Acceptance is a powerful yet overlooked and misunderstood concept. When we aren’t accepting people, places, and things as they are, we are actively fighting them at some level. The fight exhausts us and takes our physical, emotional, mental, relational, and spiritual energy. There is an internal struggle and restlessness that goes something like this: “I don’t like it. I don’t want it. I want something different. Why does it have to be this way?” Can you hear in that dialogue the desire to change things? Can you see how it actually prevents you from getting to the necessary dialogue of “It is what it is; now what?”
You have more power over yourself than things outside yourself. Once you accept the things you cannot change, you can then look at your personal choices. Here are some questions you can ask yourself:
- What are you thinking and feeling about the situation?
- Can you change your attitude so you will feel differently?
- Do you need to take some action that you have avoided?
- Is it time to set a boundary?
Acceptance is frequently misunderstood to include tolerance of things that are wrong, but acceptance isn’t about having weak boundaries; it is about letting go of the restlessness and futile struggle we often engage in that keeps us wishing things were different, thereby preventing us from taking responsibility for decisive action.
God, Help me accept the people and circumstances in my life just as they are, so I can be free to respond to them in the best way possible. Amen