Acceptance is simply an acknowledgment of What Is. Acceptance is a concept which forgoes judgment on a circumstance. Acceptance is a mindset which allows you to let go of frustration and disappointment, stress and anxiety, regret and false hopes. Acceptance brings peace. Acceptance is the practice of recognizing the limits of your control. Acceptance is a straightforward concept yet a difficult practice.
Thankfully, there are many chances to practice acceptance. The fact of the matter is that life is full of opportunities for you to wish that something else did happen, is happening, will happen when it is not. How often do you curse the fact that your plans for the day have unexpectedly changed? Or wonder in frustration why other people do the things they do (or don’t do the things they won’t)? Or how often do you wistfully regret past mistakes or missed chances? Or wish that your life would change in some way? All of these are opportunities to practice acceptance.
To be clear, acceptance is not giving up. Acceptance is not a way of excusing other people’s behavior and allowing it to continue. Acceptance is not about giving in to circumstances that are unhealthy or uncomfortable.
The main thing that gets in the way of acceptance is wanting to be in control, but control is an illusion. The one guarantee in life is that it is unpredictable. You cannot control what happens in any given day, you cannot control what other people do, say or think, you cannot control the past and you cannot control the future…so what can you control? Your self and Your thoughts: beliefs, attitudes, interpretations, expectations, assumptions. Trying to control anything else or operating under the idea that you can or should control anything else will only lead to frustration and self-contempt.
Recognize what you can control and focus your energy on those things. Trying to control (ie change) anything else in life is wasted energy.
Practice acceptance on simple things. For example, when it is raining, acknowledge “Its raining” with out judgment, when your mind tries to judge or goes toward a line of thought that is leading away from acceptance (ie “It sucks that it is raining, now I can’t have my picnic”) return to “Its raining. This is.” Use mindfulness skills, for example, tune into the 5 senses, listen to the rain, watch, smell, taste and touch the rain. Tune into the feeling of calm and peace that is generated by your acceptance.
God grant me the serentity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can and the wisdom to know the difference.