Acceptance. It seems to have a few different meanings. For the most part, what I hear is that acceptance of something is taking it into your life and using it as a part of your own philosophy. For instance, if you accept Christianity, you begin going to church and studying the bible. Or if you accept that your neighbor is a thief, you are okay with stealing. However, this is not the way I view acceptance.
To me, acceptance means simply acknowledging that something or someone is the way they are. No judgement, no thoughts of how they should change in one way or another. Just being aware and letting it be. I have always considered myself an accepting person. I have had friends from many walks of life, from being high-class and spoiled, to trailer-park born and desperately poor, from fanatically religious, to completely Godless, from totally self-centered to the most generous, and everything in between.
Over the last few years, as I’ve gotten older and more set in my own ways of doing things, I have become a little more judgmental and picky about the company I keep. I have become more particular about the way I believe things should be done. And I must say, it has increased my anxiety and irritability. Not too long ago during a therapy session, my therapist brought up Radical Acceptance.
Radical Acceptance is accepting the world around you for exactly what it is, and what is happening. Whether you like what is happening or not, it’s still happening. If there are things you can change, then change them. But for the things you cannot change, you just have to accept them. Fighting it, or saying things such as “it can’t be true,” or “its not fair” are just going to make you more and more upset. More information here.
So I’ve been practicing accepting the world around me more and more. I accept that I have anxiety that keeps me from working outside the home. But I can change that, and I am allowing myself time to work on fixing my issues, and setting small goals to push myself. I accept that I barely have enough money to make ends meet right now. But I know that once I start working it will slowly improve. And in the meantime, I know that I just have to enjoy what I do have and let go of the frustration. I accept that I have a lot of limits living in an apartment. But I know that I am working towards my goal of finding a house, and my limitations are temporary. Its all a matter of not stressing myself out by fighting real situations and circumstances in my reality.
The point to all of this: acceptance is crucial to live a happy life. Just because you accept it, doesn’t mean you have to like it or keep it or make it permanent. It just means that you are aware of a situation or trait or event, and you acknowledge it exists.