How to find peace through radical acceptance of bad days, pain, grief, loss and adversity.
If you’re feeling broken, this is for you.
Acceptance doesn’t mean giving up or inaction. It means surrendering to what is, in order to move forward.
Hello, hi and welcome back.
I decided to stay here and volunteer for 2 weeks in between visiting home and – whatever happens afterwards…
Let’s talk about acceptance.
To be more exact, the acceptance of everything life throws at you.
The good, the bad, the ugly.
Putting an end to the war in your head, finding peace with what is, in order to get to where you want to be.
People spend years resisting a painful reality, hoping that eventually things will change or go back to how they were only to end up more hurt and broken in the end.
Let me explain.
Sometimes (more often than not) things don’t go the way we want them too.
People change their mind or let us down, we fall ill or we lose someone close to us.
We get mad, so disappointed, we feel lost and like we are never gonna feel any better ever again.
It has become fairly easy for me, to accept if something in my day-to-day life goes wrong.
I do my best not to cling to it, focus on the positive and stay rational.
If there is an issue I can fix I will do so, if I am upset because of someone else I try not to resent them and wish them well anyways.
If I get angry, I try to let it out in a non-destructive way aka. exercising or just moving, talking about it, screaming into the pillow, you gotta do what you gotta do.
Just let it flow through you.
If I’m feeling low, I try to find the underlying issue and that could be anything from an argument, the weather, hormones, feeling unsatisfied, lack of sleep or movement…
I usually focus on self-care a bit more on those days and feel better almost instantly.
But above all, no matter what or how bad it seems, I accept it fully in order to move past it.
It gets trickier and at times it may even seem impossible to accept and move past something if it is a lot more severe than having a bad day. For example, when we lose someone…
Here’s what I have learnt over the years and how I react and heal myself through the motions of relationships or friendships beginning, growing and sometimes, ending.
Ever had a break-up? Lost someone from your life or ended a year-long friendship? Yep.
The excruciating pain of losing someone so close to you can feel like someone literally just ripped one of your organs out.
We lose our lightness, our joy, our appetite.
Our eyes are red from crying and our head hurts from thinking.
Was it the right thing to do?
Oh, but what if it wasn’t?
Could I have done something differently?
Was it my fault?!
We torture ourselves with these painful thoughts when in reality it all doesn’t make a difference.
The reality is: It’s over. Just for now or forever?
We don’t know.
But we need to accept what is, if there is nothing we can do to momentarily change our situation otherwise we literally end up going INSANE. (Been there, done that)
I’m not saying some relationships can’t work out again in the future but there is always a reason things fall apart. Usually not just a little one. It’s a process, it builds up over time.
People break up or end friendships when the pain of being together becomes more intense then the hurt of separation.
And that can have many, many reasons. But there always is a reason.
So the best thing we can do is remind ourselves of that reason, accept that something went wrong and try our best to learn from it.
Maybe it will work out in the future or maybe you will move on and realise it was better that way, again, we don’t know so we don’t need to make assumptions or theories up in our heads. Focus on what is.
Now, what can we do in times of such hurt and pain instead of resisting whatever happened and going over it 3753259285 times in your head?
(The following can apply to anything, not just a break-up!)
7 steps to take when you feel broken:
First of all,
1. Take care of yourself.
Shower, put on nice clothes, do things that make you feel good.
Eat. If you don’t feel hungry, at least have some soup or a smoothie.
Sleep. Use supplements like CBD, Valerian Root or St. John’s Wort to calm your nervous system and help you rest. but also: Don’t stay in bed for too long…
…do things! Go for a walk, put on music and podcasts, find beauty in the content you consume, watch a nice movie or make a Pinterest board. Cook or bake something if you like.
2. Get help.
Now of course, this can be counselling or seeing a therapist but I think it’s also just good to tell people close to you, your friends and family, maybe coworkers.
It helps them to understand your pain and what you might need during that time and of course most people will offer their help and support, hugs, comfort, chats or distraction, whatever it is you feel like.
Also, talking about it and telling people openly helps you accept it as your new reality.
I think whenever it is hard of us to talk about something, it is because we resent the fact that it is ‘real’. It seems so scary and daunting that we don’t even want to say it.
I think it’s important not to avoid questions, I would even encourage you to just say it as a fact.
The more you do that, the easier it will become to accept it and the pain of your new reality will decrease as you learn to stop fighting it.
3. Get over it.
Just kidding, I know it’s not that easy.
Give it time and also, here are a few more tricks that I have found helpful…
4. Keep on loving.
I think it is nice to continue feeling and embracing love for someone, even though they are gone or you are no longer physically together. Love them anyways.
Your feelings have a right to be there and there is no way to just turn them off from one day until the other. I like thinking that I will always have love for someone, no matter what happens.
Love really is the strongest emotion and it can overpower separation, distance and even death easily.
So love anyways and embrace it.
I feel like ultimately, it will help you to keep that special place in your heart for someone instead of resenting them.
A wonderful lady here at Gomde said to me today, that the love you have for someone transforms over time and can ultimately move on to other people, but it never dies. (Emotions are energy and energy can never get lost, it can only be transformed…)
True love, she said, is feeling happy when the other person is happy.
No matter if that someone is with us or not.
…are timeless treasures of the heart.
