Acceptance & Commitment Therapy – A values led life. I was introduced to this many years ago and now really getting to grips with the power of it and how it works, why and seeing the power of it not only in my own life but also in my counselling practice.
This started as my normal good morning facebook post:
Oh boy what a journey at the moment. Experiencing sadness, sadness, grief, confusion, not understanding, hurt. These are all regular normal experiences that we can expect to have in our life time and sometimes they will never be ‘resolved’ as there is no resolution to ‘fix it’, it is what it is.
Last night I was using the ACTCompanion App – Acceptance & Commitment Therapy from Russ Harris The Happiness Trap because I was struggling with my thoughts, going around and around and stirring up feelings that honestly I have been there done that and so at this point absolutely serving no purpose, it is what it is.
I tried knitting, doing a 1000 piece jigsaw (what was I thinking), playing on face book,
watching movies, eating yummy dark chocolate, still feeling what I was feeling and it was escalating as I tried not to feel, which in turn was taking me down a dark road or had the potential to.
I wrote in my journal the truth of how I was feeling, what was in my head, what was in my body, therefore being with all of it. I then did the actometer – ACT in action and was so surprised at the result and yet it made absolutely sense.
From the app “It’s time to put what you’ve learned into practice. Be present, open up, and do what matters, when faced with a challenging situation. Use the ACTometer to record what happens and obtain your flexibility score.”
This is very much values led and about mindfulness being in the moment. I applied the ACT principles allowing thoughts to pass, naming them and the story, sitting with the feelings, making room for them. I then completed the process with the actometer.
In this case the higher score is an indicator that I am attuned to my experiences and values (my version of understanding this at this time). It was an 8.5, I was surprised and then reminded how I was feeling is a truth. The situation is a truth no matter how much I wish it was not the case. I cannot do anything about it only if I don’t live by some of my values, then other values will be trampled on and that is not how I can be in the life that has taken years to create, this living of a rich and meaningful life and it is.
I was feeling it all and being with it and then able to come back to the present, over and over again because of my values. It is what it is and there is such conflict of my own values of what I desire and how I want to be treated. I guess what I am saying is that even though we are guided by values it is not an easy journey, especially when there is concern about what others may think. Some will respond to what they are hearing without knowing a full truth and it is what it is.
These are the times that ACT reminds me to accept what cannot be changed, change what can and have the knowledge to know the difference. Using mindfulness allows thoughts to pass, it has been really hard at this time and I have lost count yesterday of how many times I did this, but I did, I really did not want to be with the uncomfortable feelings, hence the distraction tactics above but needed to be with real feelings and then continually come back to what I was doing, back to my values.
One of my values is to continue hold a tender heart, love, compassion by accepting that it is what it is but it does not mean I can be treated without dignity and respect. I deserve the minimum of that as does everyone else. This is not to say that I have not been angry, frustrated, blamed myself and another, had support, journalled, felt betrayed, wondered what the hell was going on etc. Of course, it comes from a wounded place that now has been healing, slowly but healing it is and this belongs to me. It has been a few weeks.
Today I do hold an open heart, not a hard one, a sad one and an alive, compassionate heart who will continue to live her values even if they continue to be in conflict and I hold such gratitude for the healing, the letting of, the being and the wish for others to have an amazing life also but cannot be attached to any outcome, especially not even my own. I can only live now.
This all became so clear with the actometer, it is what it is. No good living in past, we are in the here and now, the future will be whatever it will be, it is what it is and in this is true liberation and not a reliance on others to make life work for you. It is not our role to assume we can make others lives better by denying who we are either and the same goes for others. What I appreciate about this is that if we were to look at the other perspective I am guessing they probably would be going through the same kind of thing. It is what it is. This continues to be a mantra.
I work with people who are in this situation so many times, trying to come to terms with injustices, unfairness and how do they heal from that and take back their life, their agency and worth to live a life based on who they are not at the whim of another or a system. Not easy but possible.
We are have our own journey’s and responsibility of that. Please know that right now I speak from a privileged place and honor that everyone’s journey is different and injustices, unfairness can feel insurmountable and traumatising and need such tenderness and compassion. The level I speak of today is not at that level and I am humbled.
Wow, this would have been some facebook post. I feel extremely lucky to be supported by my husband who is pretty grounded in who he is, he holds such integrity, authenticity and lives by his values, which is not always easy. He has been a great teacher. I feel blessed for the relationships in my life that work, thank you and for those that do not in a way they have been gifts, teachers albeit painful and sore.
I am good with my learning and would prefer not to go through this process again. Another process will occur because that is life. The soreness can only be because of younger (childhood) wounds that do not belong in adult relationships and neither do they need to drive behaviours to be cared for. I can be there for her.
Phew from a much enlightened Liz