If your goal is to master the art of acceptance, it’s helpful to first understand the concept of using intentions. You may be looking to accept a diagnosis your child has received, a challenging behavior related to that diagnosis, or something about yourself that you are frustrated with personally.
How can a parent work on accepting their child with their challenges, disabilities, or struggles? How can a person work on accepting anything in their life that they are fighting, angry about, resentful of, or not accepting? How can you work on empathy even when a situation feels too hard, unfair, or frustrating?
One of the toolkits in BLOOM is called Self Confidence. In this toolkit, we explain the concept of using intentions. This blog will break down what makes up intentions and how you can use BLOOM’s resources to accept any challenging aspect of your life.
With easy online access, BLOOM’s resources can be used in conjunction with in-person therapy. Completed from the comfort of your home, BLOOM can enhance a 1-on-1 therapy experience by including the whole family in the exercises and practices.
What is an Intention?
There are three fundamental components to an intention, which we fully detail in our course Self Confidence. The first part is awareness, the second is acceptance, and the third step is action.
Typically, after going through steps one and two of creating an intention, one would not especially need to go through step 3 and create an intention for action.
Action means something like, “When I feel anxious or angry, then take a deep breath.”
This is because once a person has an awareness of the difficulty and an acceptance of themselves or the situation, then they may not reach that point of anger or anxiety. If they do, they would often be able to calm down without needing the intention to remind them by using the techniques and tips they have learned over the years.
The second stage of acceptance can sometimes be the most difficult stage to succeed at, and it can take time, even 6-8 weeks.
If you are a parent grappling with your child’s disability, challenge, or struggle, how can you achieve acceptance? Conversely, if you are fighting, angry, or resentful of something in your own life, how can you work on accepting those feelings?
A Successful Method for Acceptance
At BLOOM, we have a tried and true method for acceptance. This method is not for atheists, only for those who believe in a G-d or Higher Power who sends both the good and the bad and wants each situation that we encounter to happen to us in that way.
The first step would be to note that awareness. If I have a daughter who is so whiny or a child who seems to be getting more of my husband's attention than I am, or I have a son who is aloof and not connecting to me, or a child who acts wild and hurts people, then I would write something along the lines of:
“I realize that this __________ fill in the blank, is from G-d. G-d gave me everything to do with this situation and He alone can take that away whenever He feels it's the right time to do so. “
And then I would write at the top of the paper, “I accept it's from G-d” or replace G-d with your Higher Power.
From here, you would then detail all the parts of the situation you don't like. The more detail, the better. Break the situation down into tiny bite-sized pieces and list every piece and aspect you can think of that is affected by the situation and that you are not happy about.
An Example of Acceptance
If you have a child who is dangerous to himself and others, your list may look like:
“I accept that I have a child who is dangerous to others.”
“That I feel scared often.”
“He is scaring my other children.”
“It is building a wedge between my husband and myself.”
“I feel so alone, like no one else has this problem.”
“It makes me feel so inadequate as a parent.”
“I think he got it from one of my parents who was similar.”
“I am angry at my parent for being that way and that I had to live that way all my life.”
“I feel helpless in helping him or changing the situation.”
“Life is hard.”
You would continue listing in detail every kind of thought and feeling you have regarding the situation and how it affects his relationships and yours. The more detail you include, the better.
Next, create another piece of paper that says at the top, “I appreciate, or I'm grateful for.” On that paper, you write all the silver linings of the situation. It usually requires more thought to find things to be grateful about, especially in a situation that you are finding difficult.
Example: “I appreciate that my husband and I are unified in this situation.”
“I appreciate that I have so and so to help me.”
“I got a night out with my friends this month, which gave me a break from my son.”
“I found ChildrenBloom.com to give me guidance.”
“My son has day camp, and he is behaving there.”
For the next 3-6 weeks, once or twice a day, you would read through your detailed list of the things you find hard. And as you read each separate challenge that you wrote about, you try to accept it just for that moment. This means when you say I accept it’s from G-d that I have a son who is similar to my father, then in that second you accept that it’s from G-d. Or when you read: I accept that I feel angry or scared, then in that moment, you accept this is from G-d. Someone else could be in the same situation as you yet not feel the same way about it, so you can accept that the way you feel about it, is from G-d too.
The rest of the day, you can resist it, fight it, argue with it, and do whatever you want with it, but as you read it, in that moment, accept it as coming from G-d, with a sense of inner peace.
Over the course of 3-6 weeks, you will see that you start to accept a good number of these parts of your life. The ones you find you just can’t accept and keep resisting need to be broken down into smaller bits. It points to the possibility that something is hidden in there– maybe how you feel about it or how it's impacting your life that you didn't include. You would need to think about it, break it down smaller, and add it to your list.
Nothing in life is permanent. Acceptance involves recognizing the impermanence of both joy and suffering. By understanding life is a series of transient moments, parents can find solace in the midst of difficulties and savor the beauty of parenting joys.
Mastering the art of acceptance involves embracing change, cultivating mindfulness, connecting with your Higher Power, and nurturing self-compassion. As parents navigate the complexities of life with an accepting heart and an open mind, they embark on a path toward greater joy and acceptance in their parenting journey. Child development is really parent development.
The beauty of BLOOM and our online support is that it enhances your existing therapy plan for your child. It is ideally used in combination with 1-on-1 therapies, allowing parents the opportunity to integrate therapy at home with the whole family involved. Discover our course, Self-Confidence, as you embark on your journey to acceptance.