Learning to Exemplify Self-Acceptance
By Jini Li, January 13, 2017
When a person has attained the virtue of acceptance, they exercise other virtues, too, like awareness, generosity, consideration, flexibility, forgiveness, tolerance, forbearance, supportiveness, understanding, patience, trust, trustworthiness, love and compassion.
Acceptance as a virtue has two environmental facets. One is an acceptance of people; the other is an acceptance of circumstances.
Practicing acceptance with people is synonymous with practicing love. It’s accepting a person regardless of what they have done. When a person practices acceptance of another person, the other person feels acknowledged and adequate. It’s like a boost of confidence and self-assurance. Acceptance builds self-esteem. Acceptance embraces.
Acceptance of circumstances is accomplishable by being able to see things from multiple perspectives, and understanding that there are always aspects that remain unseen. This understanding allows the person peace of mind, and a gentle and generous nature. They are foreseeing and forgiving. They are like a well-rooted tree in a storm, sure and steadfast. They face adversity calmly with avid trust and confidence.
A person who practices acceptance does not waste energy on resistance or fighting. This person sees the end in the beginning, and sees present circumstances as transitional. They see all people as a part of the whole, and every person is equal to the next. Differences do not vex a person who has mastered acceptance. On the contrary, an accepting person appreciates differences. They are undisturbed by happenings in the world and differences in opinion. They understand that truth always rises to the surface. The virtue of acceptance is not synonymous with apathy or indifference. It does not mean that a person does not have an opinion. Rather, it recognizes a time and a place for everything. Acceptance is active, positive energy.
Acceptance is like acquiescence. The summer acquiesces to the fall. The fall to the winter, and the winter to the spring. Acquiescence is recognition of the transitional, changing nature of all things. It is knowing that everything that happens contains a lesson, however wrong or meaningless it may seem at the time.
Without acceptance, without acquiescence, a person who reluctantly resigns to circumstances and people harbors resentment and impatience. This causes a person to become apathetic and to feel helpless and disappointed. These feelings can fester and come out in different forms, such as passive aggressive behavior.
Acceptance requires perception with freedom from bias, and an ability to see reality and not despise it. In this recognition, people will do what comes natural to them, but without acting forcefully. It can be likened unto a moderator. It neutralizes disdain and counterbalances hate. It balances unstable emotions. It calms.
Practicing acceptance yields the ability to be non-reactive and non-defensive. It causes people to think before they act and consider long-reaching, smarter, more effective and efficient responses to people and circumstances. Acceptance allows things to transpire naturally.
Acceptance disputes denial. It forces us to accept the reality of our situation. It causes us to respond to an unwanted situation with, “Alright. I didn’t want this to happen, but it did. This is where I am now.” Accepting present conditions provides a place from which to move forward.
Acceptance prevents resentment. When a person is unable to accept something or someone, it is often because of a personal preconception. If another person does something that someone has preconceived as being negative, it can cause that someone to begin to feel resentment towards the other person and may even result in aggression. Looking at positive aspects of the person or situation can help turn reluctance to accept into acceptance.
Acceptance encompasses self-acceptance without allowing self-pity or becoming defined by traumatic events. Acceptance helps us move forward from where we are and who we are.