Acceptance – But Do I Have To?

Peace from acceptance

Jill was having a rough day. Her children weren’t listening, Jack was misinterpreting everything, and today had to be a good day. She was planning to meet with a friend that she hadn’t seen in a while. And then her car didn’t start. No matter how long she tried to turn the key in the ignition, nothing! As if she needed that. In frustration, she called her friend to cancel.

If Jill slowed down and accepted the car wasn’t starting, her children were being obnoxious, and her husband and she were not communicating well today, how would things have been different?

What is Acceptance?

First, I want to explain what acceptance isn’t. Acceptance isn’t resignation. It isn’t being defeated when things don’t go well. In fact, acceptance is the opposite of that. According to‘s third definition of acceptance, it is: “the act of assenting or believing”.

Acceptance isn’t about being stuck with something, it is about assenting – or acknowledging – reality for what it is. This is often a necessary first step in making big changes in our lives, or even fixing a small problem.

Acceptance is not resignation. It is the opposite. It is recognizing life on life’s terms so we can find what we do have control over.

What Does This Look Like, Practically?

When we accept something, we acknowledge it is real. If Jack is trying to loose weight but really likes to eat doughnuts, he needs to accept his food choice goes against his goals. Then, he needs to choose if he wants to continue his weight loss goals or keep eating doughnuts. It is his choice, and he is free to make either choice. But he can’t choose if he doesn’t recognize reality for what it is, and “assent” to his like of doughnuts.

Let me use another example. If someone isn’t feeling well but refuses to accept it, they will never to go the doctor. If they are sick, go to the doctor, and accept their diagnosis, then – and only then – they can begin effective treatments.

Back To Jill

Jill was struggling to accept that Jack and her children were having “one of those days”. And that she was, too. Accepting “one of those days” would have allowed Jill to pause just long enough to expect more problems throughout the day. Acceptance might have even let her slow down and realize she grabbed the wrong set of car keys.

Acceptance can be much easier said than done. If acceptance is something you struggle with, individual counseling can help! Feel free to call us at 717-219-5711, email us at, or use the chat widget below to see how we can help you.

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