Why Accepting Is The Answer to Most of Your Life’s Problems (Plus 35 Acceptance Quotes)

“Happiness can only exist in acceptance.”
George Orwell

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I believe that the much needed quality we all haven’t developed that can make our life easier, is acceptance.

I’m talking about the ability to accept things that can’t be changed, to be okay with what was in the past and let it be, to accept the uncertainty of the future and the imperfection of the present.

Because only this way can you actually let go of the anger, stress, anxiety, hatred, depression, disappointment, guilt, etc. in order to let in the freedom, beauty, inspiration, peace and joy that are everywhere around you.

The Real Meaning of Acceptance

You see, the way we live life is a matter of choice.

We can either be in a constant battle, trying to fight our true selves and focusing on our bad sides, trying to change the people around us, being unhappy with the way things turn out, etc.
Or, we can appreciate everyone – especially ourselves – for who they are, without judging. We can be alright and believe that things are perfect just the way they are in that exact moment. And – yes – they will be different in the next, but will still be perfect.

The second approach to life is the healthy, positive, peaceful and successful one.

I think that the older we get, the more we start accepting everything and everyone around us. Because we see it’s the only way to keep living without so much stress and overthinking.

And I’m not saying stop trying to improve yourself. No! I’m all about personal development, testing your limits and achieving more.

But also, when it doesn’t work, accept it and move on to the next thing. When you fail or make a crucial mistake, be okay with it. Accept it for the experience and lesson it is. And go do it better this time.

That’s the real definition of acceptance.

It’s the opposite of change and struggle. It means being absolutely okay with things the way they are – still trying to make the best of what you have, but without changing it or putting too much effort, without a feeling of unfairness or dissatisfaction, but by just going with the flow.

Examples of Acceptance in Real Life

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  1. Did you know that to this day my dad gets angry whenever the light turns red right in front of him when driving? Even if it’s only 1 out of 5 times or so…

How ridiculous is that!

Seeing that from my point of view – and not being the driver – makes me realize how we ourselves bring stress in our life with little daily situations like these.

Again, it’s all a matter of choice.

The realization that you can do nothing but wait a minute or two for the green light to come, and accepting that, is the only solution to experiencing this moment. Anything else will be connected with anger, worries, bad mood and other negative emotions.

Stuff like that can ruin your whole day if you react this way to every other thing that you don’t want to happen.

  1. Is it winter already? Well, let’s accept it and make the best of it then. It’s much better than constantly complaining about the cold and wishing it was summer again.

Because when it comes, many just start being dissatisfied with the heat. And it’s the same story all over again.

What’s the part of the year that you are okay with then?

And that’s a kind of a lifestyle. This approach to life makes us miserable. Our inability to accept what can’t be changed turns our days into dreadful battles.

But we can always do something about it.

How to Accept: Learning to Be Okay with Things The Way They Are

1. Focus on what you have.

Truth is we all have much more than we realize. If we actually look around and notice the small and the big things, the ones we take for granted every single day, we’ll feel abundant.

2. Be content with it.

Now realize that it’s just enough to make you happy. And appreciate it. Thank for it every morning and find time for the people in your life, the things you love doing, the opportunities that come your way, etc.

3. Forgive yourself.

In order to accept yourself for who you are – and thus receive a chance to become a better version of yourself regardless of your past mistakes – you’ll have to be compassionate.

Know that the past is gone, there’s nothing you can do about it. And if you don’t let go of it, together with all the burden it carries, you’ll never be free to truly experience new things.

So be okay with who you’ve been before, even if you considered yourself a bad person, or not good enough. Let that be your starting line and move forward from here on.

Related: How to Let Go of Grudges and Learn to Forgive

4. Don’t avoid reality.

Yes, we all have problems we want to forget about. And we find different ways to do that.

But even if you don’t want to deal with them right away, you can still be okay with them, accept their existence. That’s not as hard as it sounds.

Keeping them deep inside yourself is much worse and much more unhealthy for your mind and soul.

5. Be present.

Awareness is not our strongest quality these days.

We’re always in a rush, thinking about yesterday (usually with regrets) or worrying about what tomorrow might bring. It appears that it’s never as bad as we imagine it to be, though.

Related: Letting Go of Past and Future

So try to stop every now and then. To just take a deep breath and look around you.

