I’ve grown up fighting acceptance. For some reason unclear to me, acceptance was equal to defeat. And defeat was equal to failure. And failure was anathema. Complete unacceptable.
But I’ve grown to realise that acceptance actually is a good thing. Non-acceptance of things can drain you of energy and occupy some really pricey real estate of your mind and heart. It’s a depreciating liability, not an asset.
How and why did I come to the realisation that acceptance is good for the mind, body, soul?
I think it’s a combination of many factors: growing older and perhaps wiser, maybe more vulnerable, maybe short on energy, maybe willing to actually let in a new experience, perhaps seeing the futility of hanging on to something that was unproductive, yes, many many factors.
a) when I found myself unwilling to commit myself to a goal loftily stated, emphatically underlined, remembering that goal repeatedly over the weeks, months and years, without taking action to bring it to fruition, I knew I had to accept that this goal was not to be.
b) when I found that I spent far too much energy getting het up about some people’s habits which weren’t changing despite my loud, angry protestations, I knew I had to accept that it was me who had to change my approach.
c) when I found that I was happy to crib about everything that was wrong with the world without ever doing anything to change my attitude, habits, or contributing to change, I knew I had to accept that the world was going to continue as is.
d) when I found that despite how hard I tried, I couldn’t bring myself to like people due to my own hypocrisies, I knew I had to accept that it takes all sorts to make the world including people like myself.
e) when I found that Life continued to march to the beat of its own drum and was far too proud to succumb to my exhortations of maybe granting me a BIG favour or two, I knew I had to accept that Life was what you made of it.
So okay, I realised that acceptance did not kill you. It did not defeat you. It did not make you look small. Because you were accepting of certain things, did not mean you were cringe-worthy or were a ‘small, pathetic creature’. No, of course not.
On the contrary, acceptance of certain things can liberate you. It can make space in your mind, body and soul for new thoughts, attitudes and goals. With one fell swoop of acceptance, doors close and others open. You are no longer slave to your ego that denies the existence of acceptance as a good sister. You are free to chart a new course.
Not going to complete college and get that degree – just not you? Sure, accept it and move on. Who knows you could be the next Steve Jobs!
Not going to ever get the ‘ms popular’ title in college or be asked out on a date by the pretty cheerleader, accept it for what it is. Don’t cry buckets or feel vengeful or loathe yourself. Move on and make way for events and people that truly matter.
Not ever going to be a great parent, husband, wife, lover? That’s okay, accept it. Maybe you are a good friend or care giver. Not everything in life has to be like Gone With The Wind.
Not ever going to be able to complete the marathon? Big deal! Maybe you can do a 10k. But first accept it.
In my book, acceptance is honesty. Whoever said being honest was giving up? Honesty requires courage, a deep insight into yourself and willingness to do what it takes to blossom into a good human being. Flawed? Sure. But who wants to be perfect?
Yes, it’s time to accept that sometimes you’re not strong enough, or brave enough or smart enough or competitive enough or talented enough or healthy enough or understanding enough or compassionate enough or beautiful enough or wealthy enough or ambitious enough or knowledgeable enough. It’s okay really. Because in accepting you’re also giving up that which drains you but gains you a new inner calm and confidence. That you are enough.
What are those areas of your life that you find are holding you back because of your stubbornness of non-acceptance? Identify 3. Think about why it makes you angry to accept it. And just say, “ok”, that’s it. And sleep over it. Tell me what happens next.