Re: What is Acceptance, Anyway?

In response to a post by ew0k, who has given Gemini space a lot of good food for thought lately:

What is Acceptance, Anyway?

As I grow older my past becomes more. More of everything, including things that I'd rather have undone. But the past can't be changed. So I've been told that I need to "accept" it. It's just that nobody has been able to explain what that even means.

kayvr's response

kayvr offered a perspective that acceptance comes down to "responding actively to your feelings by feeling them... responding actively to your thoughts by thinking them." Entering into the moment, in other words, rather than evaluating it as an outsider. It's an important component of mental health, but I don't think it really hits the ethical nature of ew0k's concern. If the reality of the situation at the moment is bad -- and not just that it makes me feel bad, but that it's wrong and hurtful or even destructive -- why _should_ I accept that?

What I can offer is the idea that you can only "accept" what you lack the power to change. Your decisions are your responsibility, and I don't think it's appropriate at all to "accept" a wrong decision in the moment of making it. But there is a lot more in life that people know we cannot change:

I would define "accepting" something as recognizing that it is bad and that, if it were in our power to change it, we should and would. However, because we can't, we focus on rightly responding to its consequences, and (if it was our decision) rightly making similar decisions in the future.

I would contrast "accepting" something with three alternatives:

This explains the abstract definition of "acceptance," but I recognize that applying it presents two questions:

I'm curious to hear if anyone has a different definition of "acceptance" in the ethical sense (potentially obviating these questions), and what people propose as answers to the questions.

I'll add that as a Christian, I believe that the answers are found in Jesus. His death and resurrection provide the opportunity for us to repent of our sins and for them to be forgiven, and his teachings (and those of the apostles and prophets) guide us in what is our responsibility and what is not. And beyond that, his promise to return and make all things new (including us) offers hope that "accepting" things is not merely sweeping them under the rug, but that they are part of his plan to bring about the ultimate good.

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