Practicing Acceptance Versus Control of Emotions and Thoughts
Naturally, we as humans tend to want to get rid of our uncomfortable emotions and thoughts, thinking this will solve the problem. There may be temporary relief from doing this, however, resistance acts like a glue that can keep emotions stuck, and paradoxically make them larger. Practicing acceptance of our emotions enables the natural feelings we have to be properly digested and pass through us on their own time. Emotions and thoughts want to be acknowledged and be accepted, and if we don’t give this to them, they can become louder or larger, and want our attention in other ways. For example, if Sally has persistent thoughts and feelings regarding fear of her partner leaving her, and she tries to avoid these by telling her mind to stop feeling that way and stop the thoughts from coming, just “think about something else,” perhaps practicing avoidance, she may notice the thoughts and emotions coming up even stronger, wanting her attention. There is a lesson to be had for Sally underneath the fear, such as learning how to fully love and honor herself, and if she really looks deeply, she would hopefully be able to come to this conclusion. If Sally were to instead learn how to be present with her emotions and accept them as they are, she would be able to let the fear pass through in a healthy manner. She may also recognize how giving herself acceptance IS practicing love towards herself, just as she is, without needing the fear or thoughts to change in order to do so. Practicing meditation is of the utmost importance for learning how to develop the skill of learning how to be with our passing thoughts and emotions, and accept them non-judgmentally without needing to change them or try to distract ourselves with familiar patterns.