Acceptance seems to be one of the most misunderstood concepts in the whole personal development field. Still, I’m convinced that acceptance is a fundamental prerequisite to grow as a human being.

Because without accepting your current reality and yourself, real growth is almost impossible. And the reason for that is that you wouldn’t be aligned with the truth and would operate on a inaccurate basis, which can only lead to inaccurate results.

So let’s see how you can accept your current reality and align yourself with the truth of what is…

What Does Acceptance Mean?

Acceptance of reality is really saying yes to what is. It is saying yes and becoming ok with the current situation. It doesn’t mean you have to like it as it is, but you have to accept it and recognize it as it is. Denial and ignorance is not helping and would keep you away from effective change. So it also means recognizing your reality correctly. And in its essence, acceptance is alignment with truth.

Now, why is that important?

As long as you are not aligned with truth you are operating on a wrong perception of reality. That means you are in denial of how your reality is, knowingly or unknowingly. It is like trying to find a house in a city while using a map of another city. You simply can’t get to where you want to be this way.

Why is it so Hard to Accept?

This can happen faster than you might think, because denial is a defense mechanism of your mind, trying to protect you from what could be an unpleasant realization.

The obvious reason is that by living in denial you can pretent that everything is ok, which will take you into dream world where you have to come back from anyway soon or later. So you avoid negative emotions by not facing your reality. It’s easier to look away and pretent everything is fine… for awhile.

The Truth Will Set You Free

Still, only when you tell yourself the truth you are ready to make progress in your life. Yes, it may feel a little uncomfortable, but it is still the only way to go. Or telling yourself the truth will instantly be a very liberating experience. However, after a first and short emotional reaction, a new door will be opened through which you can go only then.

Also, when you are not accepting your situation, you are somehow struggling with how the present moment looks like. This means that you are fighting a fight that you can’t win. The present moment is as it is. You can only change what lays ahead, but not what lead you to the current situation.

And there are always 3 ways to accept and then change your situation:

1. Reinterpret it in your mind
2. Do something to change it
3. Leave it

After accepting your current reality, you are powerfully aligned with the truth. So accept the situation now and from there move forward!

What Acceptance is Not

Accepting your reality in this sense does not mean that you can’t change your reality. It is not helplessness. On the contrary and as said before, only if you have accepted your situation you can move past it. Now a new way, new resources and opportunities are opening up, if you want to create a different reality.

Also and very important, by accepting a situation, do not create your identity (self-image) out of this situation. In other words: if you’re accepting a reality that is not what you want, do not say to yourself: “I accept myself, I am just so-and-so.” This is wrong because all that would do is pull you down. Instead, just realize that the current situation is as it is and then define where you want to take it. There is never an identity involved.

How to Accept Your Current Reality

I use the following 4 step process to accept and connect myself with the truth and then to start change into the direction I want:

  1. Take the courage and start a process of self-reflection to come to the truth of your current situation.
  2. Accept the truth of the situation.
  3. Do not judge the situation or yourself. Instead know that although it may feel unpleasant for the moment, by accepting reality as it is you are doing the right thing.
  4. Then define where you want the situation to change to. Maybe set it as a goal. See it as a vision of your ideal life for yourself.

18 comments

  1. Comment by Jack.243

    Jack.243 Reply April 15, 2014 at 7:22 pm

    Thank YOU! so much for this article …
    it adds “reality” :) to my truth regarding a pet peeve.

    There is a big difference between what we “call” reality and “what is, as it is”. At one point in time the reality of the world was that it is flat. AND that the earth was the center of the universe. This was a very powerful reality, ask the many that suffered the gallows or worse for disagreeing.

    So, viewed this way, reality could be said to be agreement. The more in agreement the more powerful the view seems to be.

    Truth or (I prefer) actuality how things actually are … now that is something different. And it is important to see things as they actually are so that (if desired) RESPONSIBILITY can be taken to direct the future disposition of the situation.

    That is to say, not taking blame or fault, simply taking charge or control to change it. Or start something anew in a different way. Or to simply stop something.

    As this very good article says “It does NOT mean “… does not mean that you can’t change your reality. It is not helplessness. ”

    And here the pet peeve: Far too many armature guru’s are out there talking about acceptance and or using a phrase that they do not fully understand. They use it to belittle, oversimplify, and render a direction often taken to mean “SUBMIT, give up, move along.” The phrase that I feel does so much damage?
    “It is what it is.”

