Ep #125: Acceptance vs Giving Up
Posted on July 28, 2016
So many of us give up on important things we’ve been working on way too early and call it acceptance.
So how do you know when we’re quitting something or just accepting reality?
Most of the time, if you’re not sure, you’re probably giving up. I believe that there’s nothing wrong with giving up on something as long as you’re telling yourself the truth.
On this episode, I explain how you can tell the difference between backing out of something and accepting the reality and why this distinction is so important for us to understand. Listen in to find out how you can use acceptance to your advantage and (hopefully) get inspired to finish those important tasks you’ve abandoned and live a more fulfilled life!
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What you will discover
- The difference between giving up and accepting reality.
- When it’s okay to give up on something.
- The importance of telling yourself the truth about whether you have control over it or not.
- Where we go wrong in this process.
- How you can use acceptance to your advantage.
Featured on the show
Welcome to The Life Coach School Podcast, where it's all about real clients, real problems, and real coaching. Now, your host, Master Coach Instructor, Brooke Castillo.
Hello hello, my friends! Katrina, one of my students was making fun of me, she says that I sound so mellow on my podcasts. I told her it's because I'm in a room by myself, looking at the wall, talking. Then she was laughing and she says, in person I'm a lot more high energy, than I am when I'm in a room by myself, talking into a microphone. If the only way that you've known me is through my podcast, it's good for you to know that I'm usually not this mellow, I guess. I don't feel mellow at all, but I might be coming across that way because I'm alone, in a room with a microphone.
Okay, so let's talk about giving up versus acceptance. I just got done doing an advanced coach training, and it was so amazing. It was really fun. It was a 2-day training. I introduced a lot of materials. We reviewed, and practiced a lot of previous materials that I had introduced. One of the things that I'd said is that there is kind of 4 things that you need to do when you learn something. The first thing is you learn it intellectually. The second thing is you apply it in the world. The third thing is you practice it, and then the fourth thing is you master it. We spent quite a bit of time applying and practicing, and repeating some of the tools, and it's interesting, even those of us who've been at this for a long time still struggle when it comes to mastery because that lack of repetition.
It was funny though. I got some feedback after the event, and some of the feedback was, "I love it when you coach, but I really was hoping that you would teach more. I want to learn more about these advanced techniques, and I wanted to talk about them more." Then right after that someone said, "I love it when you teach, but the best part of every training with you is when you coach, so I really wish you'd have coached more instead of answering people's questions." I'm like, "I don't know what to do with that information. It's very contradictory." I think we did a good combination of both of those things. I think that one of the most important things with coaching and with learning these coaching techniques is repeating them, repeating them, repeating them, repeating them until they are absolutely second nature. Until you've heard it so many times, you know exactly what a C is, what a T is, what an F is, what an A is, what an R is.
As you coach people more and more, and as I've coached people more and more, you run up to this question of, "Should I keep going? If I stop now, does it mean that I'm giving up, or is this just acceptance?" Right? "Can I stop now, and call this acceptance, or am I giving up?" I actually got this exact same question asked to me 3 different times, from 3 different people within one week. I'm like, "All right, already, I'm going to do a short podcast on this." The last couple of podcasts I've done were pretty long, and heavy, and so, I wanted to give you 3 or 4 of the next ones will be short, and impactful, but not quite as dense in terms of content. I know that a lot of you listen to some of these podcasts twice, and I know that some of you read the transcript, and do the notes and you are very serious about it.
If that's you, I want you to just chill for the next couple of weeks and just get this one concept in your mind, and kind of mull it over, okay? The concept is, "How do you know if you are quitting something or if you're just accepting reality?" I'm going to give you a way to distinguish between the 2, and I'm going to offer to you, that if you don't know you're probably giving up. There's nothing wrong with giving up, by the way. Just tell yourself the truth about it. A lot of people tell themselves that they are just accepting reality, when really they're giving up. I think that doesn't mean that you shouldn't give up, it just means that you are telling yourself the truth. You say, "I'm no longer going to work at this on purpose even though I could." Versus, "There is nothing more I can do," right? If there's truly nothing more you can do, then that is acceptance, but most of us call giving up acceptance.
I'm going to tell you how to tell the difference, because here's the problem. Most of you are very intelligent, brilliant people who are good at convincing yourself otherwise. If you're going to give up, tell yourself the truth about it, and say, "I'm giving up now." If you don't want to give up, and you think you're tricking yourself into giving up, then here's how you can tell the difference. Giving up is deciding not to continue even though you could. Giving up usually happens when you stop believing that you can achieve the thing that you started out to do. Giving up usually feels negative in the long term. It will give you temporary relief from your discomfort, temporary relief from your challenge. It may feel like the right thing to do because it may feel good temporarily, but when you can anticipate how you'll feel in the long run. Having stopped to doing this thing, you initially wanted to do, it will usually be negative.
Giving up usually feels rushed, and pressured. You usually want to do it right away. It's like quitting a job, right? "I want to just, I want to put my notice in. I want to quit this job. I want to get a divorce." There's like a quickening to it, and if you feel that quickening, if you feel that anxiety about it, that's probably giving up. There's usually negative emotion associated with it, okay? There's usually like a pressing negative emotion that you're trying to relieve, by quitting, by giving up. If giving up releases you of the emotion, that maybe why you're motivated to give up. I always recommend that you identify what that emotion is, identify the thought causing it, and then make sure that you really don't want to just change the thought, that you really want to give up.
A thought may be, "I just don't want to work on this anymore. I just can't do this anymore. This is no longer possible. This is too hard." If you hear yourself saying those thoughts, and you feel that and you're using this giving up as evidence against yourself, then you know that you're doing something that you have a choice and not have to do, okay? That is not acceptance. You're genuinely giving up something on purpose, and nothing wrong with that just make sure you're telling yourself the truth about it. There's usually resistance associated with moving forward and that's where the giving up is coming from. Most people don't want to keep moving forward, they resist moving forward, so they quit to release that resistance. That's giving up, that’s different than resistance.
