Radical acceptance isn’t always as straight forward as it may seem. Most think of acceptance as a form of agreement or approval of what has or is happening - rather than an acknowledgment of reality. You can fight with reality, but you won't win. We forget that life has a say, and acceptance is about accepting life's terms, recognizing what cannot be changed. It is when our thoughts enhance emotions that we create unnecessary suffering.
We start to search outside of ourselves for answers - we search outside ourselves for happiness in any form (substances, people, material objects), which just leads us to more searching. So often in our lives we bargain with our happiness saying “I’ll be happy as soon as ...” Pursuing more isn’t a bad thing but it is when our happiness depends on it.
So acceptance becomes the beginning of problem solving. And acceptance doesn’t mean resignation - in fact people who experience genuine happiness in life actually have a lot of enthusiasm for life and motivation towards what they want. When we can accept our truths, we are better equipped to move forward. We are less emotionally invested and triggered by what is happening when we can first find acceptance for it, and in doing so we suffer less.
The things we aspire towards outside of ourselves are ever changing. People leave. Jobs change. Material possessions get old. Our true Self, on the other hand, is completely unchanging. Who we really are will always be more than enough. Everything we seek already exists within us.
If we are to really benefit from a Yoga practice, it has to expand beyond the mat and into life. What are you running away from? What truths are you trying to avoid? What about yourself are you not accepting?
Acceptance teaches us about mindfulness, to see without judgement. It teaches us about gratitude and seeing the value even in our challenges. And it takes practice. Our inability to handle things from a place of truth keeps us in a cycle of dissatisfaction.
Accept who you are, as you are. Accept where you are and acknowledge how far you have come. Trust that everything you are experiencing is what you need for your personal growth. Stop waiting for as soon as and start seeing what’s already there.