During my daughter’s preschool and early elementary days, when daily cries of ‘that’s unfair’ and ‘Johnny got more’ were prevalent among her classmates, she learned an expression from her teacher that has always stuck with her: “You get what you get and you don’t get upset.”

Lately that expression has been on my mind.

How often have you prayed to your God, the Universe, or simply reflected in your mind on something you really, truly wanted with all of your heart?  Perhaps your desire was centered around a thing, perhaps a relationship, or maybe even a job.  In that that desire, you sought fulfillment – a quench of insatiable want, need, or drive for meaning and purpose.

Sometimes in all of our wishing and hoping, begging and pleading, our earnest prayers go unanswered.  We feel angry or disappointed, and in that disappointment, righteous indignation overcomes us and we cry out “unfair!” (though we often later discover that these unanswered prayers were really secret blessings).  Perhaps we adhere rigidly to a plan, resisting conflicting realities, only to later feel betrayed by our own choices.  At other times, our prayers are answered or wishes granted, though what we thought we were getting turns out to be something different from what we imagined altogether.

So often our desires are focused on form, not function; on function, but not purpose. So often our responses are rooted in ego, not heart; or in fear, not love.

Acceptance does not mean settling for less or staying stuck.  It is does not suggest passive dependency, but an active way of seeing and being.  Often an agent of change – acceptance is opening our eyes to what is, that we might see where we are to go from here.  It is recognizing that the gift of a given moment or opportunity, often lies in the lessons it has to teach us.  At its core, acceptance is about the state of our own mind and heart; finding centered peace in the present, that we might reclaim lost joy.

I’m curious:  How often have you missed the magic of the moment, because you were too busy fighting it on your way to someplace else?  How often has a clouded vision of your present, prevented you from learning vital lessons and navigating next steps?  How often has stubborn resistance of what is robbed you of the gifts of time, peace and simple joy?  

7 thoughts on “Acceptance

  1. Funny, I was replying to a post earlier today expressing a feeling of regret towards missing opportunities because of outside circumstances. I allowed other people’s perception of my reality dictate what I was going to do. That will never happen again. I made a promise today to myself to finally get a grip of my reality and do what I need to do to live happily with myself, as well as my loved ones.


    1. Thanks for sharing, Juan. I recently had a similar epiphany when I tweeted the following thought: “sacrifice for its own sake is mere vanity; it’s what we do in that place of sacrifice that truly matters.”

      It’s easy to allow circumstances (or people) outside of ourselves to dictate our course of action, though we are the ones who must live with the consequences of our choices. From my perspective, navigating the course begins not only with a thorough understanding of ourselves and our values, but with an acceptance of our current reality. The more clearly we can see and accept what ‘is’, the more clear we become in knowing how to move forward in a way that aligns with our most authentic selves and priorities.

      Congratulations on having made the choice to honor the path that best serves you and your family.


  2. This resonates so strong with a story we posted last week on our blog — that complex balance between actively pursuing what we need or want, and being content with what we have. They seem to be totally contradictory, but they don’t have to be. Love the way you’ve pointed out that acceptance is not passive, but “a new way of seeing things”. That’s what hope does – it helps us see things with new attention and a new attitude. Thank you for articulating this in the way you have — it’s wonderful to see different dimensions and facets from a kindred spirit!

    Hope on Hope


      1. I just read your post, “A not so silent film,” and loved it! The man in the story saw ‘what is’, but looked at it through a new lens, and in doing so, altered the outcome.

        When I feel myself getting stuck, I often discover that if I’ll simply surrender to ‘what is’ and let go of my ego’s attachment to the outcome (active acceptance), unforeseen paths and possible solutions seem to appear before my eyes – life becoming a delicate dance between movement, a pause, and a pirouette – either back to center, or towards a new direction altogether.

        Elizabeth, thanks so much for sharing your post here at Heartpath.



  3. One of the most profound kinds of acceptance I’ve witnessed is that of two people who have been married for over 50 years. Someone comments about a fault of one of the couple. The other one says something like “if _______ was to stop being that way (haviing a fault), I wouln’t even recognize ________! (with laughter)” One doesn’t just tolerate the other as being judged wrong, but accepts the other without condition. Carl Rogers, who recommends acceptance in dealing with patients, also recommends what he calls “unconditional positive regard”. I think he’s right.


    1. Acceptance is indeed an important part of any relationship, though I would add that a healthy relationship requires a continual and mutual commitment to growth – of the self, of the other, and of the relationship itself. When the genuine and heartfelt commitment to growth is offered in an environment of loving acceptance of the other, everyone wins.


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