When your children misbehave or act in a way that that drives you crazy, it makes it difficult to follow the guidance of Mr. Rogers to “love your children exactly as they are, without any conditions attached.”
This type of acceptance becomes hard when confronted with a child, or an adult for that matter, who seem defiant or uncompromising. But that is exactly the point.
Accepting someone exactly as they are is a choice. It is saying, ‘you are who you are.” Similarly accepting an outcome or result is admitting that “it is what it is.”
Acceptance does not mean that you have to like what you are accepting. Often it is quite the opposite, we can disagree, be dismayed or disheartened by what or who is presented before us for acceptance. But our feelings or opinion do not change the reality of what is right in front of us.
Failing to accept someone or something as it is, is to deny the current reality that we no longer have any control over.
This article from Psychology Today dispels many of the myths we may associate with acceptance. It makes the case that it is indeed a very difficult thing to do, one that actually takes a little courage.
Acceptance of the reality of a pandemic, the outcome of an election, the views of another person, are just three of the things that many seem to be fighting right now.
But to fight against reality is futile, self-defeating and counterproductive.
As the author of the aforementioned article notes, acceptance is not passive and it does not mean that you are giving up or giving in. It rather suggests that you’re being honest about what or who you’re dealing with – hence allowing you to more effectively respond to it/them in the future.
I accept that my children are different from who I am in many ways.
I accept that many of my family and friends hold different political beliefs than I do.
I accept that we are indeed a very divided country..
I accept that this pandemic is getting worse not better.
Even writing these things, I find it freeing.
To be in denial is to be paralyzed. Accepting the way things are right now is not to presume that this is the way they must forever be. It is a level-setting exercise that allows you to be clear-eyed about what is in front of you.
Is there anything or anyone that you’ve been denying or avoiding? Who or what can you accept that might free you to move on, move forward, move up?
Go ahead and write it down. You may be surprised at how it makes you feel.