Problem: I know that acceptance improves well-being, but, honestly, trying to accept what I feel doesn’t make me any happier.
Answer: As long as you practice acceptance with the expectation of happiness, you are not accepting what is and what you feel. While acceptance can modulate emotions, it doesn’t enable you to change them at will, nor will it always make you feel good. Acceptance only changes your perspective, your attitude toward your state. If you keep worrying about feelings, your attitude will remain unchanged.
Question: But if I can modulate my emotions, I can also optimize my bodymind state and ultimately become happier, right?
Answer: Bodymind optimization is a reasonable goal. You can certainly work toward having a happier mind in a stronger, healthier body; for example, you can recompose your body by working out and improving your diet or brighten up your mind by reading empowering books. The practice of acceptance, however, has a spiritual goal, which is not a real goal, but the practice itself. Self-mastery is an art, an end in itself, a pleasure of will, a path beyond happiness. If you keep worrying about progress, your attitude will remain unchanged.
- Solving the Problem of Acceptance
- The Basic Problem of Mindfulness
- Is Meditation an Escape from Life?
- Is Happiness the End Goal?
- Everyday Mindfulness: Awareness Over Feelings
- Why Every Life Philosophy Is A “Feel Good” Philosophy
- Alan Watts on Self-Discipline and Self-Acceptance
- 21 Ways to Misuse Mindfulness Meditation