On Acceptance

“Acceptance is the most beautiful word in any language;

this beautiful concept can only exist

when you allow other people to be who they are

and do not imprison them with your definition

of what is right, proper, correct, or other limiting criteria.

Decreasing the black and white in your thinking

allows for an expansive area of grey,

allowing you to live your life and others to live their life.

Acceptance sets us all free!

This simple change of thought

creates a wonderful space

for happiness to thrive.”

David W. Earle

Can you accept yourself?  Can you accept your emotional reality?  Can you accept others?  Can you accept the fact that painful things happened to you at the hands of others?  Can you accept life on life’s terms?

Acceptance doesn’t meant we need to like something.  Acceptance does not mean that something doesn’t hurt. But acceptance means that at some level we don’t resist the reality and that we stop running from it.   It is only natural that we will erect defences against what hurts us.  Rather than feel, face and acknowledge the hurt we will attack, defend, reject, project, deny, resist or fight.  It’s part of being human. And yet there does come a time when we can stop these kinds of reactions.  A time when we can open our heart’s to the painful truth and surrender to the knowing that ‘yes’ this thing did happen, ‘yes’ this thing really hurt and then we may need to face the five difficult givens elucidated by David Richo in his book The Five Things We Cannot Change and the Happiness We Find By Embracing Them.

  1. Everything changes and ends.
  2. Things do not always go according to plan.
  3. Life is not always fair
  4. Pain is part of life
  5. People are not loving and loyal (or even kind and compassionate) all of the time.

Until we can accept these givens we cannot really grow as adults.  Until we can face these things we remain trapped by an excessive perfectionism.  Until we can surrender to these truths we cannot really overcome our childish expectations of life.  Facing pain is not easy but it can be done.  Thousands of people do it every day and they survive.  Being betrayed is not the end of life, for all the betrayals we go through there will be times we are not betrayed.  Although we like to make plans and try to factor in all contingencies often we will be thown a curve ball by fate.

The following prayer is well known.  It has sustained me at tough times and helped me in the difficult task of finding out and accepting what I can and cannot change which then can lead to acceptance with the right attitude.

God grant me the serenity

To accept the things I cannot change

Courage to change the things I can

And the serenity to know the difference.

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