Tag: acceptance

Accepting Where You Are


I always say that aging is not for the faint of heart. There are a wide variety of reasons this rings true, from physical ailments, emotional stubbornness, and more. One of the biggest reasons that aging tends to be difficult these days is that western society has evolved to perpetuate the view that getting older is, in fact, negative. In some ways, this makes sense. As your age increases, your body changes and some of the benefits of youth will fade. Still, the harmful view that westernized culture seems to have on aging feels fruitless and frustrating – as aging itself is unavoidable.

Age shame is a recurring problem for women and men alike. Not only is western culture becoming more open about shaming those who are aging, but people who are older shame themselves. This concept goes against all the healthy habits that the world promotes – self-love, respect, and acceptance, just to name a few. How can we justify looking at ourselves, or another, and passing judgments based solely on how long they’ve walked this earth?

The short answer is – we can’t. Feeling a sense of anxiety or shame about aging is emotionally damaging. After all, there’s nothing we can do to stop time in its tracks. Having a negative response towards something that is beyond our control sets us up for ongoing feelings of negativity.

Being ashamed about aging doesn’t only have a negative emotional impact on you; it also denies self-acceptance a core aspect of your health. In many ways, aging is a sign that you’ve been here, living, growing, and experiencing for far longer than many others who surround you.

You may have negative feelings about the skin on your neck, and you are entitled to whatever conflicting feelings you may have about your changing physical and mental existence. But know that your aging in no way diminishes the lessons you’ve learned, or the experience and wisdom you share.

You cannot control whether you age, but you can control how you approach the entire concept of aging. I’d like to promote this new approach to how we view aging – or maybe just how you view aging. This approach centers on accepting yourself and those around you for exactly who they are, where they are, and what they are. Accepting yourself and one another at this core level of truth leads to positive emotions, and less negativity or anxiety.

So, let us age with grace. Let us celebrate each day we’ve spent living and loving with fullness. Let us learn from the days where we did not do those things. While aging may not be for the faint of heart, I know that you are not faint of heart. You are strong, you are positive, and you can focus on celebrating and accepting yourself and those around you – no matter what age they are.

A Holistic Approach to Grieving

NPR ran a story about Veterans with PTSD. A client sent me this line from it, “ … all people have the ability to reason, unless they’re grieving. So oftentimes I ask the veterans, “If you can’t reason, what is it you’re grieving?”

We often believe that relationships are to be permanent, yet loss and grieving is a theme in our lives. Somewhere along our path someone dies or will be left behind. Loss of a relationship plays a significant part in all of our lives. As many of us define ourselves by our relationships, we may believe something is wrong with us if we do not keep our friends for life.

What I have learned is that relationships come and go from our lives. When someone dies, leaves us, moves away or becomes estranged, it may be a double loss: the loss of the relationship itself, and the loss of the relationship as a source of our identity, of who we think we are.

If you have been the dependent partner in a relationship you will find yourself after the loss of a relationship, through divorce or death, forced to undertake tasks that you never dreamed of. It is through these tasks that a new sense of self will evolve. You may have a new career or the education you always wanted but did not have time for.

Whenever we are forced to let go of something or someone a psychological death occurs and we need to grieve for our loss. Death comes in many forms; it may be an aspect of ourselves, our youthful qualities, our health, or a dream that is no more. Or it may be a relationship that is ended.

With every death or mini-death a rebirth occurs; something of value is growing inside us. Through acceptance and allowing ourselves to grieve the loss, we can grow and develop wisdom. How we react to the constant changes that occur in our lives is probably the only aspect of any relationship that we have choice over.

Allowing ourselves time to grieve without justifying or judging our reason for grieving is vital for healing our wounds. Recognizing that you may experience grief very differently than other people is often key to allowing ourselves to grieve. When we try to grieve the way we ‘think we are supposed to’ or ‘the way we have seen others grieve’, we are in judgment of ourselves and this will stop us from grieving and healing.

Elizabeth Kübler Ross lists 5 stages of grieving Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression, and Acceptance. Whether we like it or not, we humans will go through each of these stages in our healing process. To stop them is to stop ourselves from healing.

An exercise I often recommend for grieving is the following:

  • Once a day for 21 minutes, sit quietly. Light a candle that you have purchased for this exercise. During the 21 minutes watch the candle and allow your thoughts to focus on what you are grieving.
  • Do this everyday for 21 days, and then discard what remains of the candle.