|What You Don't Have to Accept|
|Written by Gina Lake|
|Thursday, 07 October 2010 09:26|
Acceptance is an important spiritual teaching because the ego is so unaccepting of the way life is. Therefore, acceptance can move us out of the ego and into Essence, which accepts whatever is going on. Acceptance is a spiritual tool that counteracts, or neutralizes, the ego and drops us into Essence. Acceptance, however, doesn't mean doing nothing about whatever is going on; it means accepting whatever is going on, and then responding to that from Essence. Not accepting what is going on keeps us identified with the ego and its responses to whatever is going on. That's why acceptance is important—because it drops us into Essence, which knows how to respond kindly, compassionately, and wisely to any situation. If you don't want the ego responding to whatever is going on, then first accept that it's going on, and then see how Essence moves you in the moment.
People often assume that accepting a situation means not attempting to change it or not removing yourself from it. That's a key misunderstanding. For instance, if someone is acting unkindly or abusively, you accept that that is happening (because it is!), and then you respond from Essence. That response is likely to be a rational one, not an emotional one, since the ego is what creates emotions. Essence might express compassion or say something to bring calm and peace to the situation. Or Essence might remove you from the situation without saying a word. Or perhaps there's something to be learned from the situation that will register within you intuitively, which you'll be able to catch if you aren't caught up in the ego's negative emotions. Essence doesn't accept abuse or unkindness. It accepts that it is happening, but Essence doesn't allow it to continue, although Essence doesn't respond abusively or unkindly to it. This is an important distinction.
When we are identified with the ego, we react automatically to unkindness and abuse in primarily two ways, both of which are dysfunctional: We get angry, judge, criticize, or in some other way try to hurt the abusive person. Or, if unworthiness or being a victim is part of our self-image, we allow the abuse to continue, blame ourselves for it, and feel sad and worthless. If people in our childhood were unkind to us, then we are likely to accept unkind treatment from others because that's what we expect and are used to or what we think we deserve.
If criticism, blame, anger, judgment, and abuse are the primary ways someone is interacting with you, then acceptance means accepting that that is happening and then also accepting that you don't like it and aren't willing to allow yourself to be abused and then giving yourself the gift of getting out of that environment. Essence is wise enough to choose a more loving environment, even if it means being alone. Essence accepts that egos can be mean and nasty, but it does whatever is necessary to create an inner and outer environment in which peace and love can thrive. Essence moves, always, in the direction of love, and that means loving ourselves enough to not accept unkindness and abuse.
By the way, not accepting negative behavior is also in the abusive person's highest good because that person needs to understand the impact of such behavior and not have it reinforced by us. This is why we send children to their room when they misbehave, isn't it? In doing this, we are saying, "I love you and accept you, but this behavior is unacceptable." We distance ourselves from a child who behaves badly by isolating them, and this accomplishes two things: The behavior isn't reinforced and we say no to participating in a negative environment and yes to creating a more loving one.