Kevin Tappern

A Journey of Acceptance!

19th April 2022


So, I’m sat here with my business brain on (not a big one yet), brainstorming ideas for media content and posts. Reviewing my topical ideas, I come across ‘acceptance’ in the list, and I immediately get flashbacks to the early days. I always seem to refer back to my days of sickness and surgery. Honestly, it’s because this is the time where my evolution began. Where I had to be broken down, be vulnerable, be raw, and truly take it as a moment of rebuilding, rebranding (to use a business term). This is where a lot of my stories begin and mindset tools originate.

One of the main reasons I got into coaching, speaking and general self-help mindfulness work, was to help others discover and understand their own journeys of acceptance. Including all the turnarounds and the breakthrough moments that happen throughout the journey.

Please allow me to share with you my most personal and significant journey of acceptance.

It starts with acceptance

From a young age I’d always struggled with physical health-based anxiety. Any time I would do any kind of sport, or attend any event that made me uncomfortably nervous it would always set off a spiral of nerves. What if this happens? What if I can’t make it to the end of the session? Etc. The result would be IBS based stomach crumping and toilet trips, finishing with a lack of mental and physical energy. I’m amazed I got anything done or went anywhere!

This all finally blew up days after my surgery. I had already been in hospital for more than a week. Still struggling to process what the hell had just happened. Going through numerous episodes of extreme anxiety, wondering why this happened, where do I go from here? Also, not helped by the fact I was still in a lot of pain with no answers for its cause (at the time). Though I do remember being in buckets of tears every day. I think it got to a couple days before being allowed home that I’d just simply had enough. My family visited and of course the tears start again. The nurse would come over to do her regular checks and I just exploded.

Now, I can’t remember it word for word, but it was very much along the lines of “I’m so sick of feeling this depressed all the time. I’ve had enough of these constant anxieties setting me off. I really need help if I’m ever going to control it!”

This was the first step in my acceptance journey. My current mindset was way off and if I ever wanted to get to a place of control, I had to accept that there was a problem that needed fixing, and I needed help to do so.

I realise this is a daunting situation and not everyone finds it easy to admit when they need help, but in order to start moving on and becoming the controller of your thoughts and anxieties, you need to acknowledge and accept that your current mindset and actions aren’t working. There’s absolutely no shame in admitting you need help. It’s an evolutionary step to becoming the best version of you, and to do that you need to get rid of those unhelpful parts of the ego holding you back.

Turning a corner towards something special

I remember hearing the same usual questions again a few weeks back. Who The next step for me in the journey was indeed getting that help. So, I sought out all the various types of support available:

  • CBT
  • Talking therapies
  • Counselling
  • Meditation apps

Looking back at my past self, recovering from surgery. Barely able to walk but I tried every day to go further. Barely able to keep myself together mentally but Unfortunately for me, none of these really helped me understand or come to terms with my new condition. However, I didn’t see it as a failure. Each time I made the decision to seek new support systems I was turning a corner. I was actively putting in the effort for wanting to get over everything, so I knew I was still passionate and motivated. Each time one of those support systems didn’t work, sure it was perhaps failed attempt, but in that was a message that I just hadn’t found the right method for me. I still needed to keep that momentum going.

It ends with acceptance

It was a little over a year after the operation that I found full acceptance of my original journey. There were various achievements between those months, such as getting my blackbelt: and while that gave me a sense of taking back control of what was almost taken away, I hadn’t truly accepted my condition and my body.

I found journaling perfect for this. Sitting down with pen and paper and It was speaking to a dear friend of mine now, but fairly new at the time. I remember saying something like “I wish you could have known me before I got sick.” I think I was still trying to hold on to parts of the past, knowing I wanted to get back to ‘normal’, assuming that’s where I thought I wanted to be. It was the response that changed everything.

“I don’t want to know that version, I want to know this version of you.” This was the lightbulb moment I’d been looking for that whole time. A simple shift in mindset that any normal I was searching for was never coming back, and you know what? That’s OK. It was time to decide, who do I want to become now? What does the new version of me look like? An endless list of questions, but positive open-ended questions, where I can just get creative and get the hell out of my own way. I was empowered.

I had accepted that this all had to happen. As cruel as it was, this happened for me, not to me (as the saying goes), so I could start living to the potential I knew deep down I was capable. I’d accepted my condition and my new body, which was most important to me. For the first time in a very long time, I was out of my own head.

Every journey is unique

My story and acceptance of loss is unique to me. Everyone has their own journey. This is what makes the world a beautiful place. Just because you’ve found acceptance doesn’t mean you have to forget the origins. I’d like to think now, it can provide memories and moments of gratitude so you can look back and know you’re not there anymore. To look back at how far you’ve come as a person from that first day of accepting you needed a little helping hand. It’s something you needed to do for yourself, and that’s as important as anything.

It’s a journey that takes as long as it needs. You can’t begin to understand where you’re going, turn any corners and work out why things have happened without accepting something needs to change first. Each time these journeys happen, you’ll always get the answers you seek, that will have you come out the other side a stronger and more resilient person.

My nugget

All I can say is when you have moments of reflection of how you got to where If there’s something you’re really struggling with. A place where you’re feeling stuck and you’re tired of being there, ask yourself these questions:

  • What is it giving me to stay in this space?
  • Where do I want to be?
  • What do I need to start doing that will help me get there?
  • How will I know when I’m there?

These are key areas that will help you on your way. The first two questions help raise awareness to your area of concern, and help you accept what’s going on is real and you don’t want to stay there anymore. It’s then highly beneficial to have the vision in mind of what the end picture looks like. A place where you can then find a sense of closure and acceptance of the past and what has happened. Allow yourself to be fully vulnerable when answering these questions. Only then will your true-self come out, and you’ll find the real answers you seek. As I mentioned, there’s always a reason. You just need to find it, and in time, it will present itself.

I’d love to hear from you!