Accepting Our Humanity

"What you really long for is a deep intimacy with your own experience—the deepest acceptance of every thought, every sensation, every feeling. And that cannot come from outside of yourself.” Jeff Foster


My earlier definition of acceptance was to accept my interpretation, or my thoughts about people, places, things, and events (PPTE). I didn’t realize how much my interpretation was influenced by my own personal history and conditioning, the assumption that I knew how things should be, and my resistance to feeling discomfort or disruption to my habitual way of seeing things. These influences cause tension. The tension is uncomfortable and motivated me to seek acceptance to relieve it (after years of trying to control the universe or numb myself with substances of one form or another.) The thought loop of the process is below:

Unfortunately many times the next thought loop’s event was my inability to accept, and round and round I’d go.

As I’ve come to learn that the brain’s function is to survive and it’s interpretations of PPTE are always through the lens of how it may be threatening, I understand that acceptance of my habitual thoughts isn’t as helpful or long lasting as desired. For sure, it is healthier and less disruptive than attempts to control PPTE or numbing my discomfort.

Here is another way to look at acceptance:

A PPTE comes my way that generates habitual thinking followed by resistance to the thinking. The tension from the resistance informs me that I am thinking. Period. No need to dive into the content of my thinking. My relationship to thought changes from reactive to deep understanding and acceptance of my humanity. When I am grounded in this understanding, my responses are wiser and more intelligent as opposed to reactive from habitual thought.

Acceptance of my humanity means I don’t need to take my thoughts so personal, a lot of them are just on repeat. It also means that sometimes I get caught up in them as if they were the gospel truth. With this understanding I can be gentle with myself when I can’t find the exit from a thought loop, and much more graceful and grateful when I have space from all the chitter chatter of my brain.

How can acceptance of your humanity affect your relationship to your habitual thoughts?

How might it affect your habitual behaviors, e.g. overdrinking, overeating, over internet surfing, etc.

You are so much more than your protective brain and the thoughts it generates. Can you feel the spaciousness outside of your thought loops?

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