You can choose to accept people and circumstances as they are, or not. In my forthcoming book, The Gift of Acceptance: Embracing Life as It Is, I try to make the case for choosing acceptance in almost all situations—even those you initially find “unacceptable.” You can download a free chapter of the book by clicking here.
One reason for practicing acceptance is the strong link between accepting people and things as they are and a life filled with greater freedom. Acceptance, like forgiveness, releases us from the turmoil and resentments of the past, thereby freeing us to make choices that are best for us now.
Iva’s story illustrates this gift of acceptance well. Iva was badly beaten by her father from
the time she was ten years old until she fled home as an eighteen-year-old. She spent most of her adult years trying to forgive him, but it was clear to her that she simply did not like her father.
She says the problem in not forgiving him was, “I lived daily with this monkey on my back. This thorn in my side. Guilt in my soul.”
Remembering that her father provided shelter, food, clothes, and money when she was broke, and took her on nice family vacations, Iva finally forgave her father after visiting him when he was in a nursing home. In her words:
“When Dad died at eighty-eight, I cried tears of relief and closure. But it wasn’t his death that set me free—it was the choice to forgive and treat him with more kindness than he offered me. I knew then the pain hadn’t scarred me for life. I had taken that pain and turned it into strength and wisdom. I forgave him because I could finally see he raised me the only way he knew how. That’s all he knew—it was how he was raised. . . .
“Did it make it okay? No. Understanding doesn’t mean we condone it when someone hurts us. It means we understand. And understanding and compassion are the keys to forgiveness.”**
Importantly, also like forgiveness, acceptance does not mean that we condone or approve of another’s errant behavior. It means we accept the underlying reality or “what is” of the person or situation without harboring resentment or negative feelings—and that’s precisely what sets us free. We are no longer entangled in the thick web of the past.
In future posts, I will talk about other important “gifts” of practicing acceptance.
What are your views on the matter?
Do you find that accepting the transgressions of those close to you sets you free? Does it release you to be who you want to be? Please share your views and experiences regarding the gifts of acceptance in the comment section below.
In the meantime,
Let It Go!—and Accept What Is.
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** Iva Ursano, “Forgiving Abusive Parents and Setting Ourselves Free,” Tiny Buddha website, February 2, 2016, http://tinybuddha.com/blog/forgiving-abusive-parents-setting-ourselves-free