Essential Walk #16: Awareness & Acceptance

Thoughts on Excellence Free E-Newsletter Series
Volume 22, Issue No. 11b
July 15, 2024

By Dan Coughlin


Practice Mindfulness Daily

In MWD (Merriam-Webster Dictionary):

  • Awareness is defined as knowledge and understanding that something is happening or exists.
  • Acceptance is defined as the quality or state of recognizing as true.

Ok that helps quite a bit.

For many years I have taught in my seminars an approach to behavior change that I call: AADDA. It stands for:

A – Aware of something that you are doing.

A – Accept that this is you you’re talking about and not just about people in general.

D – Discern whether or not you want to continue and why you want to change or not change.

D – Decide what you are actually going to do going forward.

A – Act. Do what you’ve decided to do.

For this series of articles I want you to dig one layer deeper. I want you to apply awareness and acceptance to your essence. Before your essence becomes a behavior, I want you to truly slow down and go on an Essential Walk where you consider your thoughts, emotions, and will, and increase your awareness of what is really going on inside of you.

Don’t judge whether you want to keep that part of your essence or let it go. Just be really aware of what is happening inside of you. Be objective. Have an out-of-body experience and really just objectively look at your thoughts, emotions, and will. Be aware if you are thinking of revenge or thinking of gratitude, emotionally angry or happy, or intending to learn something or intending to permanently steer clear of that topic.

It really takes an effort to slow yourself down enough from your personal and professional responsibilities to be aware of what is happening within yourself. However, if you don’t increase your inner awareness, months and years can go by without really realizing what you are thinking, feeling, and moving toward.

And even after that it takes even more conscious effort to really accept that you are talking about yourself and not just talking about society in general.

Take anger for example.

A person might be truly angry 40% of the time and not realize it. It has become so engrained within them from their role models and from their own experience that they don’t hear the tone, volume, or intensity in their voice. And even if they slow down enough to hear feedback from other people, they might still not accept that this is really about them. The person could think, “Well, everybody is angry all the time so this isn’t something for me to be concerned about. People need to be angry in order to be effective.”

However, if a person is not aware of some part of their essence or is aware but not willing to accept that this is actually their essence and not someone else’s, then that person is likely to maintain an unhealthy aspect of their essence for their entire life.

Awareness and acceptance are super important if you truly want a healthier essence and the words, actions, and relationships that a healthier essence will manifest in your life.

Essential Walk Steps for You to Consider

Try this today: 

  1. Slow way, way, way down. Take out a sheet of paper. Think about what you thought and felt yesterday and write it down. Go through the whole day and just let your awareness deepen and broaden about the previous day. Think about what direction your thoughts and emotions were heading in and write it down. Don’t debate it. Just write it down. Allow yourself to be aware of your essence.
  2. At the bottom of the page, write down, “I accept that these were my thoughts, emotions, and will yesterday. I own this.”

Notice that on this Essential Walk, I’m not guiding you to make any decisions about what to keep or what to get rid of in your essence. This time all I’m asking you to do is to truly slow down and be aware of what is happening in your thoughts, emotions, and will, and to really accept that this is you that you are thinking about and not someone else.

If you can do just those two things, then I believe you have done a great deal.

You can concern yourself with staying the same or changing your essence on another Essential Walk.

Republishing Articles

My newsletters, Thoughts on Excellence, have been republished in approximately 40 trade magazines, on-line publications, and internal publications for businesses, universities, and not-for-profit organizations over the past 20+ years. If you would like to republish all or part of my monthly articles, please send me an e-mail at with the name of the article you want in the subject heading. I will send you the article in a word document.

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