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ACCEPTANCE

People think acceptance means giving up and not making any efforts toward change. However, the mental attitude of acceptance in mindfulness practice is described by Kabat Zinn as an act of active recognition not passive resignation. We have an automated reaction of aversion to things that are hard to accept, yet in mindfulness, learning to welcome it into our awareness is the first step to working with it effectively. Learning that in resistance we only create more suffering and waste our mental resources in aversion rather than figuring out a more constructive way of working with it. It can be a powerful factor in transformation to see things as they are, knowing that they may not always be as we want. This is the first step to clarity and knowing what to do, given how things really are. Resistance only creates more suffering and makes the path to change more difficult. In mindful acceptance we are not helplessly surrendering to bad things, but we are stepping back from an overidentification with the story of woe that depletes our energy and ability to transform our relationship to the perceived bad situation from which we want to be free. The world around us does not always need to change because often times it may not change, but that does not mean we have to stay a prisoner to our aversion to it. We can learn to see it for what it is and create a different relationship to it and maintain our inner peace and dignity in the face of unimaginable pain.

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"The attitude of unconditional self-acceptance is probably the most important variable in their long-term recovery"

ALBERT ELLIS

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