-The action of consenting to receive or undertake something offered.
-The process or fact of being received as adequate, valid, or suitable.
-Agreement with or belief in an idea or explanation.
-Willingness to tolerate a difficult situation.
The internet, and our social media feeds are full of wise words milled from philosophers and psychologists and the world’s most wise and humble of folks, quotes telling us that acceptance is the road to happiness, joy, self.
And yet as I look at another picture of another artificial looking landscape, telling me that ‘happiness can exist only in acceptance’ (Orwell), I find myself questioning if this is true, and to what depths of understanding the truth of the statement really holds. The nature of acceptance for me raises many questions of myself and the world of which I’m a part of.
I’m not denying that acceptance in many forms is a way to calm and stillness. I whole-heartedly believe that acceptance of self and those around us is a gift that is given honestly without pause. And yet, I feel it’s a restraint.
If I accept myself for who I am now, then do I deny myself the potential of a good self-questioning?
If I accept that I’ll always be unable to do something, or that I’m at the best of my game, do I limit my capacity to learn?
If I accept you without a thought? What about you do I miss? And what about you do I hide from you, yourself?
I believe that acceptance can lead us to normalise and even ignore situations and events that we should instead stand up and shout about. That acceptance removes our desire to be heard, to fight for the things we believe are right and just and moral. That in acceptance we become stalled and static, frozen, unable to move, blind to possibility and the promises in the tension of change.
Acceptance, as Tolle said, should not be a static state. It should come with a question, a pause, an openness for more.
I hope I’m always able to stand and say ‘No’. That I can continue to be curious about the currents underneath, and driven to ask for better and more. That I can look further than resigned acceptance can offer in both difficult situations and the startlingly good. That I’ll continue to believe in ideas or explanations, and yet always ask; ‘but’ and ‘why’. That I’ll receive facts as valid, or adequate or suitable, for now, but actually never accept the staticness of that at all. That I can receive and undertake something offered, but that means with the whole of me, which means to be able to be flexible, to pause, to search.
There is more to being than acceptance alone can ever answer or offer.
I have the freedom to choose to accept
and the freedom of being able to accept if I choose.
And so in questioning the nature of acceptance, I question what it means to my humanity and my soul.
Acceptance looks like a passive state, but in reality it brings something entirely new into this world. That peace, a subtle energy vibration, is consciousness.