By Shahin Sharma
No doubt these are challenging times. The word that tends to be used frequently to describe this time is ‘unprecedented.’ The Oxford dictionary defines unprecedented as ‘never done or known before.’
So, how are we coping, personally, with these usual, unfamiliar times? Are our coping tools equally unprecedented?
One tool that I am practicing is Acceptance, defined specifically as acknowledging what is. In his book entitled The Unopened Gift, international coach and coach trainer, Dan Newby, defines acceptance as, ‘I acknowledge it is as it is. I am not agreeing with how it is. I am not resisting how it is. I am not endorsing how it is. I’m simply saying I understand that it is as it is.’ He further describes acceptance as the ‘you are here’ marker on a map, such as the ones in a shopping mall.
As such, acceptance enables me to identify and acknowledge all that I am feeling and thinking – the multitude of emotions, the diversity of assessments as well as their changing nature. Acceptance also enable me to be present, to live – even for a moment – in the present moment, not focused on the future or living in the past.
For example, I accept that I feel fear, worry and dread of the magnitude of the disease and the uncertainty created by it, including the economic and social ones. I also accept that I do feel relief and calm at the slower pace of life. I accept that I love working from home. I accept that I hate that family members and many others have lost their jobs or businesses, that many are suffering – financially, mentally, physically. When I am in acceptance, I am neither in the past nor the future, but the present.
Just as in a mall, using the map marking our current position, we can then navigate our way to other stores or areas of the mall, so then acceptance enables us to begin mapping our path forward.
Every morning, after brushing my teeth, I take a deep and gently breath. I close my eyes, and complete 3-5 sentences of ‘I accept….” I do this practice at lunch and at bedtime. I invite you to do the same.
Shahin Sharma, BA ACC