Una's Blog


Happiness 4. Acceptance

by Una Hearne

Acceptance is the final stage of the process of coming to terms with major life events. The Grief Cycle (denial, anger, bargaining, depression/ grief, acceptance) is familiar to most of us and is a useful framework although we don’t go through it in a nice linear organised way. We bounce around the different feelings until we somehow get through it.

The reason acceptance is so important is that you cannot move forward without it, you can’t get to a better place. If you can’t face the reality of what has happened to some extent you risk getting stuck in resentment/ anger/ denial. Being in a very negative state for a long time is not healthy and certainly won’t make your experience of life a good one.

Acceptance can be mind-manglingly difficult. Having to accept the current reality as it is, no matter how awful or unwanted the situation – broke, jobless, bereavement, serious illness, homeless, etc. There are no rules, this process is different for all of us, and for all events. It takes as long as it takes. You can even experience acceptance quite early and move on in some way, finding later that more grief or anger comes up and needs to be dealt with. Acceptance is one of the hardest life lessons we all have to learn. Good news – if you have done it before, you know you can do it again which makes it easier. Either way, we all find we can do it, no matter how impossible and unfair it seems at first. We find strength we didn’t think we had.

Acceptance does not mean giving in or giving up. It simply means accepting what is. And accepting all of your feelings about it. Acceptance gives you the opportunity to make your future better. What do you want instead of this situation? What do you want to feel instead of what you are feeling? There is no better place or time to start than here and now. After all there is no other place you can start from. As soon as you start taking steps – tiny steps – towards what you want you will begin to feel better. Maybe not much better, but better. And that’s enough.

When you are going through any big life events it is really important to be your own best friend. Be extremely gentle with yourself, don’t require more of yourself than you are capable of today. Self-care is even more important during the tough times. Not just because you deserve it, but also because it is the quickest and healthiest way through.


Pic credit: johnhain. Found on pixabay

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