Sunday, November 18, 2012

Acceptance

In the past few years, I've often had no choice but to accept things that I didn't want, wish for or control.  I like to think that I've mastered the art of acceptance, but I know that I still have work to do.

It's a hard thing to master, primarily because it requires us to cope with realities we don't want.

Sometimes it comes easily, sometimes it comes with time, and sometimes you literally have to force it to come at all.

When my father was diagnosed with cancer, I knew immediately that the disease would take him.  I knew that he probably didn't have as long as people thought he might.  I knew that the treatments he sought wouldn't cure him.  I accepted all of that, almost instantly.

I had to, really, in order to be fully present for him as much as I could be.

Sometimes acceptance takes more time than that, particularly when what you're asked to accept is someone else's inability to change.  I've learned over the years that we have to take people at face value, for what they are and not for what we would wish them to be.  Often, that means accepting that other people will fail you.  They will fail themselves.

If someone keeps telling you who they are, eventually you have to start listening.

Other times, acceptance has to be forced.  That's the part I'm working on the most.  I hope to get there someday.

I was talking about this particular subject with a friend a few days ago, in a different context than my situation.  In more ways than not, though, they aren't all that different.  Both of us, in a place we never imagined being in life, through no fault of our own.

Perhaps the only thing that makes acceptance of the place easier is the very fact that we had nothing to do with it.  We bear no responsibility for how we got here.  Sometimes the most you can hope for is acceptance with things like this.  Will I ever consider myself lucky for being here, grateful for the experience and perspective?  Probably not.  I can guess my friend won't either.

That's because acceptance doesn't equal contentment.

I may have to take this and move on and learn and grow, but that doesn't mean I have to be happy about it.  It doesn't mean that I won't see the world through rose colored glasses anymore, because I probably always will.  So will my friend.

Every experience, from here on out, colored by that which we work towards accepting.

Like I told him, that doesn't make us bad people.

It makes us human.

5 comments:

  1. Sometimes acceptance is quick but sometimes I find that I have to fight with everything I have to make acceptance palatable. The only way for me to move through it is knowing that I did all I could and there are no avenues left but acceptance. Sometimes I'm just not ready, even knowing that's where I'll end up. I have to take the long road because it's the only one that will allow me to live with myself once I get there. I guess I'm saying that the road is just as important as the destination for me.

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  2. Absolutely, the journey is important...and sometimes it is a long and rough one.

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  3. <3 feeling this right now. Love you.

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  4. Sometimes, for me, finally accepting something brings me relief. Like now I can deal with this instead of finding a way around it or stop struggling so hard to fight against it. It's really, really hard sometimes.

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  5. And what if acceptance feels like defeat?

    I'm so feeling the struggle to accept the fact that some people will never change. Do you have to accept it?

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