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  • Katherine Wiens

Acceptance is an act of strength



“Acceptance does not mean that you have to like everything or that you have to take a passive attitude toward everything and abandon your principles and values. It does not mean that you are satisfied with things as they are or that you are resigned to tolerating things as they have to be…..Acceptance means that you have come around to the willingness to see things as they are” Jon Kabit-Zinn from Full Catastrophe Living.

Acceptance or seeing things as they are is not, however, a simple task. It takes a lot of strength and courage to practice acceptance when faced with a challenging or traumatic experience.

There are many things in life that are difficult to accept. These can be small benign things like the seasons changing and not wanting the dark, cold, snowy winter to come. Or it can be a major life trauma, like someone you loved and trusted betraying you. But the consist thread throughout our life is things will change we need to deal with it.

Accepting change is an act of strength because it takes courage and fortitude to change our mindset about an issue. This is much easier to do the more benign the issue is. But when a trauma has occurred acceptance does not come quickly or easily.

Before acceptance can occur, the event or the trauma needs to be processed. Depending on the severity, professional therapy may be needed. Talking with trusted friends or family, or seeking guidance from other psychological or spiritual resources may be enough to process the event.

Finally though, there comes a time to accept what has happened. While the event can be damaging to our mental and physical health, not moving on from the trauma can be just as damaging. Acceptance can keep the pain from turning into long-term suffering which only harms us.

Acceptance is letting go of what happened and moving on. It is not saying what happened to you was right or that you did something to deserve it. It’s realizing it is what is.

Acceptance is circular and doesn’t move in a straight line. Letting go and moving on doesn’t mean the pain is gone. Things will trigger the hurt and loss. When this happens, it’s not a sign that you are weak or haven’t made progress. Being triggered is a common occurrence. Understanding this will help you to move forward and not get stuck.

Acceptance is an active process. It’s unusually not a “one and done”. It is continuing to face what happened and deciding to move forward. This means you choose what is in your best interests

Here are some ways to practice acceptance even when you are triggered.

Accepting who you are in the midst of the pain.

Staying grounded in your true self.

Grounding yourself in why you took the actions you did.

Grounding yourself in the fact that there are things you simply cannot control.

Understanding that one of the most difficult things is the realization that a situation, person, or group is not what you thought it was or had hoped it would be.

Acceptance is also understanding it won’t be this way forever. There can be a change in the situation or in the person that harmed you. But the most significant change will come in your attitude and mindset about the event. The change that happens in you is truly one of your greatest strengths.



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