Chaos to Calm blog Jenna Hermans Calm Is acceptance

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Calm Is: Acceptance of Reality

Accepting how things are and not as we expected or wished them to be, even if it means facing negative emotions, will deepen your calm.

Recently, I wrote an email to my “Own Your Calm” newsletter subscribers about how accepting reality can aid calm. I had no idea that a few days later, I’d be slapped in the face with my own words.

You see, I had the rare opportunity to go on a retreat, all by myself. For 36 hours, I’d be away from my husband and four children and get to spend time with just me. Sounds like every busy mom’s dream, right?!

It didn’t go as planned.

The letdown

As I settled into the retreat, I was surprised to find myself beginning to feel incredibly let down by the experience I was having. At first, I tried to force myself to appreciate the moment and just enjoy it. But strangely, that was not emotionally or intellectually available to me at that moment.

Why am I feeling so down?  I wondered. I needed to find out.

Accepting and allowing 

To figure out why I wasn’t giggling in bliss, I decided that I needed to sit with my negative emotions for a while. As a busy mom, I don’t often permit myself or have the space to go deep with negative emotions. I navigate through icky feelings pretty quickly because the kids have to go to school, dinner has to be made, the presentation deck needs to be created, and I need to be level-headed for all my other responsibilities. I know you understand.

“Okay, emotions, let’s go,”  I said to myself.

I allowed myself to feel deeply and let what would happen, happen.

Emotional release

I surrendered to my feelings without judgment, and I cried. And cried. And cried some more. Soon, disappointment led to me feeling angry. Like, really, really angry. Anger led to sadness, which spiraled into resentment, and ultimately I landed in one of the darkest states I’d ever known. I sat in the rain and surrendered to it ALL. Decades worth of anger, grief, resentment, and sadness came pouring out. 

That’s definitely not what I signed up for! (But exactly what I needed!)

Accepting reality

After releasing the weight of my deeply rooted emotions, I felt so much lighter. Slowly but surely, the darkness went away.

Although not what I had expected or anticipated, the retreat gave me such a gift. The gift of time and space to process and release what I hadn’t even realized was weighing me down. 

At the end of the retreat, participants came together to share their experiences. When it was my turn, I shared the blog I’d written just before the retreat about acceptance, and that this experience forced me to practice my lesson and take my own medicine. I recalled my words: “Calm is found in the acceptance of how things are and not as we expect or wish them to be.” Acceptance and allowance were the medicine I needed to lift the heaviness I didn’t even know I had inside.  

Lessons in acceptance:

1) Expectations, when they don’t match reality (and they rarely do), are calm-killers.

2) If you find yourself disappointed or angry at how a situation is going, honor that. Give those emotions space to breathe; without judgment or rationale, feel them, and as soon as you can, let them out. This can look like gut-wrenching cries, howling, dancing, or other outlet. And then, go on with your day.

3) To feel and experience more of your light, you have to experience and process your dark. 

Calm Is: Accepting how things are and not as we expect or wish them to be.


To read more on staying calm in a stressful world, pick up my book, Chaos to Calm: 5 Ways Busy Parents Can Break Free From Overwhelm, and sign up for my Own Your Calm newsletter

Reach out, I’m here for you.

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