There are many forms of acceptance. So many, in fact, that it can be hard to comprehend what real acceptance is and how to attain it. People talk about accepting yourself, accepting others, accepting change, accepting differences, and accepting life. That is a LOT of acceptance! So, what happens when we don’t accept these things? What happens when we do? What is the real force behind acceptance?
Sometimes I think there is too much emphasis on the need for acceptance. We do not always need to blindly accept things as they are because if we do, things may never change. Tell someone who really wants to play basketball that they are not tall enough to make it to the NBA and that may be just the challenge they need to become the next Michael Jordan. If the little girl who grew up picking cotton accepted it as her lot in life, she would never have become deputy manager of the Science and Technology Chief Engineers office at NASA like Judy Ballance did. If I had accepted my life as it was, I would never have gone back to school and become a life coach.
However, there is some benefit to certain forms of acceptance. Accepting people as they are brings harmony to society. Accepting that our partner is not as organized as we would like brings harmony to our personal life. Acceptance of rush hour traffic can bring peace in our daily life. Generally, rather than fighting or resisting things that happen to us, some acceptance can reduce the stress we feel. The key is recognizing when to accept, and when to challenge what is.
So, what is the real force behind acceptance? I may be wrong, but to me it seems as though in order to have acceptance, we must have trust. We trust ourselves. We trust our partner, and others in our life. We trust a higher power. Trust allows us to stop worrying so much, and accept that things are happening as they are supposed to.
When we don’t accept things as they are, we will either be disappointed or challenged – the choice is ours. While some people don’t accept it because of associations to religion or AA, the Serenity Prayer provides good advice that can help us determine when to accept, and when to change:
God, give me grace to accept with serenity
The things that cannot be changed,
Courage to change the things
Which should be changed,
And the Wisdom to distinguish the one from the other.
Living one day at a time,
Enjoying one moment at a time,
Accepting hardship as a pathway to peace….
What do you think? Of what things do you need to be more accepting? Where should you have courage to change things?