In order to change and grow, you must learn more than you know right now and be more than you are right now. Acceptance is the first step. Acceptance helps us see the blessing in the lessons and the lesson in the blessings.
Struggle, Acceptance, and Blessing
When I was 12 years old, I heard Bob Dylan on the radio for the first time. This was a stepping stone for me from childhood to adolescence. I discovered that not only was Bob Dylan a songwriter, he was also a poet. So I decided that I was going to be a poet too. I wrote poems during high school, some of which were included in the school’s literary magazine. And I wrote a lot of poetry in what I imagined was the “Dylan style”. I decided that I’d go to college and major in English as my springboard to becoming a writer.
But once I started school, I had a rude awakening. I found I wasn’t all that interested in a lot of the subjects I needed to study to get a degree in English. I ended up dropping out after about a year and a half and kinda just bummed around with my life. I still wrote poetry of a sort and twice I went back to school but it didn’t last. I struggled to accept the fact that maybe I wasn’t going to be a great poet like Bob Dylan.
Fast forward a few years. I was walking through the local mall and came upon a display for the local community college. The display included information about computer programming. Now, I knew nothing about computers (remember this was late 1970s) but by the time I left the mall, I had enrolled in the data processing program. I had finally accepted the fact that I wasn’t going to be a poet. And looking back, it was one of the best decisions I have made. There was a blessing in the lesson, as the saying goes.
We Think Acceptance Is Hard
At that time, I would not have been able to articulate the necessity of accepting that I needed to put aside the idea of being a poet in order to move ahead with my life. And truthfully that was not the only factor that was holding me back. But today, having studied this subject, it’s easy to see that this acceptance was crucial for me.
Why do we think it’s hard to practice acceptance? There are many reasons.
Often, we think acceptance means agreement or capitulation. We believe that by accepting a situation, we are somehow approving it or at the very least, condoning it. But that’s not true.
Sometimes, we see acceptance as being weak, as surrender. We think acceptance means giving up; that it’s the end of the story. But usually, it’s actually the beginning of a new story.
We view acceptance as giving in to a struggle against something we don’t want but remember this: what you struggle against grows stronger. And the struggle leaves you tired, depleted, and depressed.
But there is another way to think about the acceptance of hard things.
Acceptance and the Excelerated Life™
Excelerated Acceptance™ involves identifying the things you are struggling with and accepting them for what they are. It is not agreeing with or condoning them, and it is certainly not giving in or giving up. Excelerated Acceptance™ means taking life as it is, not what you wish it were or want it to be or think it should be.
Acceptance is not passive resignation to life but simply understanding that this is the current reality. It is realizing that to do anything other than accept is futile and likely painful. We can’t choose to have events or people be other than they are. But we can choose to accept them as they are and move on from there.
When You Resist
“What you resist, persists.” ~ Carl Jung
You don’t have to struggle. If you’re having difficulty accepting a particular situation, or with acceptance in general, reframe your thinking about acceptance. Instead of viewing the acceptance of a situation as a bad thing, see it as the beginning of something new.
And also consider the idea that no situation is inherently “good” or “bad”; it’s our own judgments that make them seem so. Accepting a situation brings peace and primes you for seeing ways to create a new beginning. Acceptance helps you get unstuck and allows you to move forward.
When you are struggling with a person or a situation, ask yourself: What do I need to accept in this (person or situation) that will allow me to move on?
We Have a Choice
“Acceptance of what has happened is the first step to overcoming the consequences of any misfortune.” ~ William James
We will always be faced with challenges; it’s a part of life. In fact, that’s how we learn and grow, which I believe is one of the main reasons we are here. We might want things to be different, but in the present moment, we need to accept things as they are because that’s the first step in attempting to change them.
Acceptance is a choice, admittedly a hard one, but a choice nonetheless. By accepting a situation, we’re not giving up on having a different reality come to pass. But accepting the current reality is often the first step in making a change and moving ahead.
So what can we do? Here are some suggestions.
(Please NOTE: I am neither a medical professional nor a licensed counselor. If you are struggling and simply cannot accept or move past a situation you are dealing with, I urge you to seek the assistance of a qualified professional.)
Take time to regroup. A major failure is likely going to leave you disheartened. You may find the situation hard to believe and difficult to accept. You are angry, hurt, or embarrassed. It’s OK to take a few minutes or a few hours or a few days to regroup and take care of yourself. No pity parties but a little self-care is called for.
Keep your thoughts positive. “Every adversity, every failure, every heartache,” said Napoleon Hill, “carries with it the seed of an equal or greater benefit.” Find the seed of good in the thing you are struggling with. See the lessons and the blessings.
Follow and use the natural law of cause and effect: There are specific causes for every effect in life. The situation you are struggling against is the result of some cause. You cannot always control the causes, but you can control your reaction to the effects.
Embrace hope. Hope has three components: 1) You believe that the future can be better than the present, 2) you have the power to make it so, and 3) you have multiple pathways to reach that better future. Hope is the idea that we can learn and grow and become better. This helps in our struggle to accept what is as we can see an outcome different from the present situation.
Remember the mantra, “No blame, no shame”. Feeling ashamed or trying to find something or someone to blame doesn’t help. Look at adverse experiences as chances to learn, so “shame” and “blame” are not relevant.
Lessons and Blessings
In order to change and grow, you must learn more than you know right now and be more than you are right now. Instead of fighting with the facts, put that energy into doing what you can do. It isn’t what happens to us that is important. It’s how we respond to what happens. Acceptance is the first step. Acceptance helps us see the blessing in the lessons and the lesson in the blessings. And that is embracing your Excelerated Life™!
When have you struggled with a situation?
How did you come to accept it?
Share your thoughts by leaving a comment below.
Excelerated Acceptance™ – identifying and accepting the things you are struggling with — is one step in creating your Excelerated Life™, a life of flourishing and well-being, and a life of meaning, purpose, and service.