Don’t judge, compare, or even think about it. Just see it, feel it, listen to the noises and let things be.

That’s what living in the present moment is all about. It brings clarity, calmness and peace that can be found nowhere else but in this moment.

Enjoy them! That will make it easier for you to accept everything. And to trust the natural flow.

Here’s what Benjamin Hoff says about that in “The Tao of Pooh”:

“Things just happen in the right way, at the right time. At least they do when you let them, when you work with circumstances instead of saying, “This isn’t supposed to be happening this way,” and trying hard to make it happen some other way. If you’re in tune with The Way Things Work, then they work the way they need to, no matter what you may think about it at the time. Later on, you can look back and say, “Oh, now I understand. That had to happen so that those could happen, and those had to happen in order for this to happen. . . .” Then you realize that even if you’d tried to make it all turn out perfectly, you couldn’t have done better, and if you’d really tried, you would have made a mess of the whole thing.”

And here are some wise words by famous people that can inspire you and give you a sense of why trying to change things and people is not always the best idea:

35 Quotes on Acceptance

quotes on acceptance

  1. Be willing to have it so. Acceptance of what has happened is the first step to overcoming the consequences of any misfortune. – William James
  1. The first step toward change is awareness. The second step is acceptance. – Nathaniel Branden
  1. 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. – Eckhart Tolle
  1. Panic causes tunnel vision. Calm acceptance of danger allows us to more easily assess the situation and see the options. – Simon Sinek
  1. We are mindful of desire when we experience it with an embodied awareness, recognizing the sensations and thoughts of wanting as arising and passing phenomena. While this isn’t easy, as we cultivate the clear seeing and compassion of Radical Acceptance, we discover we can open fully to this natural force, and remain free in its midst. – Tara Brach
  1. The keys to patience are acceptance and faith. Accept things as they are, and look realistically at the world around you. Have faith in yourself and in the direction you have chosen. – Ralph Marston
  1. I surround people in unconditional acceptance and love to such a degree that everything that is unloving about them rises to the surface.- Iyanla Vanzant
  1. It’s important to remember that the animals are not grieving with us. They’re very accepting. They’re not lying there thinking ‘How could you do this to me? Why aren’t you keeping me going?’ Pets don’t do the human things of guilt and anger and recrimination that we do. They come and go with great acceptance. – Jon Katz
  1. I’m not wise, but the beginning of wisdom is there; it’s like relaxing into – and an acceptance of – things. – Tina Turner
  1. What I’m trying to do is get a change in the mindset so people move from a level of mere tolerance to total acceptance and eventually to celebrate diversity. If you feel comfortable with one another, it doesn’t matter whether we live in which neighbourhood but we can interact with one another freely. It’s a mindset. – Najib Razak
  1. The best you can sometimes do is learn to take a breath, count to ten and simply accept that try as you might, no, your husband will never, ever learn not to drop a wet towel on the bed. That acceptance too counts as resolving a fight. – Jeffrey Kluger
  1. What we need is not more distrust and division. What we need now is acceptance. – Tom Daschle
  1. Acceptance of one’s life has nothing to do with resignation; it does not mean running away from the struggle. On the contrary, it means accepting it as it comes, with all the handicaps of heredity, of suffering, of psychological complexes and injustices. – Paul Tournier
  1. When you invoke the agent of change called acceptance, you must accept all that you are, all that you’ve been, and all that you will be in the future. – Debbie Ford
  1. These years in silence and reflection made me stronger and reminded me that acceptance has to come from within and that this kind of truth gives me the power to conquer emotions I didn’t even know existed. – Ricky Martin
  1. The five stages – denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance – are a part of the framework that makes up our learning to live with the one we lost. They are tools to help us frame and identify what we may be feeling. But they are not stops on some linear timeline in grief. – Elisabeth Kubler-Ross
  1. We are deeply conditioned against unconditionality because we’ve been told in a thousand different ways that accomplishment always precedes acceptance, that achievement always precedes approval. – Tullian Tchividjian
  1. In world mythology, there are countless examples of tragic characters whose greatest strength is also the source of their undoing. But the ancient Greeks and Romans also held the view that acceptance is the beginning of wisdom. – Simon Van Booy
  1. Even the acceptance of personal responsibility may not overcome the temptation to believe that now is not the time to repent. ‘Now’ can seem so difficult, and ‘later’ appear so much easier. The truth is that today is always a better day to repent than any tomorrow. – Henry B. Eyring
  1. Acceptance of what has happened is the first step to overcoming the consequences of any misfortune. – William James
  1. The art of acceptance is the art of making someone who has just done you a small favor wish that he might have done you a greater one. – Martin Luther King, Jr.
  1. I used to love people for what they could be. I thought love was how hard you tried and how much you sacrificed and suffered. That is not love. Acceptance is. – Michael Learned
  1. And as I stumbled onto Eastern philosophy and Buddhism, it was the first time I had ever read any sort of philosophy that really made a tremendous amount of sense. What I liked that was missing from my experience of Christianity growing up was a sort of acceptance, a sort of being OK with being imperfect and not focusing on the sin. – Alan Ball
  1. Attitude is your acceptance of the natural laws, or your rejection of the natural laws. – Stuart Chase
  1. Human material seems to have one major defect: it does not like to be considered merely as human material. It finds it hard to endure the feeling that it must resign itself to passive acceptance of changes introduced from above. – Czeslaw Milosz
  1. Acceptance is not love. You love a person because he or she has lovable traits, but you accept everybody just because they’re alive and human. – Albert Ellis
  1. Acceptance is different than apathy. It is important to strive to be your best self, your healthiest, most productive, joyful self. But that is going to be a different answer to everyone. – Teri Hatcher
  1. I found that laughter was a form of acceptance, and I really enjoyed that and I just – I crave it. – Gabriel Iglesias
  1. When it’s open and honest, that’s when the real nature of who you are as a vocalist or as a performer, all of that stuff can finally start to become what it’s supposed to be. Like a settling into yourself. It’s not even a musical thing, it’s a whole mindset, a whole acceptance of who you were supposed to be. Life sounds good. – Alison Krauss
  1. My happiness grows in direct proportion to my acceptance, and in inverse proportion to my expectations. – Michael J. Fox
  1. Any natural, normal human being, when faced with any kind of loss, will go from shock all the way through acceptance. – Elisabeth Kubler-Ross
  1. For me, art really starts with acceptance, self trust. Wherever you come to with art, it’s perfect. You don’t have to come with anything. What you bring to something is the art. That’s where it’s found. It’s found within you. – Jeff Koons
  1. Acceptance and tolerance and forgiveness, those are life-altering lessons. – Jessica Lange
  1. One has to accept pain as a condition of existence. One has to court doubt and darkness as the cost of knowing. One needs a will stubborn in conflict, but apt always to the total acceptance of every consequence of living and dying. – Morris West
  1. Many people think of perfectionism as striving to be your best, but it is not about self-improvement; it’s about earning approval and acceptance. – Brene Brown

