When I work on topics for my podcast, it’s very important that they resonate with me. I need to feel something stir inside me before I put pen to paper and open my mouth and eventually have you give of your time to listen. For today, it’s about acceptance.
Being that we are coming to the end of the first month of a New Year, I thought this word may not necessarily fit in this time period. But I just couldn’t shake it. I say that because especially in the first 30 days of a New Year, most are pushing hard to create great habits, reconnect with old friends, make new ones, etc. The New Year seems to bring about a push or new birth in most. So I kept asking myself, why the word acceptance?
The answer came fairly quickly each time I asked – it is because of that push that we all do, that right about this time, many are having to contemplate acceptance. When we put expectations on ourselves that are not quantified with plans and actions, we will most certainly have to deal with disappointment. So, we have to accept that either we didn’t prepare properly and start again, or maybe that “push” that we were aiming towards, was not an authentic goal to begin with.
Before I get too far ahead of myself, let’s get on the same page of how acceptance is defined. In doing research, Wikipedia had this description – The concept of acceptance is close in meaning to ‘acquiescence’, derived from the Latin ‘acquiēscere’ (to find rest in). I really could stop here – to find rest in is perfection for me. I just love that!! But, let me dig a bit deeper . . .
The Webster definition of acceptance is 1) the action of consenting to receive or undertake something offered; 2) the action or process of being received as adequate or suitable, typically to be admitted into a group.
Now Webster’s description is more in line with my understanding of acceptance. It requires an action on our part – sometimes receiving and sometimes giving.
I’ll offer one more, Eckhart Tolle, author of The Power of Now, defines acceptance as a “this is it” response to anything occurring in any moment of life. There, strength, peace and serenity are available when one stops struggling to resist, or hang on tightly to what is so in any given moment. What do I have right now? Now what am I experiencing? The point is, can one be sad when one is sad, afraid when afraid, silly when silly, happy when happy, judgmental when judgmental, overthinking when overthinking, serene when serene, etc.
Acceptance in human psychology is a person’s assent to the reality of a situation, recognizing a process or condition (often a negative or uncomfortable situation) without attempting to change it or protest it.
Hopefully, I haven’t confused you by offering up these descriptions. The way I see it is you have to take all of it in and then see which one works best in your heart. For me, like I said previously, I’m going to go back to the origination of the word and use “to find rest in” as my definition of acceptance.
That is also in line with the Tolle’s thought process – what is, is what is.
A good portion of why I felt the need to discuss this today was because when we meet people – new and old friends – we need to accept what is. So many of us, go into conversations with an agenda. Not always intentional or top-of-mind, but we hear what we hear – hence perception. But if we take the mantra, “to find rest in,” then very easily the outcome of that will be, we will do less talking and more listening. We’ll pay attention to body language and tone, etc. All the ways we communicate with one another. By doing this, life will not only be more present, but also for joyful.
I can relate to this in a couple of ways. The first area that comes to mind is when you’re just getting to know someone, whether it’s in a dating situation or a friend. I’ve been known to get excited in the anticipation of meeting someone new. Sounds harmless and normal, but maybe this happens to you too. Instead of listening with my heart, what I hear only makes it to my head and it’s like I don’t receive the whole message or picture. Then I base my understanding on that experience, when in truth, it’s missing pieces of that person because I didn’t see them for what is. As I’ve gotten older, that happens less and less because with age comes wisdom and I’ve recognized that doesn’t serve me or them very well.
There’s a saying, people show you who they are from the moment you meet them – believe them. I know I was guilty of trying to change people in my past under the guise of trying to help them. Truth is that while they may have asked for my help, people are who they are. The best help we can give them is to help them accept who they are. Now that doesn’t mean that we can’t continue to grow and improve – God, let’s hope we all do, but it does not give us carte blanche to think we can change someone.
When it comes down to it, a great way of looking at this in an actionable form is to take your hand and incorporate the saying, while there’s one finger pointing out, there are four pointing back at me. Spend the effort on you. I’m not saying in a conceded way, but in a constructive way. Rest in the fact that you are enough and use the finger pointing at them to receive more joy.
It may sound cliché or hokey, but I’m trying to create a takeaway that you can put into action that symbolizes acceptance of others and yourself – a way to find rest in what is.
What if we went so far as to say, nothing was right or wrong, it’s just what is. Now, I clearly understand your immediate repudiation will be what about crimes upon others. Listen, I’m not here to discuss the whole existence of life. Let’s keep this focused on today’s topic of acceptance. The reason we have the word is because we, as humans, have difficulty finding rest in what is, right?!
So, coming from that mindset – we no longer need to view life with a filter of judging what is good or bad, right or wrong. Accept a situation as it is and decide from there how to move forward. Accept people as they are and decide if they will hold space in your life or not. A person’s journey is just that – their journey. The sooner we find a way to accept our situations and others, the more at peace life will be.
Again, I’m not saying this doesn’t mean there are no adjustments that we make along the way. But, I am saying, don’t waste time or energy on the should’s and what if’s and the would have’s. Be grateful for the journey. Find rest in what is.
I’ll leave you with this. I’ve made decisions in my life based on not accepting my circumstances as they were. I judged them as being wrong and yes, I will elaborate on that in a later podcast. But for now, take me at my word. For when I was in that place of darkness and sadness for myself, I was blessed to have been introduced to a very sweet messenger who on many occasions breathed life into my darkness through his words and books. That messenger was the late, Dr. Robert Schuller. He would end all of his services at the Crystal Cathedral with these words, which exemplify acceptance in so many ways:
“And now may the Lord bless you and keep you. May the Lord make His face to shine upon you and be gracious unto you. And may God give you His peace in your going out and in your coming in, in your lying down and in your rising up, in your labor and in your leisure, in your laughter and in your tears… Until you come to stand before Jesus in that day in which there is no sunset and no dawning. Amen.”
I hope you’ve enjoyed our journey today!! The road to excellence is paved with many stories and it would make my heart sing to know that you spending time with me today has, in some way, helped you see the gift that you are to this world.
Thank you for joining me today and until next time, Live Excellence.