“When someone shows you who they are, believe them the first time.” – Maya Angelou
If we insert “something” or “a situation” in place of “someone” and “it is” for “they are” in the above quote, we have a good one-line summary of what it means to embrace acceptance in all areas of life.
You are probably thinking, “easier said than done,” right?
For many, the first response to an unwanted event may be to try to control the situation or a person, rather than accept it for what it is. This is understandable, as humans prefer certainty, and wanting it may be hardwired for survival.
For example, if you are running through a dark forest and there’s a growl, you’re probably going to want to decipher if a tiger is nearby or if your stomach is wanting lunch. That knowledge, or certainty, will have a lot of impact on your next move, plans, and emotional state.
So, what happens when things are in a constant state of unknown, coupled with lack of control? What if you are running through that dark forest and never can truly tell if there is a tiger nearby or you remain too darn scared to remember when your last meal was?
We just had a real life world-wide view of what occurs with this imaginary scenario over the past year. In summary it leads to:
- An increase in stress, high alert, and hypervigilance. (source, source, source, source)
- A negative impact on health and emotional balance, in the long-term. (source)
What’s the solution? How can we satisfy our need for safety, stay sane and well, and still be accepting of people and life’s twists and turns?
Accepting What You Can and Can’t Control
According to one theory, if people feel lack of power or lack of choice, they are more likely to try to control. This can create negative outcomes, as people aren’t particularly fond of being told how to behave, it can even be viewed as threatening, and sometimes life events are unexpected and just can’t be planned for. (2020 made that latter point quite poignant.)
This means we need to be aware of our tendencies and first acknowledge that it’s okay to want to control the situation or person. As stated above, it may be hardwired.
Yet, this doesn’t mean we need to react to this drive to try to establish ourselves as master of our own universe. We can; however, choose to go about dealing with the situation in a more growth-oriented mindset versus a manipulative and/or self-defeating one. This would mean focusing on what we can control, our own responses, behavior, and choices. It also means taking accountability for our own decisions and not taking other peoples’ “humanizing” (aka “unwanted behavior”) so personally.
An article in Psychology Today explains this concept further:
When we agree not to take anything personally, we regard all attempts by others to control us as statements about them, not about us. By refusing to take threats, criticism, evasion, complaints, praise, or disapproval personally, we act upon our own reality, not upon theirs.
I would add that a truly free person does not attempt to control others, either. Trying to control others, even people who, in our eyes, are misbehaving, is like trying to make water run uphill. Unless you can convince a person that listening to you is in his or her own best self-interest, you are wasting valuable time, which is antithetical to freedom.
In other words, you have the freedom to control how you will react to something. You get to decide your own values and how you wish to engage.
Obtaining this form of control of one’s own mind takes resilience, but not just physically. Beyond taking care of our bodies, we can use a combination of positive intentions, compassion, grit, and acceptance to cope and thrive in uncertain times.
To me, acceptance is the ultimate first step in any mindset strategy for moving forward because it is embracing what is, without filters. Within that awareness, one is better able to make a rational and empowering decision of where to go next.
That’s why I dedicated a whole blog to acceptance (click here) and also explained why using essential oils to modulate emotional tone into a more grounded, accepting attitude, can be a very useful hack for achieving this mood state.
Sniffing Out the Power of Acceptance – Connecting the Mind-Body with Essential Oils
When my naturopathic and functional medicine clients tell me that they are struggling, feeling emotionally or physically stuck, powerless, or fearful, I often explain to them the concept of acceptance and how it may help them to unlock their own self-efficacy and ignite momentum.
Next, I regularly suggest an essential oil blend to support this first step in their process of transformation. This blend can be used in conjunction with therapy or any other means that is helpful to the individual. As my clients are shifting emotionally, the essential oils also aid to support the physical body and their nervous system tone.
With the intent of being very transparent, although I can tell you the mechanisms of actions of essential oils and their effects, combining essential oils into blends that work therapeutically and synergistically as an art and science is not my specialty.
Below is a list of essential oils that I look for in various pre-made blends to support this emotional shift.
- Grounding and sacred oils to emotionally support the brain and spiritual well-being. My favorites are sandalwood and and frankincense.
- Uplifting citrus oils, especially the soothing aroma of bergamot.
- The heart-brain harmonizing oil of ylang ylang.
- Geranium oil for balancing hormones and stress, as hormonal imbalances can oftentimes impact brain and emotional health.
- Ocotea quixos for its warming and relaxing characteristics. It is known as “American cinnamon,” and has many helpful properties based on its diversity of chemical compounds. It contains cinnamaldehyde, which has some evidence for supporting blood sugar. Balancing glucose levels can be very helpful during overwhelming times, as blood sugar is impacted by stressful triggers and can cause downstream blood flow issues without intervention.
- Jasmine to support functional brain patterns, decrease grogginess, and enhance mood. A small trial published in Journal of Health Research with 20 subject found that inhalation of jasmine caused an increase in beta wave power (indicating increased alertness) in the anterior and left posterior region of the brain. Subjects also reported a greater feeling of well-being and were less drowsy when inhaling jasmine as compared to the resting and control condition (almond oil).
- Dilute several drops in an ounce of carrier oil and apply on the wrists and over heart. Inhale.
- Diffuse this blend daily and during meditation or relaxation periods.
Conclusion on Acceptance
Acceptance is the beginning of change.
You can’t move ahead if you turn away in fear of the reality of the situation.
Essential oils in their synergy can support shifts to get one unstuck as they balance the brain and physical effects of stress and other physiological imbalances.
Now, more than ever, we really need to find ways to cope with all that we are up against and learn to be very gentle with ourselves and others, as well as support each other. We are stronger together, not divided.
If we could all accept ourselves more and decide our own actions and inner and outer dialogues with more intention, we create an infectious spread of caring and community-minded people.
That is definitely something to move toward, don’t you think?
Note: Initially, I was going to also provide a list of additional blends for emotional change, but I have decided to do a series on emotional blends and want to dive in a bit more rather than simply listing them.
So, stay tuned for some additional posts on emotional blends and oils to assist with guiding us through our re-emergence into a safer, more accepting, happier world.
Mental Health Resources
If you are in need of additional support and professional health, please reach out!
- The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (U.S.) — Call 1-800-273-TALK (8255)
- Crisis Text Line — Text HOME to 741741 to connect with a crisis counselor
- Lifeline Crisis Chat — Chat online with a specialist who can provide emotional support, crisis intervention and suicide prevention services at www.crisischat.org
Other Uplifting Resources
The Tapping Solution, A Technique to Lower Cortisol and Reduce Stress- Podcast interview by Dr. Kara Fitzgerald with Nick Ortner.
Stress management tips and resources
Disclaimer: This material is for information purposes only and is not intended to diagnose, treat, or prescribe for any illness. You should check with your doctor regarding implementing any new strategies into your wellness regime. These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA. (Affiliation link.)
According to experts and the World Health Organization (WHO), there is no approved standard of care treatment, cure, or preventative for COVID-19. Supportive measures and containment are in full force as a result. Please see the CDC website and your state’s website for more information and updates. They also state when to contact your physician related to symptoms and travel history, exposures. Please read my more detailed article on this subject here.
This information is applicable ONLY for therapeutic quality essential oils. This information DOES NOT apply to essential oils that have not been tested for purity and standardized constituents. There is no quality control in the United States, and oils labeled as “100% pure” need only to contain 5% of the actual oil. The rest of the bottle can be filled with fillers and sometimes toxic ingredients that can irritate the skin. The studies are not based solely on a specific brand of an essential oil, unless stated. Please read the full study for more information.
Thanks Pixabay and Canva.