Welcome to Insights and Implications!
We hope you and your families are staying healthy and settled as you face the unique challenges of this pandemic. This newsletter was written by a member of the Insight Principes team from São Paulo, Brazil. Robin shares what he has discovered about acceptance – where it comes from and how it can help us through this crisis.
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Acceptance: It’s Not Something We Do
You’ve probably heard the old saying, “You’ve got to see it to believe it.” I want to twist the saying a bit and suggest, “You’ve got to realize it to accept it.”
I live in São Paulo, Brazil, which right now is the epicentre of the coronavirus pandemic. People are understandably frightened and most are adhering to the public health warnings and suggestions. I’ve noticed also that many are urging others to accept what is happening.
Why is that? Why do we want to accept things?
In my opinion the answer is simple. Deep down we know that once we accept something, we can stop worrying about it and carry on with our lives. We can focus on other things that will benefit from our attention, for example our family or our business. Acceptance brings us the psychological freedom we yearn for.
We instinctively want to get to acceptance, but how? Here’s the catch. Acceptance is not something you purposefully do. Just like having faith or believing. You can’t will yourself into faith or into believing something. Acceptance, faith, belief are of a different order. These are states that must arise from within.
Realizing acceptance requires an insight.
The pandemic is very serious and for a variety of reasons, Brazil is suffering more than many countries right now. It is easy to go into worry. It’s even easier to judge the government’s response to the virus and the behaviors of my fellow Brazilians. Why should I accept this mess? Wouldn’t that be giving up?
Acceptance is not giving up. Acceptance is letting go of the past and current thinking I have and allowing for fresh thought. The circumstance is what it is. The circumstance is bad, but it is not the source of my experience. The more I realize that 100% of my experience of reality is created from the inside-out, the more I see that my circumstance can not make me feel anything.
Every day I look around and I see people being creative and resourceful even when everything is stacked against them. How is this possible? Why aren’t they paralyzed or hiding under their beds? It’s because the human mind is designed to bring us creative and resourceful thinking at any time. When we aren’t fretting or complaining or blaming and filling our heads up with unproductive thought, we are the beneficiaries of this new thinking.
Acceptance helps our minds settle down. It allows us to move on and take the next intelligent steps. I had a client whose first business partner stole a lot of money from him and was never prosecuted. I asked him why he wasn’t bitter and he said, “Would it help?” He was able to enter into future partnerships after his failed first one because he was not bogged down by the past. He had the clarity to see what to look for in a partner and whom to trust.
Acceptance is an obvious next step when we realize where our feelings are coming from. Seeing the inside-out nature of experience prevents us from giving too much mental energy to thoughts that are not productive.
So I invite you not to try to accept, but to explore where our feelings are coming from – acceptance will naturally follow.