I believe in evolution. I believe in God. I believe in natural selection. I believe in a spiritual oneness behind all things. I believe in things that are easily “explainable.” I believe in things that may never be proven.
Like all beings, I simply believe.
Belief is a powerful tool and as I shared last week, belief in the abstract sense can be quite beautiful and lead to a meaningful, fulfilled life.
A little excerpt:
Belief is knowing that something can happen
Faith is knowing it someday will
So I enter into today’s discussion on belief and faith, acceptance and approval by simply reminding us that the realm we are about to enter is one of belief, of rationalization and of creative conjecture.
Not of undeniable fact or proven truth.
Simply of belief
I am medical scientist and a faithful Christian.
These aspects or descriptions of my being inform all others and cannot be excluded or addressed alone.
One cannot exist without the other, one is not “immune” to the influence of the other and most importantly they can both exist together without contradiction.
We must start to realize this fact of interactive belief so as to avoid unnecessary conflict, miscommunication or unfiltered anger towards others when seemingly different and challenging beliefs arise. Otherwise we will invariably walk down a road of needless suffering, guilt and damaging resentment.
Simply put: We must recognize our beliefs and our perceptions and see others for their beliefs and their perceptions.
We must accept others as they are, and realize that by fully accepting or loving someone you do not have to agree or approve of everything they do or of everything they believe in.
You just have to accept them.
Genuinely and completely accept them.
This is not easy, I know.
We strive for “acceptance” and approval over many other true needs and often confuse one for the other.
And yet, despite our desire to gain acceptance, we are often reluctant to offer acceptance to others, or even more tragically, to fully accept ourselves.
We seek approval when we do not need it.
We do not provide acceptance when it is all we really need.
We desire and seek approval in order to “feel accepted,”
when in reality we never needed approval to “feel accepted” in the first place.
So what does acceptance look like?
Or perhaps more importantly what does acceptance feel like?
Acceptance is freedom, it is peace in the moment, it is knowing there is no such thing as judgement. It is being deeply connected to and touched by another human being.
Acceptance is believing, acceptance is empowering, acceptance is relieving to a world of anxieties.
Acceptance just is.
How about approval?
Why do we often get these two confused?
Ever feel hungry when you are actually thirsty or tired?
Ever feel angry when you are actually just lonely and isolated?
It is easy in states of heightened emotion with “uncontrollable” environmental burdens to cross-contaminate the emotional waters and for the mind to start telling itself a story that is actually quite untrue.
How do we combat this?
Here is a simple exercise I have created and practiced to help in these moments of emotional distortion or potential confusion.
First, as with most things, take a pause:
Three simple breaths
They don’t have to be deep, they do not need to follow a special pattern.
You just need to pause and know that you are breathing
Know you have taken three purposeful breaths
Then from this place of reflection, repeat this series of phrases or mantras
I am vessel for acceptance.
I fully accept others as they fully accept me.
I greet others with openness and seek nothing but acceptance.
I am independent of other’s approval and seek not to obtain such recognition for its sake alone.
And if moved by your own spirituality or faith you can repeat these phrases
I have been accepted and graced by God, my divine, and I will offer such acceptance to others knowing they too, have God’s precious grace.
For I did nothing to receive such grace, and will never need approval to fully accept it.
I am working to be an accepting vessel,
remembering I never need approval to accept others and myself
for in reality
It is only when we start looking for approval
That we forget that we were and will always be