Why Acceptance is so Important " Part Two "
Acceptance is easy to talk about but difficult to adopt. We may have to accept the loss of our ability to do something very important to us perhaps or which we think we should easily be able to do. We may look fine and not have any obvious sign of disability or pain so others may quite reasonably presume we have a normal level of physical activity and treat us accordingly. So it is difficult to accept a loss of ability and the imagined interpretations in other people's minds about what kind of person we are due to this. But only by moving towards an acceptance of our situation will we be able to leave the conflict aside and move forward.
In most things we have to accept the reality of what we are and what the present situation is. We can in many cases make changes to our situation to improve things and get closer to what we want to be. However, in some cases we are stuck with the situation we are in and we have no option but the accept it or fight against it. Fighting it generates, as we have seen, conflict which has undesirable consequences. Gradually moving towards acceptance can free us from this conflict and allow us, finally, to work at our difficulties in a productive manner.
If the reality of the situation is not recognised then the conflict continues and along with that we are unable to pursue suggested alternatives. No-one will see why they should change the way they do things or accept poorer standards if they don't want to give in to the pain or feel responsible for doing things for others. These feelings can obstruct the way forward towards making suitable alterations and so impede the progress which could be made. By accepting the situation to a degree by saying The present situation is my reality and I have to start from this point change can start.
We all have internal scripts which we have constructed to describe what we want to do and what we feel we are able to. These are typically not conscious but are often quite specific descriptions of what we think is going on. A good script to be able to say would be I am well and fit and able to do all the things I need to and want to in my life. However, a person with low back pain or a disabling pain syndrome would be unable to say this and their internal words might be closer to I am stuck with this pain problem for ever and it's going to stop me doing pretty much everything. This would be quite a resigned interpretation and would have repercussions.
If a negative script keeps on repeating itself like a stuck record in our mind this can reinforce our negative thinking and cause depression. It is possible to deliberately write new scripts for ourselves to say instead of the negative ones when they show up. A more useful sentence might be I accept I am limited by the condition I have but if I plan and manage my pain well I can do most things I want to do most of the time. The increased realism of this script moves towards acceptance of what is, leading to an increased likelihood of taking advantage of any new strategies which present themselves to make things better.
A realistic script is not the same as a positive one, although there may be positive aspects to it, and should definitely not be rose-tinted unless certain disappointment is to be expected once reality intrudes. However, the more positive and practical view enables people to join in in the assessment and management of their pain, being able to take better advantage of any advice and help from a health professional.