.

This weekend, try using the following prompt to shift into acceptance:

“If I release the need to change this, what am I experiencing right now?”

Sometimes, in a challenging situation, you might need to use the prompt many times to bring yourself back to a place of observation and curiosity.

What information do you access when you accept reality as it arises?

Happy weekend!

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