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Accepting What Is – Nerdful Mind #115

March 27, 2022 by Simon Mannes

If a few years ago someone had told me acceptance was the key to a happy life, I would have smiled and nodded, but not believed it.

On the surface level, acceptance seems right. Accepting things means you're focusing less on the negative sides and don't try to change what can't be changed.

But on the second level, there's some resistance. “If I'm accepting everything, I'm losing my edge. I will have no more motivation to change anything.”

But that's not what acceptance is about.

True acceptance, I learned, is more than that. It leads to a different outcome. Acceptance means:

  • Tackling changes right away rather than fighting your feelings
  • Focusing on what you can change rather than wasting energy on the unchangeable
  • Defaulting to “Oh, well, that didn't work.. What did we learn and what should we try next?”
  • Welcoming your feelings as they appear, not resisting them going through your body, and then letting them go without holding onto them

This last part is important. Acceptance is as much about external circumstances as it is about your own feelings.

That's nice and all, but how can you practice this?

  • Regarding internal feelings: I recommend mindfulness meditation and self-compassion exercises.
  • Regarding external circumstances: whenever something makes you feel sad or angry, ask yourself “what about this can I change?” Focus on what you can control.
“You may not control all the events that happen to you, but you can decide not to be reduced by them.” — Maya Angelou

Reading Recommendations

The Body as a Vessel for Living

“Something I’ve noticed is that we spend a lot of our lives wrapping our identity in our bodies. If our body is something we’re proud of, we feel really good about ourselves … but much more often, it’s a sense that something is wrong with us because our bodies don’t hit some ideal.”

Zest in Positive Psychology: Satisfaction in Life and Work

“Zest is an essential component of positive psychology and a standout amongst the most instrumental character qualities we have. It can be a powerful tool for self-improvement, only if we know how to use it in the right way. With strong research-oriented evidence and findings, this article centers around the territories of zest and learn some tidbits about how we can apply it in our day-to-day lives.”

Fire And Motion – Joel on Software

“Sometimes I just can't get anything done. Sure, I come into the office, putter around, check my email every ten seconds, read the web, even do a few brainless tasks like paying the American Express bill. But getting back into the flow of writing code just doesn't happen. These bouts of unproductiveness usually last for a day or two. But there have been times in my career as a developer when I went for weeks at a time without being able to get anything done. As they say, I’m not in flow. I’m not in the zone. I’m not anywhere.”

Weekly Mindfulness Practice

Sit down and get into an upright but relaxed position.

Breathe deep into your belly. In through the nose and out through the mouth.

When breathing in, count from 1 to 5.

When breathing out, count from 1 to 5 again. Keep breathing gently and regularly for three to five minutes.

You can also focus on the feeling of the air flowing through your mouth, throat, and into lungs.

End Note

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Have a great week

Simon

PS: What do you think about this? Please hit reply and let me know. I’m curious!

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