A3 for Inner Peace
Lynn Borenius Brown, EdD, LPC
For quite a while, I’ve been talking to my clients about the three A’s. Since I spend my working life talking with individuals who are going through various situations and dealing with a wide variety of personal issues, it is vital, I believe, to be able to provide them with a foundation upon which to attend to their lives. First and foremost, I want everyone with whom I work to remember they are empowered. Seems forgetting this is common because when something happens that is out of their control, they jump to the conclusion that they have no ability to affect the situation or their place in it. And, when dealing with others it can feel complicated very quickly due to the role they play (this is another topic I will get into at a later date). Second, I want my clients to have inner peace. As a result, I often find myself sharing with them the three A’s with wonderful results. So, today I will give you a brief overview of them and how they can be used in your life.
Acknowledge – what is meant by this is to take a look at, observe without bias, the situation or the person that cannot be changed. Be objective about what you deem as good as well as bad regarding the situation or person (but remember that both good and bad are subjective). Objectively analyze what is happening/who they are. Be sure to keep your expectations and biases out of it. This will not be easy but it is imperative. The show, Dragnet, which ran from 1951-59 (I’m showing my age now) had an ongoing line. “Just the facts ma’am.” This is what you are striving for – just the facts.
Accept – here is where it gets tricky. Once you have acknowledged the facts of the situation that you cannot change, the time has come to accept this information. Unfortunately, most of the time we rail against the facts, citing unfairness of some sort. And, we get stuck in anger, frustration, and a sense of hopelessness. However, as soon as we slow down and remember the facts and acknowledge their presence, we are able to stop wasting energy fighting a losing battle. Once we do this, acceptance is available. It is important to remember that giving up or resignation is not the same as acceptance. Giving up and resignation assume a lack of empowerment. But, you are empowered. Acceptance means acknowledging the situation and using your empowerment to look at it differently.
Act – once you have acknowledged the reality of a situation and accepted it, you are now free to choose how you will act. You decide what is best for you based on the facts regarding what is happening. You will choose the boundaries, actions, and even inactions (that are, by default, also actions) you will take moving forward.
While I could give you countless client examples, privacy is important. So, I will give you a light-hearted example from my own life. My health issues include proprioception problems. This means I often don’t know where my body is in space. And, as you can imagine, this means I drop, spill, and knock over stuff in my life – actually quite often. Therefore, it is not a shock when I knock my coffee mug over on the desk and the contents spill on my papers. Instead of getting upset at the mug, or more importantly at myself, I just clean it up without any response or opinion. Afterall, if I were to lash out, probably using profanity and negative self-talk, eventually I would have to choose to either clean it up or not. And since I’m going to clean it up, I might as well acknowledge that the coffee is all over my desk, accept it, and start cleaning it up. This way I haven’t used some of the little energy I have ranting. While this seems like an insignificant situation, it is no different than any other. The process is the same whether it is spilled coffee, a friend or family member who is always disappointing, a difficult work situation, or a health diagnosis. If it can’t be altered, it needs to be acknowledged, accepted, and acted upon in a way that uses our empowerment and allows for inner peace.
Copyright 2021 Lynn Borenius Brown
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