Acceptance leads to mindful change, it is not mindless idleness.
Accepting yourself as you are doesn’t mean that you are in denial about changing yourself. It means you are accepting where you are in life without brutal criticism. Acceptance can give you new insights into the present situation, making you aware of how you can change yourself, rather than waste time trying to change others. To illustrate this, let’s say I meet a skunk on my path, I know, but hear me out. By accepting the skunk as he is, without being judgmental, I probably will see that anger and fear are not my only options. Acceptance reminds me that it’s easier to change myself than to expect the skunk to change. I look at him and decide to slowly and silently back away. The skunk is satisfied and I’m still smelling good. I haven’t judged the skunk as good or bad, instead I have accepted him as he naturally is and changed myself. If I deny that the skunk may spray me and I charge full speed ahead believing I am mysteriously immune to its nature, I’ll probably be unpleasantly surprised. By choosing to change my mind instead of changing others, I can access new ideas which will affect positive change in the situation. Acceptance does not lead to stagnation, rather it leads to intelligent assessments and creative solutions. It seems counter intuitive, but it is not.
We’ve all heard the saying about hindsight giving us 20/20 vision. The practice of acceptance brings better clarity and insight into the present situation. Maps have those little arrows saying, you are here, that’s acceptance. Once you accept the fact of where you currently are, then you can choose to change your course of action, if you want to. If I stubbornly refuse to see where I currently am, then I probably won’t be able to get where I really want to go. The practice of Acceptance leads to new options and that makes us more optimistic.
The practice of acceptance and tolerance reminds us that we are all agents of change. Remembering this, the next time our path meets with opposition we may be able to avoid decisions which make us smell of anger and retaliation. Acceptance reduces anger and anxiousness, creating the opportunity for positive change to occur. Acceptance inspires us to create new ways of implementing positive change, while tolerance gives us the strength to endure those changes.
Peace be with you, Namaste