Acceptance is not resignation. That’s a phrase that’s curiously popped up for me from a few different sources this past week–on a Facebook meme, in a guided meditation, in an email newsletter. I’d say it’s synchronicity in action.
And I reflect on what that might mean in my uncomfortable situation of not yet knowing what exactly is the nature of the tumor in my eye and how it could be treated.
First, I looked at the most relevant dictionary meaning of each word for clues.
Acceptance -the fact of accepting a difficult or unpleasant situationCambridge Dictionary
In this context, to accept means to acknowledge and embrace the reality of a situation. That involves recognizing that there are conditions in life we have no power to change, but can look for positive ways to move forward with an open mind and heart. Acceptance implies inner peace, as I wrote in my post about surrendering.
Resignation – a sad feeling of accepting something that you do not like because you cannot easily change itCambridge Dictionary
These definitions aren’t helpful in making the nuanced distinction needed between the two words to make sense of the phrase. In fact, several thesauruses list them as synonyms. Nope.
Only the words a sad feeling point to the difference, giving resignation a more negative connotation. It implies giving up or yielding without finding resolution or peace. A sense of defeat or hopelessness may accompany resignation.
Acceptance is not resignation suggests that while acceptance is a conscious choice to acknowledge and make peace with a situation, resignation entails a more passive or defeated stance. It emphasizes that accepting a situation does not mean giving up or resigning oneself to a sense of powerlessness.
The desire for a more positive experience is itself a negative experience. And, paradoxically, the acceptance of one’s negative experience is itself a positive experience.– Mark Manson
As I wait to get diagnostic testing done and the results, the phrase encourages me to continue meeting the challenges ahead by embracing reality and to think of proactive ways I can stay positive. By accepting this uncertainty with calm, I make it a positive experience.
To embody the concept of acceptance rather than resignation, here are ten perspectives and approaches I’ve adopted during this trying time:
- I focus on what I can control. I make healthy lifestyle choices, maintain a positive outlook, and actively participate in my healthcare decisions.
- I stay informed. I read medical papers and educate myself as much as I can about my medical condition, without trying to outsmart my doctors.
- I nurture my support team. Beyond providing me practical help, my honey, family, and friends are a tremendous emotional support.
- I stay in the present moment. I take each day as it comes, cherishing the beauty around me and finding joy in little things, like watching a huge murder of crows fly daily by my window.
- I express my feelings freely. My emotions are mostly well-regulated, yet I have safe spaces to voice frustration or sadness, as well as joy and enthusiasm.
- I enjoy having a naturally sunny disposition. Having a good sense of humor is important to me; I find things to laugh about daily. I smile and make sincere (however brief) contact with strangers.
- I maintain a positive mindset. I see acceptance as a positive choice rather than a defeat. I choose to face the challenges ahead with resilience and self-compassion.
- I seek physical affection. I’m a touchy-feely kind of person, and luckily, so is my honey. We hug, hold hands, and touch a lot, elevating our level of oxytocin and reducing cortisol.
- I engage in meaningful activities. Writing this blog, working with my clients, capturing the brilliant fall colors with my camera, and sharing beauty in social media all make me happy.
- I set realistic expectations. I understand profoundly that life is not a straight line, and it’s okay to have moments when things just suck.
I know that everyone’s journey is unique, and there’s no one-size-fits-all approach. It’s crucial to find what works best for you. You may find comfort in mindful techniques or meditation practices. And if you find yourself struggling, whatever your situation, don’t hesitate to reach out to mental health professionals or support groups that specialize in coping with medical challenges.
If you are going through anything similar, what might you add to my list? How do you achieve acceptance in a crappy situation?
The appearance of this phrase from different sources in a short period may be a meaningful coincidence, synchronicity. I take it as a reminder to keep a balance between accepting the (sometimes cruel) realities of life and actively engaging with them. I will never resign myself to a passive acceptance of circumstances.
I am not what happened to me, I am what I choose to become.– Carl Jung
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