    Ha ha! What ain’t also ain’t … but why does no one proclaim that equal factor? It is what it is — is easy to say … it will always be a truth but not the whole truth. And do they realize that by the time they say it, what was may now or soon be something entirely different. That is the point, see it clearly and change can Follow.

    Thanks again,
    :)

  2. Comment by Aaliyah

    Aaliyah Reply April 4, 2014 at 2:46 am

    Wow, this post is nice, my sister is analyzing these things, thus I
    am going to inform her.

  3. Comment by Ianina

    Ianina Reply May 3, 2013 at 3:06 pm

    I think one of the main points is exactly this: What Acceptance is Not. Excellent post!

  4. Comment by darko

    darko Reply February 10, 2013 at 4:14 pm

    May be mryko. I would i like to tell you about my life, for a major part of my life; I did not know the reason why i used to do the things i used to do, may be because people around me told me it was the right thing. But soon it died of and i started to lose the success stint. Back then, in everything i did; in all the options i had one of them was quiting. Since i knew it was a option, i just stopped trying hard enough. Because quiting din’t seem like a wrong thing to do.
    Now let me tell you about a recent experience i had. I am not a active cyclist but i cycle when i feel like, for some peace. It was like around more than 6 months, since i cycled the last time. And it was’nt the best experience, since i just could’nt do more than around 0.5km to 1km and i had to some how get back home. It was the time when the change in me was still happening, which is happening even now. But the difference is, back then quiting was still a option somewhere deep inside. Now to the recent cycling stint i did. I cycled around the city. When i got back and checked i had clocked more than 25km. And am not kidding here. And in those last months i have’nt got any better phyically, if only bad and gained some extra pounds. But when i cycled i regularly felt like: i could not do it anymore, but i just told myself i can do it and continued. And 1st of these feelings occured to me just like the last time around between half to 1km, but i hung on. And it did occur for a another couple of kms, again i hung on. And soon the duration between those feelings got longer and longer. And in the end, i just had kind of overcome it. But the thing i felt after realising how far i had cycled, was really amazing. And then the thoughts started storming my head of how well i had done it.
    What i am trying to say, quiting should never be an option. Because once you realise quiting is no problem, you just stop trying hard enough. Even if that were a hard try, not to be best for sure.
    No to quiting.
    Never. successful i was’nt contented. I did not know the reason why i used to do it, may be because people around me told me it was the right thing. But soon it died of and started to lose the success stint. Back then, in everything i did; in all the options i had one of them was quiting. Since i knew it was a option, i just stopped trying hard enough. Because quiting din’t seem like a wrong thing to do.
    Now let me tell you about a recent experience i had. I am not a active cyclist but i cycle when i feel like, for some peace. It was like around more than 6 months, since i cycled the last time. And it was’nt best experience, since i just could’nt do more than around 0.5km to 1km and i had to some how get back home. It was the time when the change in me was still happening, which is happening even now. But the difference is, back then quiting was still a option somewhere deep inside. Now to the recent cycling stint i did. I cycled around the city. When i got back and checked i had clocked more than 25km. And am not kidding here. And in those last months i have’nt got any better phyically, if only bad and gained some extra pounds. But when i cycled i regularly felt like could not do it anymore, but i just told myself i can do it and continued. And 1st of these feelings occured to me just like the last time around between half to 1km, but i hung on. And it did occur for a another couple of kms, again i hung on. And soon the duration between those feelings got longer and longer. And in the end, i just had kind of overcome it. But the thing i felt after realising how far i had cycled, was really amazing. And then the thoughts started storming my head of how well i had done it.
    What i am trying to say, quit

  5. Comment by darko

    darko Reply February 10, 2013 at 3:05 pm

    Hey zack. Feels good that you understood my point. And yea it is right what you stated about the british light cavalry. Yeah it would have been really a masscre, it were those 600 against around 5500 russians. All heavily armed. But still those 600 reached the battery as they were ordered to, but could not take it or destroy it as they were surrounded by just to many russians. Just amazing. And you know what, 1/3 of them managed out. After going all through the things you mentioned, way in and out.
    Now to the things you said about the environment. Yeah it matters, greatly. It could be the place you live in, work in, your family or friends. Unless you have the right people, who very much create your environment; you just can’t become what you want to. Because i believe you have to believe that from deep inside the very core, and it is not possible until you have the right influence. And here i have to mention it influence can be good or bad, i mean they can motivate you or try to influence you in thinking otherwise. You know what, i like the second kind. They can just put the fire in you, and give you the required final push at times.
    And of course, you can ask and definitely get a better explanation from Myrko. Because i ain’t no expert.

