Life TherapyTM
Psychotherapy & Coaching + Mindfulness & Meditation

Do I actually accept myself fully or am I avoiding my "stuff"?

When dealing with difficult emotions, it can be confusing to spot the difference between avoidance and acceptance. So if you think of difficult emotions as this little black box of difficult, hurt, pain, feelings, and oftentimes we think that we’re accepting them by distracting ourselves and doing other things, where in essence we’re actually avoiding them and not dealing with them.
So, for example, if something traumatic happens in your life, someone dies, something serious happens, and you have a lot of deep-seeded emotions about it, oftentimes we think that we’re okay and nothing’s wrong because we’re not feeling them and we’re not dealing with them, but we’re also not giving ourselves the time to let them come out, and really address them properly. And that’s what acceptance is.
Acceptance is not pushing those emotions away, but letting them come out as they do and then taking care of them properly and letting them flow through and find their way out, eventually, as organically as possible. Whereas avoidance is just sticking them down there, “I don’t want to deal with it, and that’s what it is.”
But, interestingly enough, we can think that we’ve accepted things, and that we’ve gotten past things, but we’re really avoiding it. If we haven’t actually taken the time to sit with, and deal with, and allow the emotions to kind of flow through us properly, there’s a very good chance they’re still stuck in there somewhere that you don’t even realize.

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