Now, acceptance happens when you genuinely have no control over something. When I say acceptance happens, I mean, acceptance is appropriate, right? Going to the place where you are actively working to accept something, it's when that something is something that you don't have control over. You really need to tell yourself the truth about whether you have control over it or not. A lot of people accept things as if they don't have control over them. I'll give you an example, "I'm just going to accept this job that I'm in because I don't have choice to leave it. I'm just going to accept my current weight, because I don't have the ability to change it. I'm going to accept this behavior from these people in my life because I know that I can't find anyone else in my life to love me, so these are the only people." Right?
It's true that you can't change other people's behavior, and accepting their behavior will genuinely set you free, but you don't have to accept them as the only option of people in your life, right? Make sure ... When you're working toward accepting something, make sure that you have really decided that this thing, is something that you will not, or cannot change, and that you're accepting it on purpose, okay? You can say, "I could change this but I'm choosing not to." I would call that more giving up, right? I'm going to accept this thing that, so maybe I had decided that I was going to get new friends and now I've just, kind of given up on that. Maybe I decided that I was going to build a business and I give up on that, I decided I was going to lose weight and I give up on that. Then calling it acceptance, so why do I feel so terrible all the time.
You know a lot of people say, "I'm just trying to be grateful for what I have. I'm just trying to be happy in this place that I am and accept it." It's not that, it’s more that I've given up on changing it. I believe that I can't change it and that's very different than accepting something that you cannot change. When you accept something you feel strong, it's very active. It takes effort to accept something that you cannot change, versus giving up which is more of an inaction and requires a dialing back of effort. Acception is the action of consenting to something, right? It's, "I consent, I say yes to what is." You can accept something about yourself in this moment and use that energy to accept, say, your body or your job in this moment and then also be willing to change it as well. You don't have to be in a space of discontent or non-acceptance in order for something to change. In fact I think a lot of people don't like change because the only time they ever change is when they're highly dissatisfied.
I always train my clients to be able to be present with what is and accept what is that can't be changed in this immediate moment, and then to decide what you want to change deliberately in the future, and recognize that you can do both of things at the same time. I can accept my body where it is without hating it and I can accept that I can't change it right this second, but that I can also work towards a plan if I want to change it in the future, okay? If you are someone who doesn't want to work on their health, or doesn't want to work on their weight, you've given up on that, that's okay. That's different than accepting something that you cannot change, that is unchangeable. You'll know the difference because there'll always be an underlying belief system when you give up, that sounds like, "I can't."
Acceptance comes from, "I can," right? "I can accept and I want to accept that this is something that I can't control." Versus, "I have given up on this thing because I don't want to work on it anymore." Both options are good. Just make sure that you're telling yourself the truth about it. Acceptance will feel slower and it won't feel rushed. It will feel like something that, like I said, requires strength and energy and action to do, whereas giving up feels a different way. The questions that I got from my clients, and where this information will be appropriate for you to apply, is, "Should I keep working on this? Should I keep trying? Am I fooling myself? This is getting exasperating. I've done everything I know how to do. Should I just accept that this is my lot in life?" What I want to offer is that most of us, because we want that relief, because we want that temporary relief from that discomfort of not getting the success or the progress that we want, or that we think we should have, most of us give up way too early and call it acceptance.
It sounds like, "I would have loved to have done that, I used to think I would do that, I used to try and do that. I used to think that I would write a book or be a coach, or get to my goal weight or, be a ballerina, whatever it is. Sometimes, there are things that we dreamt of that we really no longer have control over. We can't get drafted into the NFL if we're 75 years old, like that's something you cannot change. That's an appropriate place to use acceptance. If it comes to writing, I always wanted to write a book and now I can't. That's very different, you've given up on that. Just make sure you tell yourself the truth. I want to give you kind of a wake up call, if you don't know which one you are. 95% of the people I run into, give up way too easily, and have given up on things that are way too important. The way that you know is because of the way you feel.
When you accept something you cannot change, you feel freedom. When you accept yourself where you are, and you're willing to work towards more, you feel abundant. When you give up, you only feel temporary relief, and then ultimately, you feel defeated and upset, and let down. I want to recommend that you never beat yourself up for anything like that, you just tell yourself the truth and you constantly give yourself the option to begin again. If you have something in your life that you have given up on, and you've been trying to tell yourself that you're just accepting that it's no longer possible for you, I want you to revisit it, and tell yourself the truth. Are you willing to tell yourself the truth about it? That you gave up on it, and that you don't have to give up on it. You can keep going for it.
Ask yourself, is this really acceptance? Is this really something I can't control, or have I given up? If I've given up, do I really want to, or I'm I willing to go through the discomfort that is always required when I am evolving and growing? Remember when you're evolving and growing, that's when you're most alive, and that's when you'll feel most ignited and excited about being on the planet. I suggest, if you have given up, just have that temporary relief, re-ignite it again and go and get it. All right, you guys have a wonderful, amazing week and I'll talk to you next week. Take care. Bye bye.
Thank you for listening to The Life Coach School podcast. It is my honor to show up here every week and connect with people that are like-minded, wanting to take their life to a deeper level with more awareness and more consciousness. If you are interested in taking this work to the next level, I highly encourage you to go to the Lifecoachschool.com/how to feel better online. It is there that I have a class that will take all of this to a deeper application. Where you'll be able to really feel and experience how all of these concepts can start showing up in your life. It's one thing to learn it intellectually, it's another thing to truly apply it to your life. I will see you there. Thanks again for listening.