To be truly mindful, it is not enough to just be aware of what we are experiencing. In fact, the second and equally necessary piece to mindfulness is acceptance. Becoming more aware of what you are feeling without the skill to accept it for what it is can create unnecessary distress. (2)
The two parts of mindfulness go together and are critical to experiencing its benefits.
It is normal to want to ignore or try to change difficult thoughts or feelings. No one wants to feel sad, fearful, or disappointed. However, these emotions and their accompanying thoughts and experiences are a normal part of being human, and the more we try to escape them, the more powerful they can become. (2)
In addition, practicing acceptance is simply acknowledging what is.
Instead of labeling what we experience as good or bad or impossible to deal with, mindfulness notices and accepts. However, this is not denial or passivity but rather a healthy response that allows for better emotional regulation and decision-making. (2)
Mindfulness asks us first to notice what we are experiencing, then to not fight it, but accept what is happening, opening the door for us to experience and then move past it fully.