I’ve had something of a love-hate relationship with acceptance. On the one hand, I completely agree with the wisdom shared in rooms of recovery, that “acceptance is the answer to all my problems today.” (p. 449 Big Book) Without it, I can’t access peace and growth and moving on.
On the other hand, I embrace (so many of) the words of Helen Keller when she wrote, “To keep our faces towards change and behave like free spirits in the presence of fate is strength undefeatable.” There’s plenty that seemed “fated” for me that I refused to accept and instead behaved like the free spirit I am.
Like others I’ve been inspired by, I refused to accept limitations I was told I would have due to injuries. I’ve refused to accept beliefs that didn’t serve me, relationships that weren’t mutual, the “fate” of a high-school dropout.
Instead, I found ways to move past what was forecast for me: to heal my body and psyche, to continue to learn and unlearn as needed, to love freely but share space in my life only with those who are on the same wavelength and see my worth, and to go back to school over and over to learn and excel in whatever direction I choose.
I used to think that if I accepted everything as it was, it meant I would passively allow and tolerate what I didn’t want or deserve. That was a definition or belief about acceptance that wasn’t serving me. I spent a lot of time judging, resisting and refusing, but without as much forward motion as I wanted. My stubbornness got in my way a lot. Luckily, I got wise to channeling it and applying it to commitments to myself that were affirming and it’s been a huge asset when used rightly. By unlearning how I viewed acceptance and stubbornness, I found a way to embrace them that works for me. It’s still work sometimes to find acceptance of “what is” (the last four years in America? 2020??) versus stubbornly holding on to what I want or wish the situation was. But once I do, it frees up all the energy I was using to resist it that I can then apply to changing the situation into what serves me.
I trust that what comes to me is just what is needed for my happiness and growth. While there are things I may deeply dislike, I always find that through acceptance I can free myself to move in the direction of my choosing. It doesn’t mean I stay stuck with it. I remember that this is a way of honoring and loving the free spirit I’ve been blessed with, that I want to be true to, and nurture every day of this existence.