Be Okay with It
One of the most common pieces of advice I hear in the personal development field is to “accept what is” in order to break down one’s resistance to whatever is causing emotional distress. While I agree that acceptance is one of the keys to releasing the parking brake that keeps us from moving forward, I can’t help but notice the emotional charge that surfaces when a conversation turns to acceptance. For far too many people in our society, the word “acceptance” elicits feelings of giving up or no longer striving to reach a higher level of happiness and emotional wellness.
I therefore prefer to use the term “be okay with” when referring to anything that presents a challenge – whether it be emotional or circumstantial. I define being okay with something as meaning that you are giving yourself permission to be okay with whatever is going on right now, but you are also giving yourself permission to desire a better-feeling situation, a happier relationship, more abundance, or whatever it is you want. By being okay with who you are right now and your current circumstances, you are releasing whatever resistance you feel (and the uncomfortable feelings that go along with that resistance) and allowing yourself to grow, expand, and find the alignment you seek.
One of the commitments I made when I decided to live a fully authentic life was to allow people to see the full range emotions I experience. I believe that by not sugar-coating the challenges I face, I’m able to connect more authentically to the people around me. That doesn’t mean I’ll share everything going on in my life, but it does mean that when I’m having a human moment, I won’t be afraid of acknowledging it.
I mention this commitment because I’m often asked how I deal with particularly challenging situations when even my most powerful thriving mechanisms aren’t effective. I face those situations by building on a series of “being okay with” statements until I really AM okay with whatever I’m going through.
I’m reminded of an incident last week that left me on the edge of a panic attack; which is something I hadn’t experienced in years. As I was on the brink of “going off the edge,” I started listing all of the emotions I was going through and the details that were causing the emotions. After several minutes of trying to convince myself that I was okay with how I felt, and realizing that I really wasn’t okay with how I felt, I finally settled on a statement that powerful in its simplicity:
“It’s okay that I’m not okay with how I feel right now.”
In that moment, all of the resistance that was causing the panic disappeared. It was as if I found a release valve that allowed me to avoid an explosion. Good thing too, because I was about to have an outburst that would’ve served no one.
I can’t say my moment of discovery will work with everybody, but the lesson I learned is that it helps to keep playing with the “I’m okay with” statements until you find something that DOES feel good. When you do, the instant release you feel is indescribable, as are the subsequent feelings of relief.
Just remember that you don’t have to accept anything – especially if that acceptance triggers more resistance within you. If, however, you can learn to be okay with who you are right now and be okay with your current circumstances, I guarantee that you will find the permission and space you need to move on, evolve, and realign with your joyful center.
Be well, my friends. Until next time.
About the Author
Appio Hunter is an author, speaker, spiritual guide, and self-described champion for living joyously. He uses his seminars and workshops to facilitate conversations about authenticity, alignment, and the daily experience of community, connection, and joy. Appio is also a weekly columnist with The Good Men Project and co-host of the Real Men Feel Show along with his good friend Andy Grant.