I can’t say that I am good at accepting things as they are. Like a toddler, I want to stamp my foot. I want someone else’s life. Someone else’s body.
The good part of acceptance is the giving in. The wallowing. The relief of giving up the fight.
But acceptance is also paradoxically about becoming my own champion – challenging the inner critic and sticking up for myself. Sure, it means thinking that “this is who I am at the moment, this is my reality” but at the same time acceptance must include recognising “and that is ok”.
Acceptance must also incorporate an awareness that everything is subject to change – so acceptance is an ongoing practice rather than a one-off attempt.
Serenity Prayer – Reinhold Niebuhr (1892-1971)
God grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change;
courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference.
Living one day at a time;
enjoying one moment at a time;
accepting hardships as the pathway to peace;
taking, as He did, this sinful world
as it is, not as I would have it;
trusting that He will make all things right
if I surrender to His Will;
that I may be reasonably happy in this life
and supremely happy with Him
forever in the next.
“Accepting hardships as the pathway to peace”.
Trying to avoid pain only makes it worse. Like an unpaid bill, the interest just compounds with time. Acceptance requires us to be brave and sit with the pain. Make room for the anger and the shame. Place our sufferings in the context of the real world (not the instagram, Facebook fake lives).
Only by seeing where we are, can we start to move to where we want to go.