If a nice image or memory pops up in your head, let it in. Breathe through it.
Instead of thinking ‘I will never have this again.’ try to think ‘I am so beyond grateful for this wonderful experience.’
This exercise takes practice and I’m not saying it is easy but I have found it to be so healing in times of loss and grief to just smile and enjoy the beautiful memory and to exercise your gratitude-muscle as much as possible.
6. Feel it out.
Give yourself permission to feel anything that comes up and accept it. It’s okay to feel hurt, tired, broken, unwell, shaky, weak, sad, whatever it is.
I think we become miserable, by trying to be happy all the time. We’re having a bad day, week or month? So what? Compared to a whole lifetime that isn’t a lot and who says we have to be happy and energetic all the time anyways?
It’s okay to feel like shit.
It’s okay, not to do much for a few days. And of course, as I always say:
It’s okay to cry.
I find it much easier to process traumatic experiences when I allow myself to feel negative emotions and go inward for a couple of days.
Afterwards I feel clearer, more calm and open to work through anything else that comes up.
When you suppress emotions you might not feel them in the moment, but they never quite go away entirely and there is this underlying sadness that eventually will have to come out somehow.
Whenever I can, I allow myself to feel and express emotions openly as I find that it helps me flow through the feels much easier.
7. Gratitude, gratitude, gratitude.
Get a journal or notebook.
Write down 3 things your grateful for in the morning (no matter how hard it is, do it, there is always something you can be thankful for), write down what would make today a good day and at night write down three good things that happened that day and what you are looking forward to tomorrow.
It will make you appreciate the little things and help you become optimistic and change your perspective.
Here are some affirmations I say to myself in meditation or whenever I feel doubts, anxiety or sadness:
I love myself
It will all be just fine
Thank you for this life
I am here for a reason
Thank you for this experience
I am exactly where I am supposed to be
I am safe, I am protected, I am looked after
I am alive, I am well, I am healthy, I am breathing
What is meant to be will always find a way
Everything happens for a reason
Things are falling together
Nothing lasts forever
This too shall pass
I am in flow
I am present
I am at peace
I am grateful
I am strong
I am love
I love you (here you could think of a person, parent, friend, life, the universe, yourself… just love as much as you can. Love and positivity can drive out almost all negative emotions)
So, how are you feeling now?
I hope this may give some of you a feeling of comfort and perspective.
You’re never alone.
Since this post is already pretty long, I will try to touch on the next topic a bit more briefly.
Loss can have many faces.
One of them, as we just discussed, is experiencing break-ups or a close relationship/friendship ending.
Another, more severe one, is death.
I haven’t lost many people from my life but as some of you may know I have lost my father a few years back and our little puppy passed away late last year. (I know losing a pet isn’t the same as a person but loss is loss and grief is grief. I didn’t grow up with my siblings and we lived far away from friends so our dog kind of was my best friend growing up and losing her meant closing a chapter that lasted over half of my life here on this earth and the loss really shook me…)
As time went by I have found ways to cope with both losses and I’d like to share what I did with you.
It helped me to do some of the same things I mentioned earlier like for example consciously and fully accepting that the person/animal is gone and will never come back (at least not in this life).
It helped me to tell myself that. To admit that yes, it is sad, it is so heartbreaking and there is a huge gap where that (human) being used to be but at the same time I tell myself that all I can do is accept they are gone.
While I make sure that I accept the fact that they can’t physically be close to me, I did eventually become able to feel as though their spirit and energy was with me at all times or just whenever I needed it.
This might sound a little too supernatural for you and that’s fine.
(If so, you may wanna stop reading here…)
I personally believe in energy and I like the thought that lost ones are still amongst us and looking after us.
As for the example of my dog, whenever I see or pet another dog, I see and feel my dog, I remember her and I feel such love and comfort in that.
I know she lived a wonderful life and she brought (and still brings) so much happiness into ours.
As for my Dad, it is a little bit different because to be completely honest, our relationship wasn’t the best.
Whilst I try to hold onto good memories, unfortunately I can’t recall that many in his presence.
I try to remember him in the best way I can and I even took it a step further:
I imagine him to be all I ever needed now, in spirit.
I imagine him being caring, being there for me.
Looking after me, giving me strength and being damn proud of all the adventures and wonderful things his daughter does.
I imagine him at peace. Happy. Calm.
I know his life was a big struggle, so I really believe he must be in a better place now and he can hold space for me for the rest of my life.
Sometimes I talk to him. I imagine him next to me, listening and being kind.
It brings me so much peace and helps me to fill the hole in my heart.
(I feel a bit funny writing this because I’m not sure if it makes much sense to you but I’m just sharing things that have helped me…)
To summarise let me say this, if you have ever loved and lost someone try these 7 things:
- Instead of thinking of all the things you can no longer do with them, think about all the things you can still do or do instead.
- You can love them anyways, think of them fondly, smile about nice memories you shared and forgive them for any pain they may have caused.
- Keep them in your heart but let go of the grasp.
- Be eternally grateful that you had been given some time with them in this existence.
- Write them a letter. Burn it, or keep it forever. Up to you.
- Talk to them and imagine them in your presence.
- Find peace in knowing they are okay and in a happy place.
Don’t you cry for the lost
Smile for the living