Acceptance and Commitment …
Isn’t this something we all strive towards? To be accepting of ourselves.
To put aside difficult experiences, memories, negative thoughts and big emotions, and continue to be able to strive towards what we believe is right, what our values and goals are in life?
I certainly do. But it is HARD. Life is difficult, it throws us obstacles, stresses, challenges and relationships to traverse. We become entwined with our thoughts processes, our emotions become us, our ‘baggage’ becomes overpowering.
But what if it is possible, what if we can truly learn a way to accept all of what has gone before, warts and all? To continue on the path, our very own and unique path, to self-acceptance. To find value in everyday things, to LIVE how we deserve to…..
My journey with ACT (Acceptance and Commitment Therapy)
As soon as I set foot into my first ACT therapy session I knew this was the right thing for me. I stepped into that therapy room, as a patient, feeling terrified, experiencing sensations in my body that I haven’t experienced in a long time – sweating, shaking, palpitations, shortness of breath…Panic.
I didn’t know what to expect, what I was going to ‘uncover’ or what I was going to be required to partake in! This very quickly dissolved as my therapist welcomed me and started out by suggesting that we just take a few breaths together. This is something I have practiced doing for many years, finding space, having a moment of peace within myself for just that tiny amount of time. Using the power of your inner breath is something we should all practice, no matter where we are, we always have our breath to return to.
My heart rate slowed, my breathing returned to normal, I could focus.
And so my journey began with ACT.
My experience of those first few sessions was one of absolute connection, wonder and calm – I connected with this therapy more than any attempt or experience that went before. This was RIGHT. It fits with my whole ethos – both professionally as a nurse and in my personal life.
At the very heart of ACT is relationship, connection, empathy and self-acceptance. Driving always towards self-compassion – learning to accept ourselves as who we are and being truly compassionate to ourselves. The founder of ACT, Steven Hayes, quotes “Love isn’t everything, it is the ONLY thing.”
ACT focuses on exploring our unique selves; accepting ourselves, our difficult thoughts, emotions and experiences and committing to values that we hold dear in how we want to live our lives. In my sessions I learnt to see my thoughts as separate, to detach from them and learn to observe them as what they are…just thoughts. We all carry ‘passengers’ on our bus – people or experiences that have affected us and shaped us through our lives, but learning to detach from that and let them sit quietly in your bus is an imperative skill for everyone to learn.
This therapy changed my whole outlook. I continue to have thoughts of “I’m not good enough”, “I can’t do it”, “What will people think?” but instead of letting that fuse into reality I can now accept that those thoughts are just thoughts, they are passengers on my bus trying to swerve my direction. What ignites me is how I wish to live my life and that is by my values – compassion, equality, trust and adventure. No matter how many passengers are shouting in the back of my bus,
I have now learnt to remind myself to continue on that journey, embedding value into every area of my life.
Find out More
I loved this approach so much that I went on to train in ACT therapy; I am now accredited to be able to deliver this to other people; children and adults.
.I am running my first series of ACT workshops online for ages 16+ starting on October 1st – these are a series of 7, fun, non-judgmental, self-exploratory sessions. I really believe this will change your whole outlook on life, as it did me. Come and join me!