Open. . .

Open acceptance can be defined as the ability to accept situations that are outside of our control without judging them, which in turn reduces the suffering that is caused by them.

Open acceptance is based on the notion that suffering comes not directly from pain, but from one’s attachment to the pain. It has its roots in Buddhism and the paradigm put forth by  that acceptance is the first step towards change.

Rather than being attached to a painful past, radical acceptance suggests that non-attachment is the key to overcoming suffering. Non-attachment does not mean not feeling emotions. Rather, it refers to an intention of not allowing pain to turn into suffering. This means watching your thoughts and feelings to identify when you are allowing yourself to feel worse than is necessary.

The lack of judgment that is an important part of acceptance does not involve approval of the situation. Instead, it involves accepting reality for what it is and not getting caught up in an emotional reaction to that reality. Open acceptance is not an easy practice at all. In fact, it can require a lifetime of practice in order to truly get a handle on it.

Open acceptance is most often applied in situations when you are unable to fix or change what has happened or when something has happened that feels unfair, like the loss of a loved one or losing one’s job. While grief and disappointment are normal emotions, suffering results when the initial pain is prolonged due to a lack of acceptance.

Open unconditioned acceptance does not mean that you agree with what is happening or what has happened to you. Rather, it signals a chance for hope because you are accepting things as they are and not fighting against reality.

While it won’t be easy initially to cope with situations that have caused you a lot of pain, you may find that when you practice open acceptance, you eventually start to feel better.When you identify those situations in your life, be prepared to acknowledge your emotions and then move on. While this will not be easy in the short run, you should find that in the long run things gradually start to improve in your life. And when things start to improve, you might find that everything naturally becomes easier and lighter, making it easier for you to make other necessary changes in your life.

Peace and Love, Jim

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