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Self-Acceptance: A Mindful Gift

By: Kerstin McMillian M.A., LCMHCA

Images of butterflies in a field of purple flowers

Self-Acceptance: A Mindful Gift

How often, gentle reader, have you told yourself, “I just have to accept this loss, let go, so that I can move on,” only to find that the more you will yourself to let go and move on, the more you can’t stop thinking about what you have lost?

Acceptance became a place to be in the Five Stages of Grief by Dr. Kübler-Ross. It makes for a very convenient endpoint of a grief journey, like the last piece of a puzzle fitting neatly into the picture. Everything makes sense, and the work is finished.

However, what if we have this backwards? What if acceptance is both the beginning and the end of a grief journey? Better yet, what if acceptance is an action that you, dear griever, can apply to your daily life. Allow me to explain more clearly this concept of acceptance.

The type of acceptance that I am referencing is deeper and more personal than knowing something tragic happened. I am speaking of the kind of acceptance which brings about feelings of peace, understanding, self-compassion, and forgiveness. The type of acceptance that allows for your feelings to be here and to exist without shame or judgement. Allowing yourself to feel your grief, perhaps saying quietly in your mind, this belongs.

This grief belongs because I lost someone I love. They mattered, and my grief matters.

Turn towards your grief and welcome it into your daily life. It belongs here with you because you lost someone very near and dear to your heart. Consider your grief as a season in your life with plenty to teach you. With an open heart and mind, you may learn that you are stronger than you ever imagined. You can experience and witness this great heartache. Through this process, you will learn more about your loved one and more about yourself and your own needs for healing. Your tears and fatigue do not mean you are weak or dishonoring your loved one. These are the courageous marks of a person who loved and lost; a person who is continuing to cherish their loved one while building a new and different life.

Why is it important to accept and allow yourself to grieve? We have a saying in therapy, what you resist, persists. Resisting the urge to cry, shout, sleep, and grieve will only result in even stronger feelings and urges. Give yourself the gift of accepting yourself exactly as you are by saying, “this belongs.” This is one consistent gift you can give yourself no matter where you are in your grieving journey: mindful acceptance of yourself without judgement or shame. Wherever you are in your grief journey is exactly where you are supposed to be.

If you feel the need for additional support, please reach out to one of our trusted counselors.


For more information, call us anytime at 833.839.1113 or send us a message at You are not alone. We listen. We support. We care.

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