Acceptance Vs Action

Acceptance Vs Action

Acceptance Vs Action

In this week’s Success Newsletter, I would like to discuss the significance and meaning of Acceptance Versus Action; when to fight and when to receive.

First a quick update:

“Key to inner peace”
We all want the same thing – inner peace. We all have our own definitions of inner peace and, we all face the same one obstacle to achieving inner peace. Watch the video.

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Now, let’s talk about the significance and meaning of Acceptance Versus Action; when to fight and when to receive.

“There are two things a person should never be angry at, what they can help, and what they cannot.” – Plato

The above quote by Plato offers the key to being able to distinguish between when it is time to take action and when it is time to offer acceptance: can you change it or can you not?

In the 2003 motion picture “Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl”, Johnny Depp plays Jack Sparrow, a pirate and captain. In one scene, Captain Jack Sparrow has to enlist the services and help of William Turner (Orlando Bloom) to sail a ship. William Turner hates pirates and has been training all his life to battle and capture pirates. He is not aware that his father was a pirate until Sparrow reveals it to him.

The only rules that really matter are these: what a man can do and what a man can’t do. For instance, you can accept that your father was a pirate and a good man or you can’t. But pirate is in your blood, boy, so you’ll have to square with that some day. And me, for example, I can let you drown, but I can’t bring this ship into Tortuga all by me onesie, savvy? So, can you sail under the command of a pirate, or can you not? – Jack Sparrow:

In both cases, the quote by Plato and the quote by Sparrow, the point is made to discern clearly what you can control and what you can’t control.

Once you are clear about the difference, then it is time to take action to change – control that which you can control and accept the things that you cannot change or control.

The dictionary defines ‘accept’ as: to receive willingly; to give admittance or approval to; to endure without protest or reaction; to regard as proper, normal, or inevitable; to recognize as true.

Such a simple and eloquent principle about when to take action to change a result and when to accept, can still be confusing as well as difficult.

Here are some pointers.

Areas of Acceptance:

1. People
The first and greatest downfall is the refusal to accept that we cannot change other people; we can help, support, push, influence, motivate or inspire others but we cannot change them. Even when we do the actions listed above, it is still their choice about how they will respond or react to us. You can also choose to accept people but not continue in a relationship with them i.e. you accept who they are and accept that they might not be healthy for you or suited to you in a relationship.

2. Death
Is it obvious? We all suffer from grief at the loss of a loved one, but we must also accept death as inevitable and thus learn to embrace and live life to its fullest. “The acceptance of death gives you more of a stake in life, in living life happily, as it should be lived. Living for the moment.” – Musician Sting

3. Old Age
Today we are obsessed with youth and obsessed with staying young and looking young. We waste energy and resources trying to stop the inevitable, rather than taking action to control and steer things over which we have power – mind, thoughts, beliefs, attitudes and emotional intelligence. And yes, we can still focus on our physical health and wellbeing. See below.

4. Family
Family fits under the category of people, but it warrants a section on its own because some people learn to accept others while still trying to change family – parents, siblings, children and so forth. Until you can accept your family, you cannot find peace. Again, as stated above, if a member of your family is abusive, toxic or destructive towards you, then you can accept them, place your boundaries but also choose not to engage with them if need be.

5. Life actually
Not everything in our life will turn out the way we planned or hoped. There will be illnesses, accidents, surprise events and situations beyond our conscious control. Maybe we didn’t get the promotion, the raise, the boyfriend, the marriage proposal, the house or something else we wanted and expected. Again, if you cannot change it, then it can only be accepted.

“My happiness grows in direct proportion to my acceptance, and in inverse proportion to my expectations.

Acceptance is the key to everything.

Which isn’t to say that I’m resigned to it, or that I’ve given up on it, or that I don’t think I have any effect on the outcome of it. It’s just that, as a reality, I get it.” – Michael J. Fox interview with Scott Raab/Esquire magazine, 2007 revealing his perspective on Parkinson’s disease.

Areas of action

1. Lower expectations
Above, I mentioned learning to accept others; learning to accept that you cannot control or change anyone else. The key to achieving that is also about lowering your expectations and, clearly identifying people’s limits – their weaknesses, personality and experiences. I am not promoting that you lower your standards nor am I saying to allow others to treat you poorly. Rather, I am saying set realistic expectations for other people. And beware of wishing someone was a certain way or would be a certain way; do they want the same thing as you? Also read my article: The Pygmalion Effect (how to help people achieve excellence by expecting the best of them).

2. Personal health
Michael J. Fox was diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease. He accepted that he has the disease, but, he takes action on a daily basis to take care of himself the best way he can while still looking for a cure, and; he takes action to keep living his life to the fullest. You have some control over your health but not eternal youth.

3. You
Only you can control yourself – your thoughts, feelings, emotions, beliefs, actions and responses. Acknowledge and accept your feelings; don’t deny them and take the appropriate action in response to them. You have more inner strength than you consciously realize. If you experience anger, sadness, depression and so forth, acknowledge the emotions and take action to find harmony and peace.

4. Vigorously pursue your dreams
Never let anyone tell you it’s not possible. Take action on a daily basis to achieve your goals until such time that you decide you want something different in life.

5. Your relationships
Many clients ask me for guidance: “Do I end the relationship or do I keep fighting for it?” The answer is to do all you can to change yourself and if you still see that your partner and the dynamic is not changing and there is no willingness to change where it is critically needed, then you determine whether or not you can accept the relationship or if you need to take action to move to a new beginning.

The above lists of areas of acceptance and areas of action do not represent full or complete lists. They are simply examples. Each one of us needs to take a look at every area of our life and determine where acceptance is applicable & correct and where action is critical.

And if you need help to harness your inner energy and strength to engage acceptance or to take action, consider a one-on-one private session with me. Watch the video here.

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I wish you the best and remind you “Believe in yourself -You deserve the best!”

Patrick Wanis Ph.D.
Celebrity Life Coach, Human Behavior & Relationship Expert & SRTT Therapist

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