my struggle with acceptance

December 5, 2012Karen Courcy

One of my biggest struggles to this day, no matter how much I work through it in therapy is “acceptance”.

I had a tough session the other day. I had a lot of tears around some hard thoughts and emotions, and my therapist even agreed it was such a hard topic that even left his heart heavy; his soul feeling heavy.

Later that night my therapist sent me an email and in his email, one of the things he said was “I know this was a hard session, I know it’s hard to be with emotions, but just know that I care about you so much, I am here for you, you are loved and supported in these hard emotions”.

When I was reading the email, I held my breath reading that line “I care about you so much” and I wanted to squint my eyes.

Acceptance is a hard thing for me – I can hear and see the care and support, but there is just this old thing inside of me that doesn’t allow myself to full accept, because somewhere deep inside there is this fear that there is consequence for the love and care – “There’s a Catch”.

I don’t allow myself to FULLY embrace support, love and care truly in my heart as being true. I may say  I am supported, loved and cared for, I may reach out for support and accept all the support that is around me, but to FULLY accept it without guilt is a challenge.

This is something that my therapist and I have been working through for a long long time. It’s a struggle in my life, and it’s a curse because it gets in the way of my healing sometimes.

When someone offers me something, or gives me something, I am embarrassed and shy about it. When someone says something sincere and filled with compassion, I second guess that it’s for me, or I find ways to down myself, or finding ways to not believe that I deserve it.

This comes from my past where accepting was never safe. I accepted their love in exchange was abuse. Everything had a motive and nothing was ever for free. But when your young, you accept anything you can, but pay the consequence for it later.

I am getting better at accepting, but it comes with many challenges especially if I don’t feel “good” about myself. I want to accept, but I can’t stop the negative thoughts in my head sometimes.

My therapist and I talked about this earlier this evening for a few moments, and he talked about “radical acceptance”, and he said to me “what would it feel like just for tonight to accept that I care about you very much, you are cared for and supported?” .. I thought about it for a moment and questioned if I could do it without any negative thoughts coming in like “I am not worthy of that”.

I DO know I am cared for and supported, it’s about accepting it fully without ANY negative coming in and trying to change my mind about accepting it that is the challenge.

As I sit here tonight trying to sit in this acceptance this “radical acceptance” I thought I would write about it, to try and see my struggle written out in front of me and maybe I will see that maybe I can sit here and accept. Maybe I can sit here and say “Andy does care about me very much, I am loved, supported and cared for very much”, and tomorrow we will talk about it in session and see how it feels.

My life is filled with wonderful people who DO love me and accept me, I just need to believe it. It’s so incredibly hard to change the beliefs and actions from my past. The past is sometimes SO strong! it’s SO easy for someone to say “just accept this” when they don’t have the past where accepting meant pain. It’s so hard to move those old messages out and let the new messages in – but I am getting better at it.

I can say the words “I am loved, cared for, and supported” “I am blessed by love and connection” .. but to TRULY say it and believe it with no negative thoughts is something I struggle with and I don’t talk to people about that side of me. It’s sad and hard because I want to fully accept it.

Another thing I have a hard time with is accepting a hug for ME! When someone hugs me, I hug them as if they need it, it’s for them, it’s for the other person! I couldn’t even feel hugs for the longest time, it was an action for the other person because I cared, but I couldn’t accept that care for me.

I can feel hugs now, but I still can’t fully accept it as mine! I don’t know what it’s like to fully embrace a hug for me, it’s either for the other person or it’s for me and the other person, but more for them – again it’s something I am getting better at, and I enjoy it a little more, but some days are more challenging than others.

I would MUCH rather give than to accept.

So tonight I am doing something challenging as my therapist wanted me to do this tonight – say over and over “I am cared about very much, I am cared for deeply, I am loved and supported” and I have to keep that with me all night. It’s been challenging, but I am trying.

I will say this, it’s sad sometimes when I cannot accept love and care when I really need it. There is a difference between needing it, and accepting it. I need MANY things in life, it’s about accepting it that is the challenge, and I will continue to work with it until I fully can accept it.

I honestly can’t wait till the day comes when I can accept a hug and feel it for ME without having to give anything back! I can’t wait till I can hear someone say they care about me and me say “wow thank you, that means a lot to me” without any negative voices coming back – someday I will get there, and you can be sure I will share that with the world – until then, I will keep trying to accept what is here for me now.


  • Hanna D

    December 5, 2012 at 11:39 PM

    Karen – Radical Acceptance is something that is very hard to work on, but is effective in healing. I know it’s hard, it’s truly hard.

    Being with it tonight is a great start, to keep saying it over and over is the key. With practice and talking through it, you will come through to see the beautiful person that you are, and to know you full deserve all the love, care and support through your healing, and your life.

    I can’t imagine what your life was like as a child having to accept in order to survive but knowing what the sacrifice was, it’s a no wonder it’s a struggle everyday.

    Thank you for sharing this, I may share this writing with a few of my clients.


  • Leslie Neshama

    December 6, 2012 at 4:38 AM

    This post is incredibly courageous and honest, and I thank you for your bravery.

    I identify with what you say here in a profound way.

    I too talk about Radical Acceptance in therapy. Sometimes it seems like such a scary Leap of Faith. I don’t know why I hold back from certain things, for example, believing that I am a good person, and not carrying the heavy load of self-negation and the thought that I am, at base, unloveable.

    I too do not, somehow, feel free to accept those things – almost as if I would need punishment if I did. But then, that sets up the awful cycle again.

    I love what you are writing about – it so rings true for me too.

    I suppose what I need is to accept that I am a human being, just just like everyone else.

    Why am I holding back?

  • Gel

    December 9, 2012 at 12:22 AM

    This post – your topic of acceptance has given me a lot to think about. When I think of acceptance, I usually think of the challenge of accepting things the way they are, as opposed to how I want them to be.

    But it seems like here you are writing about accepting love that is flowing to you. Allowing it in. I think that is hard for a lot of people to do. It seems to me that the more you can let in genuine love (that doesn’t expect anything in return) the more you can accept yourself and the more you can be loving of others.

    I know I have a hard time trusting other people, let alone accepting love that is offered. I’m pretty sure that part of the reason is childhood abuse from adults who were suppose to love and protect me. That makes trusting not an automatic thing. I’m working on it ~ gently.

    Your blog post is inspiring as usual…. written with grace.

    1. Karen Courcy

      December 9, 2012 at 12:26 AM

      Aww Thank you, that means a lot to me.. acceptance is a HUGE deal for me, I always feel there is some price to pay. one thing I have been taught is, no one can teach me how to accept, no one can do it for me, no one can make me, this is an INSIDE job, but before I can accept, I have to find worth and value, and that is where it begins 🙂

      I get what you mean by not trusting others.. this year has been a HUGE lesson in that for me, literally!

Please take a moment to comment! I love connecting with others!

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