The meaning of acceptance can be confusing and many people think it means putting up with or condoning bad behavior. However, I once heard it explained as, accepting the facts of a situation and then deciding what you will do about it.
For example, if we are trying to be friends with someone who just does not want to be friends with us, we can start looking for other connections and accept that for whatever reason, it is not going to work with that individual. If we are relentlessly calling someone and trying to force a connection and the outcome is constant rejection, then we have to ask ourselves, “What is it about me that continues to ingratiate myself with someone who doesn’t want to engage?”
Rejection never feels good but it doesn’t have to mean the end of our self-esteem or self-acceptance. We can’t know what is going on inside someone else unless they choose to tell us, or we ask them but often it is not about us. Many of us could agree that there have been many instances when we haven’t always gotten the jobs or relationships we so desperately wanted at a given time, but ultimately ended up finding better jobs and relationships down the road.
Had we been able to believe, in those moments, that we would get something better, then we could have accepted what was happening much more easily. Also, it would have greatly reduced the pain and suffering that ensues when we don’t get what we want.
If we are only contented when we are getting what we want, we’re going to be discontented much of the time. So, we have to learn to accept and enjoy what we have now, if we aren’t able to change it in the moment.
Otherwise, our happiness becomes dependent on getting people or circumstances to go our way and often such things are out of our control. Therefore, we can choose to struggle less by not making the mistake of waiting to enjoy ourselves until all the situations we are facing, change to the way you want them to.
We could be waiting a long time because they may not change to the way we want them to. So, by not expecting that we should get everything we want, we can be more accepting and surrender which can lead to some powerful solutions, growth and maturity.
At any time, when we are struggling with acceptance we can ask, “Is there anything I can do about the person, place or situation that I am troubled about, right now, today?” If there is, we are free to take the necessary actions and if not, then acceptance is our only course, if we want to feel serene.
Is there something you can do about what is troubling you today? If so, take any actions that may be required. If not, pray for acceptance with the help of the following well-known serenity prayer:
God grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change;
courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference.