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  • Lisa Atkins, LCSW & Deborah Scarborough, LCMHCS

The Healing Power of Acceptance: A Beacon of Hope for Coping with Anxiety and Depression

Coping with Anxiety and Depression

Hello! Today, we're going to dive into the profound concept of using the tool of acceptance for coping with anxiety and depression and how it requires effort. A client of ours who struggles with acceptance while experiencing anxiety and depression said, "It's going to take some effort to accept that." It got us thinking, and we realized that acceptance isn't about giving up; it's about putting in the work to create a life of true freedom.

The Surprising Effort Behind Acceptance

Many of us associate acceptance with surrender or defeat, but in reality, it demands a tremendous amount of effort when done correctly. To illustrate this, here is a quote from Eckhart Tolle: "Whatever the present moment contains, accept it as if you had chosen it." Now, doesn't that sound like it requires effort, especially when faced with challenging moments?

Accepting Your Past

Let's start by looking at the past. Imagine accepting your past as if you had intentionally chosen every aspect of it. It's not easy, is it? The very definition of acceptance includes the action of consenting, which means embracing everything in your past, the good and the bad.

One of our clients, Julie has been through her fair share of tough experiences, and she shared that when she fully accepted her past, it transformed her life. Instead of constantly arguing with it, she found peace and the power to move forward.

Embracing Others' Behavior

Another crucial aspect is accepting the behavior of others. It doesn't mean you have to approve or stay in unhealthy situations. Instead, it's about acknowledging that adults have the right to behave as they choose, regardless of your input. This is about recognizing that the only control you have in any given situation is control over your own behaviors, your own choices, and your own thoughts. This acceptance can be incredibly liberating and beneficial for your well-being.

Practicing Acceptance in Daily Life

Now, let's bring acceptance into our everyday lives. It's not reserved for profound moments of pain, but can be applied to daily challenges. Try saying, "I consent," to the circumstances that unfold during your day. "I consent to my kid being upset. I consent to a tough day at work. I consent to the traffic jam."

Imagine how different your life could be if you genuinely agreed and accepted everything that happened, especially the small inconveniences. We challenge you to explore this concept, even if it feels challenging at first.

Accepting Your Body

For some of you, accepting your body may be a significant hurdle. What if you could look in the mirror and genuinely say, "I consent. I accept this body"? It's a powerful shift that can set you free from the burden of self-criticism.

Think about the freedom that comes with accepting your body, no matter its shape or size. It's a journey worth embarking on, and yes, it takes effort, but the rewards are immeasurable.

The Effort Behind a Brighter Future

Now, let's talk about the future. Can you accept that everything in your life is a result of your choices and actions? It's a challenging idea, but one that can lead to incredible personal growth.

Consider your weight as an example. Can you accept and consent to the possibility of being 50 pounds lighter in the future? It may sound simple, but true acceptance requires effort. It demands that you believe in yourself and let go of self-doubt.

Unlocking Your Capacity to Have

We often discuss the concept of the "capacity to have." What is your capacity to have all the joy and abundance you desire? It begins with accepting and consenting to what you have in your past and present.

By mastering acceptance in these areas, you'll find it easier to accept and consent to everything you desire in your future. Your past is perfect in its imperfection, your present is your greatest teacher, and your future is entirely within your grasp.

Acceptance: Effort or Surrender?

When you hear people talk about acceptance, ask yourself: Does it mean giving up, or does it require effort? It's easier to accept what's unconscious within us because it's always been there. But true growth comes from accepting the things we've argued with in our past, present, and future.

So, what will it take for you to accept that your past was perfect, your present is your teacher, and your future is yours to shape? The key is to put effort into accepting and consenting to every aspect of your life.

The Effortful Journey to Emotional Liberation

So, what about when you experience anxiety and depression? Embracing acceptance in the face of anxiety and depression is not a passive surrender but an active, courageous endeavor. It's the journey of consciously choosing to make peace with the storm within, one acceptance at a time.

Breaking the Chains of Perfectionism when Coping with Anxiety

Anxiety often thrives on the pursuit of perfection. Acceptance is the antidote, granting permission to be imperfectly human. When you embrace the reality that life is inherently flawed, the chains of perfectionism start to loosen, paving the way for a gentler, more compassionate relationship with yourself.

Easing the Weight of Expectations when Coping with Depression

Depression frequently finds its roots in the gap between expectations and reality. Acceptance bridges this gap by teaching us to embrace life as it is, not as we wish it to be. As you release the grip of unrealistic expectations, you create space for peace and contentment to flourish.

A Sanctuary in the Present Moment

Anxiety often hijacks our thoughts with worries about the future, while depression often ties us to the weight of the past. Acceptance grounds us in the present, offering a sanctuary where neither anxiety nor depression can dictate our emotional state. Through acceptance, the present moment becomes a refuge, a place to breathe and find solace.

Fostering Self-Compassion While Coping with Depression

Depression often feeds on self-criticism, creating a cycle of despair. Acceptance introduces the concept of self-compassion, allowing you to be kind to yourself in moments of struggle. By acknowledging your pain without judgment, you pave the way for healing and resilience.

Empowering Mindfulness as a Coping Mechanism for Anxiety and Depression

Anxiety and depression thrive in the chaos of an unsettled mind. Acceptance, paired with mindfulness, becomes a powerful coping mechanism. When you can observe your thoughts without attaching judgment, you cultivate a mental resilience that stands as a stalwart defense against the onslaught of anxious or depressive thinking.

Conclusion: Create Your Life of Freedom

In conclusion, acceptance is a powerful tool that, when wielded with effort, can lead to a life of true freedom. It's about embracing your past, acknowledging the behavior of others, and finding peace in the present.

By putting in the effort to accept and consent to every aspect of your life, you open the door to a future filled with joy, abundance, and endless possibilities. Remember, the moment you genuinely, truly accept it, it's as good as done.

So, put that effort into accepting and see the magnificent life you can create. Embrace acceptance, and you'll find the path to a brighter and more fulfilling future.

As you traverse this path of coping with anxiety and depression, remember that seeking professional guidance is a sign of strength, not weakness. Our therapists at A Helping Hand of Wilmington can be invaluable companions on your journey to acceptance and emotional well-being. Contact us at and schedule your session today.

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