As a practicing marital and family law attorney in Clearwater, Florida, for over 34 years, I often encounter clients who are in crisis. This can take various forms. One common experience for people going through divorce is the acceptance of some part of life that is unpleasant.
If you fight the current situation, it can bring on feelings of distress. This dilemma is so common that the Buddhists long ago reduced it to a formula: Pain x Resistance = Suffering. Translation: Fighting against (or resisting) the reality of the pain in your life creates suffering.1
Rather than resisting your pain, and so creating your own suffering, you would be wise to learn to accept your authentic self—your experience of who you really are and what you are really struggling with. In doing this, you can develop self-acceptance and self-compassion.
People who live authentically act in keeping with their inner experiences—such as their likes, dislikes, interests and values. They are happier in their relationships and achieve a greater sense of inner peace. You can experience this, too, by doing the following:
Begin by accepting your current reality. Your situation is what it is. No amount of wishing for something different or rejecting the situation (or yourself) will change anything. However, by facing your problem, you can at least begin to address it.
Pay attention to your thoughts, feelings, and desires. Only by knowing your inner experiences can you be true to them. When they are painful, you can then at least find ways to comfort yourself and cope as effectively as possible with them.
Choose to be accepting and compassionate to your experiences. No one ever healed from a blow to the head by hitting themselves there again. The same can be said of emotional pain; that is, self-criticism about some difficulty won’t resolve that problem. In both cases, the way to heal and move beyond the hurt is to accept it and find ways to nurture the wound. More specifically with psychological pain, acceptance and compassion are essential to heal and to free yourself to nurture greater personal growth.
Plan for a better future. If you are unhappy with some aspect of yourself or your circumstance, you would benefit from planning for the change you would like to see – even as you accept and nurture your current self.
Develop supportive friendships. No one gets through this world alone. At some time or another, we all go through rough patches in life and can benefit from the support of good, caring friends.
In short, by accepting the present and having compassion for yourself, you can soothe your pain as you create a happier, more fulfilling future.
1 This blog has borrowed heavily from the following: Becker-Phelps, Leslie. “Accept Your Pain it will Hurt Less.” Psychology Today. October 14, 2013. Retrieved from: https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/making-change/201310/accept-your-pain-it-will-hurt-less