I've written previously about the misconceptions related to what forgiveness is and is not. I have found there is parallel confusion regarding the concept of acceptance. I have witnessed numerous individuals suffer as a result of their lack of understand of what acceptance truly means.
Acceptance does not equate to tolerating whatever happens to you; it is not allowing yourself to be devalued and asserting, "I'm guess I just have to accept it." There are numerous things in life we should not accept, such as abuse, racism, and ignorance of various kinds. We should work hard to change these things for the better, always doing so from a place of love and compassion not further hate.
Acknowledging reality as it is
True acceptance is acknowledging the reality of something, no matter how much you don't want it to be that way. If your spouse is neglectful and self-focused or colleagues gossip and malign you regularly, you cannot change this fact. You can jump up and down or attempt to figure out why they do these things or what is going on in their head, but doing so will only perpetuate denial and keep you stuck.
I will often hear the statement, "Who does that," from clients in relation to a spouse or family member. I would often respond, "Your husband," "What do you mean who does that," "You've told me about a thousand incidents of him doing it." It used to drive me crazy when clients made this statement. Then one day, I came to realize this was a synonym for, "I refuse to accept it."
You cannot begin to change your reality until you are in it. Acceptance is about acknowledging your current reality and no longer fighting against wanting it not to be that way. You can then begin to make changes within yourself and in your external world that lead you to peace of mind.
John Hawkins Jr., M.S., L.M.H.C.
John has helped thousands of clients overcome the hidden internal blocks which had kept them from achieving their maximum potential. Furthermore, he has assisted them in gaining clarity of their true life purpose, identifying their gifts and talents, and developing lives of greater meaning and significance.