Acceptance is a very powerful tool. This does not mean you will accept everything without a desire to change what should be changed or that you will accept bad things that are happening to you like physical or verbal abuse. This means accepting your life as it presently is so that you can release any additional negative thoughts or feelings that come with struggling the situation.
Think about it. If you are experiencing some unpleasant situation, wouldn’t it be easier to just go through it without attaching all of the additional emotions such as anger or resentment? For example, you can be under a lot of stress at work because bosses can be demanding or pushy, colleagues can compete unscrupulously or can reject you without any explainable reason and deadlines can push you to the corner. Basically, it can become very unpleasant place to work at. So, what can be done here? Sure, you can look for another job (hopefully somewhere else will be much better), but until you find that other wonderful job, you will need to stay where you are because you need the money to pay the bills.
The best possible solution here would then be practicing acceptance.
The meditation that I will describe here is something I practice as well (yes, the above described situation greatly resembles the situation at my work so I apply acceptance meditation regularly).
Acceptance meditation which I practice is a combination of mindfulness meditation and visualizing myself in acceptance mode. You can read the details about mindfulness meditation in my previous post.
When you apply initial relaxation technique and start paying attention to your breath mindfully, let your awareness be fully present and calm. You can count the breath from 1 to 10 and then start from the beginning for few times. It will gradually calm your scattered and stressed mind. As you begin to notice how you are much calmer, start focusing on the word “acceptance” and let its power overflow you.
Now you can imagine the situation that is bothering you. Go through what was actually happening to you for real, however this time see yourself completely calm and happy being in the midst of this troubling situation. Your face says acceptance, happiness and tranquility. When you are looking at your happy face, feel how your imaginary you feels. Let this happiness and peace overflows the real you. While looking at your “happy you”, see acceptance and feel it.
The situation is not so bad any more, because what is really happening is your ego responding to other people’s bad behavior. But the situation is only hard as much as you consider it hard. So, what if some colleagues aren’t accepting you? Do you live from their sympathy and friendship? Or is that maybe they are specific types of people that you really don’t even want to have as “friends”? It is only a matter of perspective. And with this meditation, a lot of eye opening can happen! You can realize how you are actually taking things way too personally and you really shouldn’t because it doesn’t bring you anything good. Or, you might realize that your expectations and fighting every slightly unpleasant situation is leading you to unhappiness. Instead, acceptance can make you release all the fighting in you and then you can actually become free and happy. You might start concentrating on important people and situations instead of dwelling over unimportant ones.
The other way of practicing acceptance meditation can be to repeat few sentences like “I accept things as are, I release my expectations and just go with the flow” and then let the meaning of these sentences overflow you. You can be creative here and think about what you would like to think and feel and then use those sentences in meditation by repeating them. For example, if you want to release your anger toward your boss because he is annoying or pushy, you can consider the appropriate sentence to be “I accept my boss as he is because I know he doesn’t have the capacity to be different”. Meditating on this sentence will make you see that you are angry at him for no reason because how can you be angry at someone who can’t change?
After few minutes of practicing “acceptance”, you can come back to mindfulness meditation again. I personally combine these two because mindfulness prepares ground for acceptance and with the mindful mind you can “accept” more easily.
Combine two minutes of mindfulness then two minutes of acceptance meditation and alternate between two as much as you feel comfortable doing it.
Start changing things you can change and accept things you cannot change.