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Sunday, June 13, 2010

The art of acceptance

How often in life are things exactly as we want them to be? We want to be thinner, or lose weight without effort or hard work. We love those who don’t love us or covet a profession other than the one we have chosen. We go away only to wish we were back at home again.

Happiness and wellbeing research would suggest that while a feeling of dissatisfaction in life is actually the key force that allows humans to move forward, those individuals who are able to accept the cards they have been dealt rather than ruminate on the “what if’s” are those likely to be much happier.

Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT); an entire discipline within psychology dedicates its work to helping individuals reaching this state of acceptance, whether people seek acceptance in their relationships, work or even in regards to what they need to do to lose weight.

ACT writings suggest that rather than spending time and mental energy debating the pros and many more cons associated with actively engaging in the act of weight control via dietary control and regular exercise, long term outcome is much more likely if we simply accept that in order to control weight, we need to eat less, feel a bit hungry and uncomfortable and train hard. Once we accept this as what we need to do, we are then able to focus on the end goal, which leads us to outcome. Accepting that things will be hard at times, or that we may have to feel uncomfortable for certain periods of time are simple a natural, part of life. Or, put more simply, “it is, what it is, and as simple or complex as you want to make it”.