The Power of Incremental Acceptance


Much has been said about the idea of accepting who we truly are.  We are told “accept who you are and things will change, accept this moment even if its horrible and watch it change”, and even though we know all of this theoretically to be true, so few of us truly accept who we are and see through this idea of seeking. 

Why do we do this? Continue to seek even though a simple acceptance could change everything.  Could it be that what we see as a simple acceptance is too much for the mind to accept and instead it throws up a myriad of reasons to not accept.  Remember the mind is purposeful, not logical and as such it’s duty is to keep you safe based on the programs running in your mind, whether they are logical or not. 


“Your task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself that you have built against it”


Barriers Against Love

As the quote by Rumi highlights it is not to seek for love but instead seek the barriers. These stories that are in place that prevent seeing.  Sufis talk of constant remembrance in order to cleanse the dust from the mirror of the heart and in this constant cleansing, this constant letting go, we see more and more of what we truly are.

This cleansing and its resulting acceptance helps us to see what we are.  By becoming aware of our stories and predominant emotional states we can take small steps towards accepting more and more of what we are and letting go more and more of what we are not.  Similar to those who having multiple awakenings, each time the mind comes back until eventually it doesn’t and is replaced by a constant seeing.  This is from a constant meeting of ourselves and seeing that what we took to be true isn’t necessarily so.  By taking small incremental acceptances in whatever comes up we can minimise the minds excuse of not wanting to accept.

 The reason I propose this as a way to let go of seeking is due to a recent participant at one of my intensives.  The idea of acceptance and loving themselves was abhorrent, even though they were sincere in their seeking.  The mind had thrown up many excuses ranging from “I am stupid”, “I am not worthy” and “I can’t love myself, I hate myself”. 

Gradual Process

I noticed by asking them to simply accept. it was provoking a very negative reaction and instead was creating a confrontational and hostile situation.  It was when I asked if they could accept just a little bit and love themselves just a little bit that the mind was calmed and they were able to answer in the affirmative.  This incremental acceptance mushroomed and over the coming sessions I witnessed them accept themselves and love themselves more.  The process had started and they commented that they felt a process had begun and more and more was being let go of naturally. 

The power of Incremental acceptance is that it allows us to bypass the mental chatter and fears that come up as a knee jerk reaction when we want to simply accept or let go.  By continually visiting the issue in the here and now, slowly but surely making incremental movements, we can watch results mushroom and then letting go and accepting happen naturally, allowing us to see what we truly are. 

“Start by doing what’s necessary, then do what’s possible; and suddenly you are doing the impossible”

St Francis of Assisi