What Acceptance is Not
A lot of “stuckness” could “loosen” if the person feeling stuck could get to a place of acceptance. Acceptance is the first step to moving on. Unfortunately, there are a lot of people who resist acceptance because they don’t understand what it means. So let me tell you what acceptance is not.
Acceptance is Not Resignation
Some people think that if you accept something, you just throw up your hands, put up your feet and live with it. For just one moment, imagine that “now” is a slice of time that is constantly shifting. In each moment of now exists all the power you ever have. You can’t use any power in the moments that have already passes nor any that have not existed yet. Acceptance is about being fully present in this slice. It’s about agreeing that everything in this slice is as it is versus what we’d like it to be or what it could have been. This doesn’t mean that it always has to be this way. It doesn’t mean you can’t do anything different in the next moment.
Acceptance Isn’t Passive
Accepting that this moment is as it is isn’t passive. It’s active! It’s about being in life, not watching or waiting for it to go by. Maybe that means you allow your pain to overwhelm you while you cry your eyes out. Perhaps it means you tune the world out so you can live vicariously through your romance novel heroine for a while. The whole world is moving towards something right now. If you let it do what it’s doing without resisting what’s going on out there or inside, you’re in acceptance. Not passive at all.
Acceptance is Not About Condoning
There is a lot of bad stuff in the world: murder, lying, stealing, raping, manipulation, and the list goes on and on. Accepting it isn’t the same as condoning it. Condoning is giving approval to and/or allowing something to continue. Accepting is just acknowledging it. You can’t advocate for change without accepting that something needs to change.
Acceptance is Not About Not Caring
Some people feel that if they moved to a place of acceptance, it would mean that they’d have to stop having an opinion or stop caring about a situation. This could be because acceptance requires that you be nonjudgmental. You stop saying this is good, and this is bad. It’s adopting a framework of “Things are as they are.” This actually frees you to care more because judgment is one of the ways that we block love, validation, respect, and other good things from coming into our lives.
How often have you heard something like, “I will give you respect when you earn it?” When you do that, you withhold respect until someone does what you want them to do. That’s manipulation. It’s also demanding that someone conform to your standards before you will give them respect. This gives you a lot of power and robs them of their own. That’s not caring, that’s controlling.
If you let go of that and let people be who they are, life becomes a lot more free. You only have to set standards for yourself. Maybe you choose to live up to your own values. Perhaps it can help you to love people for who they are. You can be loving to all. So you see, it sets you up to be far more caring.
Acceptance Doesn’t Give Outside Forces Control
Some people feel that if they give in to acceptance, outside forces will dictate their lives. If economy is poor, they had a unstable childhood, and didn’t get a good education, for example, they are doomed to perpetually be in that situation. The only way to overcome it is to fight against it.
Actually acceptance neutralizes the past and present. It doesn’t trap you. How? When those things are just what they are, there is no fear, anger, or resentment holding you down. You’re free to act as you will. Each moment is new. This may seem like a small thing, but this is where confidence, courage, and follow through come from. If I am fearful that the economy will tank, I can let that hold me back. When I am fearful that someone won’t like me because it happened in the fifth grade, I may never give another person a chance. If I am present now, I am better able to judge what is happening now without the taint of the past.
Acceptance is a gift because it allows you to see all that is there. You see the things you don’t like as well as the possibilities without the taint of your past programming. This gives you unimaginable leeway to choose your thoughts, emotions, and responses to what has already happened. It gives you the freedom to enjoy this moment anyway and make the next one more to your liking. It’s almost like magic. Embrace it.