  6. Comment by Myrko Thum

    Myrko Thum Reply February 10, 2013 at 3:02 pm

    @darko: With reality-check I meant it in the sense of the post, aligning with what is, aligning with truth, or in other words: not living a lie. I did not mean it in the sense of “come down to reality, son!” :-) which is how it is used commonly.

    Your points about goals and believe in it, hanging on and not giving up, I’m totally with you on those! Though I think it can be intelligent to quit as well. “The Dip” by Seth Godin was a nice book about when to quit and when to stick.

  7. Comment by darko

    darko Reply February 10, 2013 at 2:34 pm

    Myrko, I think you are getting or have atleast understood my point. In todays world everybody is practical, they just wanna live through there lives, like the lifes shown in movies. They all want a happy ending. For this they see money as the way to buy this life, and chase money all there life. Is this all what you want.
    As you say Realty check! what is it.? Is it not something we see on the guidlines of the society we live in. And try to put our life in sync with those guidlines. So we seem like one of them, defined in as successful or broke.
    Is that what we truely want? Is that all we have in our lives? Should we just live through it, one way or the other.
    I say we should have something more. A goal. For which we can live for. Is’nt it worth trying on something you believe in. Is’nt it more meaningful than chasing money.
    Lets just say we were in those old era, in battles the old fashioned way; swords, arrows, spears and most importantly courage. Just try to visualise those soldiers and knights life. They just had one goal protect there country and follow there king. Even to death, to fight till there last breath. Live for what you believe, and even if you die…….. You will die a contented man, for you died trying for that thing you believed in. Now you just think of a person who just ran away grom the battlefied, is he a honourable man? You decide.
    There is this thing which i came across and i just couldnt ignore, it states – see no fear in the eyes of the enemy. Stand by the truth, even if were to lead to your death.
    Here i visualise, the enemy as my failure and the truth as my belief.
    All i ask is is’nt it worth?
    Its easy to quit, but very hard to hang on.

  8. Comment by Zack

    Zack Reply February 10, 2013 at 10:23 am

    Correct me if I am wrong but wasn’t the Charge of the Light Brigade a case where a British commander got his flag signals crossed or some sort of other mistake and sent his Calvary into a valley that was fortified with artillery on either side? Horses on men on the low ground and cannon balls and steel on the high- on both sides. It had to be a massacre. I bet everyone of those men knew they were doomed before they charged. I think you are right Darko, those men had to do what they did. They had a job to do. It was their commander who failed them. I regularly am in that position. Of course the stakes have never been that high. Sometimes we are our own commander and soldier and if we are committed to an action (commander) we do have an obligation to carry it through (soldier). Even if half way through we realize our mistake in assessment generally speaking we can’t turn back. That doesn’t mean though that you can’t change course or make some other adjustment to minimize the damage. To take it one step further I have taken to a point-of-view that all is environment. Not just the outside world but also my genetics; body proper and my psychological make-up. The “I” is the combined habits of action within these three. The benefit of this paradigm is that when I do make a mistake it is a mistake that can be addressed by working on my environment instead of a mistake that is some sort of core “self.” Like just painting a room or rearranging the furniture the “change” is non-personal and much easier to carry off. It also makes it less personal to assess my strengths and weaknesses. And this is very important information to have if you are trying to create the circumstances for achievement of a goal.

    Best wishes,

    Zack

  9. Comment by Myrko Thum

    Myrko Thum Reply February 9, 2013 at 5:29 am

    I see your point. But it’s definitely a fine line between believing blindly vs. doing a reality-check and going from there.

  10. Comment by darko

    darko Reply February 9, 2013 at 12:06 am

    Definitly a commander, Myrko. What you are saying is to be practical and change your way. As you said it is right those soldiers marched to their death, but they never knew. And even when they realised, they still tried to fulfill their duties. They did not back away, they gave their best and fought untill death. Even though their numbers were 1/10th of the enemy.

    Am not saying don’t change, change is necessary to be better and i agree. But what i say is stick to your path, stick to your belief and try a different approach or better your approach. Just because you fail doesn’t mean you quit. Doesn’t mean the way you took does not exist. Or it is not viable or possible, it could also mean that you could not execute it well.
    Just for a second, remember those inventors and pioneers who went against the odds and stuck with their beliefs.

