A simple Japanese approach called Ukeireru helps with accepting life’s challenges.
There is a lot of gloom out there in the world. We’re still dealing with a pandemic. There are more mass shootings out there instilling fear in us. The planet is warming up and we’re slowly getting to the point where the planet is inhabitable. The list goes on and on.
I believe we can turn this around, but the first step that people need to come to terms with is accepting these realities that we’re dealing with right now. This is regardless of how grim they might be and how difficult it is to overcome.
Japanese culture already has something that can help us in this regard through something called ukeireru — a word translated to acceptance. Albeit there are many words that can translate to acceptance, but people pick this particular word instead.
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Regardless, psychologists have said time and again that acceptance is valuable in managing any kind of stress or challenge in our lives. This is on top of acceptance being more nuanced as at times you might need to accept:
Who you are
What you are able to do
And what society does to you as a whole.
Either way, this technique isn’t about resignation, but rather it’s accepting current situations to make peace with them and either make the most of the situation or move past it.
Here is how you can work this into your own life.
Ukeireru Isn’t About Resignation
As it’s suggested above, ukeireru isn’t quite what we call self-acceptance. This method stretches those boundaries to include accepting realities surrounding you. Things like:
The roles you play in communities
And overall situations.
You’re not trying to fight them but rather just accept them. And there is plenty of science to support doing this too. One bit of research shows that our mental health benefits from it and we can cope better when we accept our thoughts and emotions without judging them.
In essence, when practicing acceptance you’re making space in your life to move away from negative or unpleasant situations.
To get over the grief of the loss of a loved one, you have to accept they passed away.
To get motivated for a new job, you have to accept you’re ready to move from your current position.
To develop any skill in your life, you have to accept you’re not good at it and you need a plan to develop it.
This is different from resignation since in resignation you submit to whatever it is you’re facing and give up in terms of making changes. At the same time, this practice isn’t suggesting you need to spend a half-hour meditating or doing some ritual.
Instead, ukeireru is a mindset. And the more that you integrate it into your daily life, the more natural you’ll end up using it. Eventually, it’ll become second nature.
Here is how to develop it.
Connect With Nature
One of the fundamental parts of acceptance is to establish harmony with nature. There are three core options to choose from, but you do want to be spending time doing either of these things:
Getting a house plant and looking at it/taking care of it
Going for walks in nature — trails, parks, woodlands.
Spending time outdoors in general
Recognize The Source Of Your Stress
It’s hard to accept situations in our lives when we are misinterpreting what the source of our stress is or what we are dealing with. It’s easy to delve into one possible scenario and think that is the answer when there are other possibilities.
Not all arguments begin because one person is behaving differently. In some cases it can be small inconveniences or hardships that other sources have brought.
In other cases, something simple as stubbing your toe on something can be the source of pent-up anger or stress when in reality it was multiple or one large source beyond that that caused it — like a threat of losing your job, or that work has just been stressing you out.
Our emotions do get the better of us and they can result in us being quick to jump to conclusions if we’re not careful. It’s difficult, but this step is crucial. All that you have to do is practice connecting more with root problems rather than burying them from what you are experiencing right now.
Remind Yourself Everything Is Temporary
Emotions are signs and signals that tell us something based on what’s currently happening. As such, everything that we’re going through is temporary. Whatever unpleasant or stressful thing isn’t going to last forever.
What does last forever is what we choose to do with that information and what action or inaction we take.
Notably doing something that can create space between you and the stress you’re going through. Anything that’s able to tune your thoughts and feelings over any noise or stressors from the outside is the key.
Making Incremental Changes To Your Routine
Change never happens overnight so set yourself up with that in mind. Whatever situation comes, it’s important that you’re accepting it and then adapting to it by making small changes to your routine.
I’ve started to gain a lot of success from Medium and it all started with me finally getting back to writing an article every single day. Sure, some of those articles will be duds and not get many views. But if I’m writing every day, I’ve got 30 or 31 chances to have an article I publish get a lot of traffic for that month.
That number only continues to increase time after time of course.
This step overall helps in any kind of situation that you face. Every part of our lives can present itself a sequence of actions that you can take:
Familiarizing yourself with an area/city or a new occupation or skill
Relearning how to move and function after a major injury.
New things take time to be familiar to us so getting a routine that works for you is ideal.
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Cutting Out Unnecessary Routines
Unnecessary as in things that aren’t working for you or are getting in the way. All routines new and old should be flexible by design. When something isn’t working, you change it. When something is working, you keep the course.
Make a point of going through your habits and hobbies and seeing if there is anything redundant or simply not making you happy. Move on past those and try something else.
What this process is all about is normalizing the emotions that we experience and to be accepting them. Once you accept something, you can then think about solutions around those problems. If something is too large for you to handle, then it might be a matter of doing something on a grander scale.
For the environment, it can be about making your own environmentally conscious decisions while encouraging others to do the same.
We’ve seen time and again big changes can be made when we work collectively on something and it only takes one person to bring that to light.
Beyond that, the emotions that we feel like fear, sadness, or anxiety are all normal. They’re a sign of uncertainty that we’re experiencing in the face of various problems. But rather than wallowing in those emotions, these methods instill in us and encourage us to be kind about ourselves and the process we’ll be going through.
Every person is capable of doing that. However, in cases where emotions do become unmanageable, there are still solutions for that, notably mental health programs and therapy.
CONTRIBUTED BY Eric S Burdon
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