Why Is Acceptance So Hard?


I’ve been struggling with acceptance lately. I’ve never been one of those people who can just say “Whatever!” to a situation or person and walk away. I want to understand the situation, or understand why someone is feeling or acting a certain way. I suppose I’ve always been sensitive to others reactions to me. And, of course, I always tend to think it’s my fault if they’re angry or upset.

The idea of acceptance was and continues to be a huge part of my recovery. Mainly, because the reaction I had to situations and my perceived notions about others often caused me to drink. In early recovery, I learned (and accepted) that my behavior had been totally self-centered.  Well, surprise! Your character defects (as we refer to them in recovery) don’t just go away once you get sober – you actually have to deal with them!

The truth is, I can be very self-centered at times. I obsess about how others react to me (or don’t react) and am positive I must be the main source of their discontentment or anger. And, as much as I want someone to change, to be a different person and act a different way, I have a very hard time accepting them as they are.

I’ve gotten better – way better since getting sober. But, I still struggle. I still want some people close to me to be a certain way – a way I know in my heart they will never be. I want them to say certain things, do certain things, ask certain things – things that will make ME feel better. Again, it usually comes back to me and how THEY are making ME feel.

For me, acceptance means accepting people and situations as they are right now – as God intends them to be. The only person I have power over is myself, and even that is very limited. As much as I would like to at times, I do not control the universe (which would be very scary!). Each day, I pray that I can be the best person God wants me to be. Nothing more, nothing less – just me.

Acceptance is hard – it’s really hard. But, through acceptance I have experienced a sense of peace and contentment that I have never known before. When I truly give it up to God, and say “Okay, this is not about me,” it gives me room to be the kind, loving and encouraging person I want to be.

And, most of all I accept this journey I’m on – this imperfect journey of acceptance.