    May be you will take just a lot longer to acheive it even if those things you tried is easier in a nother path which others took.
    But does it matter how much longer it took. It is not the destination but the journey to the destination which makes us what we are. So isn’t the journey equally enthrilling and enjoyable, because in the journey you are doing what you always wanted to do. Getting one step closer every day.

  11. Comment by Zack

    Zack Reply February 5, 2013 at 6:06 am

    Hey Darko I think you have missed the larger point. In a larger philosphical manner we decide, and must live with the decision that we make, as to what reality is. If our decision though does not mesh with the environment that we find ourselves we will run into a lot of problems. I think that is what Myrko is speaking to. If I for instance can’t play more than two chords on a guitar I am going to have one heck of a time getting any musical gigs. But if I were to recognize that my talent does not match with my environment and desires then, and only then, can I address the problem. As long as I keep the belief that I am a talented musician then from my perspective I am right, I am perfectly free to bang away at my two chords to my hearts content, it is just that I cannot impose that value system on anyone else. So acceptance, for me, then would be realization of where I am in my environment.

  12. Comment by Myrko Thum

    Myrko Thum Reply February 5, 2013 at 4:01 am

    @darko, thanks for your thoughtful comment. Still I disagree pretty strongly with you here.

    Looking up Tennyson’s Poetry “The Charge of the Light Brigade”, it’s a peom that “recalls a disastrous historical military engagement that took place during the initial phase of the Crimean War fought between Turkey and Russia (1854-56). As a result of the battle, Britain lost possession of the majority of its forward defenses and the only metaled road in the area.”

    While I think it’s a worthy honor for the men who died, I also think it’s the result of a stupid decision being made. And more importantly, I believe that it shows exactly that operating on a wrong representation of reality leads to failure. Reality doesn’t care if you believe in your wrong perception of it or not. You’ve got to have both: intelligence and belief.

    And I don’t belief in obeying wrong decisions, I like to think for myself. It comes down to the question: do you want to be a soldier or a commander in your life?

  13. Comment by darko

    darko Reply February 4, 2013 at 1:40 pm

    I dont have a same understanding or view to the topic as you have.
    Have you heard about a poem, about 600 men marching into the valley of death because there leader made a wrong choice. I just admire that, if you havent read it: read it if you can.
    What i am trying to say is, it doesnt matter whether something is right or wrong. What matters is do you believe in it, do you have a will to go for it no matter what. Thats the only things you need to know. The only thing you want is determination, courage and most importantly belief.
    Who are you or me or the world to define what is right or wrong. What matters is how you define it deep inside after taking those other million definitions from the rest of the world.
    There is no acceptances unless you feel you have done wrong, you feel guilty of your actions, your past. There is no acceptance, because the day you accept it, i accept it; you/i stop to try to be better. Running is no option either, but standing fighting is. Not accepting it.

  14. Comment by Myrko Thum

    Myrko Thum Reply February 3, 2013 at 11:07 am

    @Kathleen, really spot on, nicely said.

    @Jorge, yeah, this would be operating from a false foundation.

  15. Comment by Jorge Blanco

    Jorge Blanco Reply February 3, 2013 at 3:13 am

    “recognizing your reality correctly” – I think this is the most important thing that we should understand with acceptance. We can say we’ve accepted our current predicament, but if what we accepted were false realities and full of assumptions, ultimately, we still have not accepted that particular event and it will bite you back one day.

  16. Comment by Kathleen Umphress

    Kathleen Umphress Reply February 3, 2013 at 12:28 am

    Your article on acceptance is exactly where I am personally right now. The process that I am finding extremely helpful in moving to acceptance is Radical Forgiveness. I worked through the worksheet and at the end acceptance had been achieved. This does not mean that I will not be sad and have other feelings until my period of grieving is over but as you said we can accept things but still not be comfortable with the situation.

  17. Comment by Myrko Thum

    Myrko Thum Reply February 1, 2013 at 5:33 pm

    Thanks Dan. Yeah, I even think accepting gives us more power to then change the situation.

  18. Comment by Dan Garner

    Dan Garner Reply February 1, 2013 at 11:53 am

    Great article Myrko. Not accepting things as they are or resenting that things are the way that they are is a major source of stress and dissatisfaction in life.

    Dan @ ZenPresence

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