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So what’s your opinion on all that? Are you trying to change people and events, or are you alright with what life throws at you? How do you deal with failures and past mistakes? How do you practice acceptance?

See also:

Unconditional Acceptance of Yourself
The Power of Acceptance: Stop Resisting and Find the Lesson
6 Tips For Accepting Failure and Moving On
Accept What Is — Don’t Judge as Good or Bad

Lidiya K

Lidiya K

Author, blogger and podcaster in the fields of self-improvement and life hacking. Creator of Let's Reach Success.
Full-time freelance writer. Lifestyle designer.
Lidiya K

4 Comments

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  1. Hi Lidiya,

    This is a tremendous article blending your own take on things with a great list of quotes.

    I agree that as we get older we become more tolerant and accepting of circumstances. I often wish I knew what I know now twenty years ago.

    I’ve often tortured myself by thinking back to the time when my Dad was terminally ill. Should I have called more often, spent more time with him, could I have done more? Why didn’t I do such and such?

    And you know what? In time, acceptance helped me deal with grief and loss.

    It was the way it was. A few hours more here and there spent with Dad wouldn’t have made any difference in the context of our whole lives and to dwell on it will never bring about change.

    Guilt over the past throws away the present moment. Acceptance doesn’t mean we lie down and accept injustice. It means we need to be at peace with circumstances we cannot change.

    Best Wishes,

    Alan

    1. Wow, Alan, fantastic comment. Thank you for sharing the personal example. Acceptance really does help deal with grief and loss.

      Best,
      Lidiya

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