What does the word acceptance mean to you? Does it call to mind someone who is really chilled, saying something like ‘hey man, you just got to accept it’ ? It did for me: acceptance seemed kind of wishy-washy.
When Person-Centred Counsellors talk of acceptance, they mean something far deeper and stronger; acceptance can forcefully help you to realise it’s ok to be you, just as you are. Actually as you are, not you if you were a bit calmer, a bit nicer: right now. It means coming to terms too with what you are feeling whether it’s rage, hate or happiness. Therapist’s talk of sitting with a feeling, and that’s what acceptance can feel like for some, for me I almost inhabit that feeling, get right to the heart of it, surround myself with it.
Acceptance can be painful too, accepting that you feel a deep sorrow or any difficult feeling is hard. We all tend to run away from these feelings rather than accept them, and no wonder as they can hurt. But what really is the alternative? Running will mean these feelings remain, perhaps locked away, but they don’t go: the strange thing with unacknowledged feelings is they tend to grow, like they are fighting to be seen and heard.
For me, whenever I have accepted a new part of myself, even a part I’m not so keen on, I have opened myself up to be a whole person, lived a little more honestly and been able to connect with other people a little bit better. Counselling is often a process to help you to express those things you don’t feel you should feel, and hearing acceptance from another can be a catalyst to accept yourself, a little bit more.