Leicester healer

Acceptance is Not Passivity | Acceptance vs. Resignation

For many years I struggled to differentiate between acceptance and resignation. I’ve lost count of the times I allowed myself to be swallowed up by situations under the guise of acceptance, when really all I was doing was resigning myself to shitty circumstances and whole-heartedly believing in my powerlessness to effect change. Learned helplessness is my default setting after all, so the pretence of acceptance tessellated neatly into this trauma initiated then self-perpetuated role as the emotionally impotent victim of circumstances.


What I’ve learned to be intrinsically true about acceptance is that it is not passivity. It moves us from a place of resignation, feeling suffocated, breathless, immoveable, to a place of promise, of whispered possibility, of a crack in our constricted heart. Resignation says there’s nothing you can do about this, you’re stuck.  Acceptance says there’s everything you can do about this, you are free.
Resignation is believing ourselves to be floating in suspension, acquiescing to our inertia. Acceptance is believing in our wings, knowing in our hearts that we may soon become untethered.
Acceptance moves us from the very naturally arising aversion and possible antipathy towards ourselves when faced with the facts. Problems that seem inescapable can suddenly become bridges. Addictions that seem unavoidable can slowly become avenues.
Acceptance was admitting to myself that I’m an alcoholic, thereby propelling myself in the direction of a metamorphic recovery. Resignation would have been knowing this truth and not doing anything about it.
By accepting the unacceptable we are not saying it’s ok. There is no collusion, complicity, or celebration of the issue – simply a silent nod to its existence. The process itself probably won’t be pretty. There may be tears and there may be pain. We may bounce around between two beliefs, oscillating wildly between bursting open and violently retracting. But eventually, by giving the problem permission to breathe, we permit ourselves to breathe a little deeper.
acceptance is the key

The journey from the head to the heart is truly the longest, but once its made, our truth can be fully embodied and an eruption of spaciousness for forward motion is initiated. As plumes of ink swell gratifyingly, hypnotically on absorbent pieces of paper.

We often resist true acceptance because we’re afraid of what lies beneath. We’re often afraid of our own power and suctioned by self-doubt into an abyss of uncertainty. But what if it’s non-acceptance that breaks our fragile hearts and immerses us head to toe in thick black tar, and it’s in the acceptance of things we don’t want to be true that actually begins to reconstruct our shattered parts?

Prior to opening the aperture for acceptance we must first recognise what is not working. Transformation cannot happen without recognition first. With willingness and wonder we pay attention. We see the patterns and the habits where we are stuck, the mechanisms we use to deaden our discomfort. 

Recognition has truly illuminative power. Recognition ruptures our cocoon of darkness and denial. We emerge into the glare of truth and we see what previously we couldn’t or wouldn’t see.

acceptance is the key
Denial doesn’t stop truth being truth. It simply sets our cells in exhaustive motion and our limbs on a soul-crushingly endless treadmill of resistance. The suffering we’re so desperate to escape from, instead becomes quicksand.
Acceptance is meeting ourselves with love instead of hostility. It is tenderising our humanity with a huge empathic heart, instead of relentless self-flagellation and disgust.
By accepting our limitations we get to go beyond them. We don’t have to stay stuck. By accepting our suffering we are able to transmute it. We don’t have to prolong our pain.
From the springboard of acceptance, our bodies begin to soften and our unfurling can commence. We can embark upon the multi-faceted, multistep healing process that follows.

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