We all have things in our lives we absolutely can’t stand. We refuse to accept them. We would even say we “hate them.” We might say “I hate the traffic”, “I hate school”, “I hate vegetables”, “I hate taking out the trash”, “I hate grocery shopping”,” I hate my hair”, “I hate my stretch marks”, “I hate my sister”, “I can’t stand how my brother always tells cheesy jokes”, etc. When we think this and say this, we really believe it. The problem is, when we have negative thoughts we experience negative feelings, and they are both toxic to our bodies. We wrote more about negative thinking and negative beliefs here. Trust us, we’ve met with so many people who struggle with this in our Atlanta therapist office.
When we resist reality, we promote judgement in our lives. With judgment, toxic thoughts, and toxic feelings, we make ourselves vulnerable to anxiety, depression, fear, relationship issues, and more.
Refusing to accept reality doesn’t help us. It only causes negativity in our brains and bodies. If you find yourself getting upset about something over and over again, it may mean that you struggle with reality acceptance.
Here are some helpful tips for accepting reality from an Atlanta therapist:
Practice being willing – Think about whether or not being distressed about this situation is helpful. Will this matter in five years? If not, be willing to do what you need to do to be effective in the situation. Use your wise mind. Maybe you need to practice relaxing in the situation. Maybe you need to use some healthy or positive self-talk. Maybe you need to accept that this will always be the way it is, and you can learn to expect it, rather than reject it (i.e. traffic and your brother’s cheesy jokes).
Make a choice to accept rather than reject – Sometimes being conscious of our unhealthy tendencies makes a big difference in beginning to change. So, when you notice yourself struggling to accept something, choose to change that. Choose to accept that “it is what it is, and I need to make an effective decision about how to respond to how it is.” Decide to tolerate the situation.
This Atlanta therapist understands that accepting reality does not mean a lack of boundary setting. So don’t get confused by the two. Accepting reality means accepting something is the way it is. However, just because something is a certain way, does not mean you cannot do something about it. Maybe your boundary is that you only deal with your annoying cousin in short doses, or you choose to take another route on the way to work, or you talk to your boss about how your working relationship can be improved. Reality acceptance does not mean that you put up with everything. Rather, it means that you accept that things are the way they are, and that you can only do what you can do. It’s about being effective in the situation you are experiencing. When you can’t do anything, you choose to radically accept your situation.
As an Atlanta therapist, I’ve found that many people who struggle with reality acceptance have unrealistic expectations. They expect their dysfunctional mother to be stable every time they see her, and are upset when she’s not. They expect that their drive thru orders will be perfect every time, and get angry when their food isn’t delivered properly. Sometimes, changing expectations and accepting that life isn’t perfect, isn’t always fair, and is beautiful anyways is exactly what we need.