Sometimes my opening article provokes a reaction from our readers, but not always. Last month having read about radical acceptance, a few members shared with me their experiences and difficulties in accepting the circumstances of their lives. One of our members has kindly agreed to me sharing their personal aphorisms which they have found helpful over the years having undergone a period of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy for a stress related illness.
“Be compassionate to yourself”
“Worry is like a rocking horse……it gets you nowhere”
“Be kinder than is necessary, for everyone you meet is facing/fighting some kind of battle”
“No one is in charge of your happiness but you”
“Frame every so called disaster with these words ‘In five years wills this matter’”
“Make peace with your past so it won’t mess up the present”
“It is easy to fear every day or to fear the future but instead say ‘Well look at what I‘ve done today, you never would have thought it’ ”
“The idea of finding something to do is a big help. If I find I really cannot face a job, I find something else to do but don’t just sit there thinking”
From the perspective of faith, I conclude this piece drawing upon a famous sermon by the theologian Paul Tillich. Preaching on grace, Tillich said in his sermon ‘You are accepted’, “Grace strikes us when we are in great pain and restlessness…Sometimes at that moment a wave of light breaks into our darkness, and it is as though a voice were saying: ‘You are accepted. You are accepted, accepted by that which is greater than you, and the name of which you do not know. Do not ask for the name now; perhaps you will find it later. Do not try to do anything now; perhaps later you will do much. Do not seek for anything; do not perform anything; do not intend anything. Simply accept the fact that you’re accepted!” If that happens to us, we experience grace. After such an experience we may not be better than before, and we may not believe more than before. But everything is transformed. In that moment, grace conquers sin, and reconciliation bridges the gulf of estrangement. And nothing is demanded of this experience, no religious or moral or intellectual presupposition, nothing but acceptance.’
I like that concept of grace and acceptance, how about you? Are you ready to accept this graceful truth?