I struggled with this word for many years. I hated this word for many years. I just didn’t understand it.
Whenever I encountered a situation that was out of my circle of control and I was told to accept it, it would fill me with rage.
I would rebel. I would fight. I would try and do whatever I could to change it because I just didn’t want to accept it.
Change was never my best friend. The need for control always kept me on the edge.
Until I learnt that change is the only constant and it’s inescapable and that the need for control is pushing me to the ground.
Until I learnt to accept things the way they were.
Until I understood that life exists between acceptance and change and the day I did, I felt free. Free to make choices that I could make and find my ways to make them work.
Free to focus on creating the life that I wanted. One that was more aligned with my values, purpose, and goals.
When I gave up the struggle to change what wasn’t in my control, I felt liberated. I could finally breathe.
We must accept what we can’t change and change what we can because when we don’t—when we are in a state of nonacceptance—we are choosing to self-destruct.
We don’t get what we want. Life is not always fair.
Happiness isn’t served to us on a platter.
Sometimes, we are forced to make choices that we don’t want to, yet have to because that’s the best we can do.
But, when we try to run away from what our senses can perceive, when we constantly try to push it away and fight to change what we can’t, we are only causing more pain and agony to our own selves.
It’s like trying to break down a wall with bare hands or banging our heads against the wall.
The wall stays. Our head hurts. We bleed. We cry in pain.
That pain spreads through our veins like poison and before we know it, we are disconnected, disoriented from who we are.
We are lost, confused, tired, broken, and fragmented.
We invite this upon ourselves, every time we are asking ourselves “Why me?” or trying to change someone else.
When we try to force outcomes in our lives, the following things happen:
1. We end up feeling frustrated, helpless, and angry. We constantly stay in victim mode and dwell in our misery.
2. We are unable to look at the possible outcomes that are within our locus of control because expecting external events, situations, or people to change is far easier than doing inner work of adapting, adjusting, refocusing.
3. We continue to blame outside forces for our pain. Thus, refusing to help ourselves.
4. We stay stuck in these unhelpful states and our circle of pain and agony just keeps getting bigger and bigger.
Nonacceptance of self, people, situations, and events is self-destruction.
“Acceptance is not submission; it is the acknowledgment of the facts of a situation. Then deciding what you’re going to do about it.” ~ Kathleen Casey Theisen
It’s moving away from a life of conscious choices and toward victimization of self and a deep feeling of helplessness.
“Nonacceptance is suffering, no matter what you are accepting. Acceptance is freedom, no matter what you are accepting.” ~ Cheri Huber
Acceptance is not agreement. It is not submission or resignation. It is not showing interest.
It means it is what it is.
Blue is blue and not white.
White is white and not pink.
It is what it is.
We may want to see ourselves or others in a different light. In reality, we must accept ourselves for who we are. We must accept people for who they are.
The way we exist. The way we are.
It’s only then that we’ll be able to find a reasonable ground to change what can be changed and accept what can’t be. Until then, it will only be chaos—within and outside.
Until and unless we accept situations for what they are, we will be embroiled in a meaningless fight against them, and against time.
Thus, making ourselves more miserable.
A life of nonacceptance is a life of meaningless struggle and misery that leads to nothing. A life of acceptance is a life of struggle that creates meaning out of nothing.
To accept is to choose to look at what you can change, create, and shift.
It may not give us happiness or joy in that moment.
Yet, it will enable us to create a meaningful life.
(Ask yourself, what are you not willing to accept in your life?)
“Acceptance doesn’t mean that life gets better. It just means that my way of living on life’s terms improves.” ~ Sharon E.Rainey
More on acceptance from Damini: Why we Struggle with “Acceptance” (& the Reason we need to Stop Clinging to Hope).