The riddle of acceptance

The spiritual seeker is told frequently that the path is about acceptance. But what actually is acceptance?

If we are in a difficult situation, does it mean we are supposed to accept it, shut up, and carry on?

No! That would be a misunderstanding.

If our feet have grown two sizes too big for our shoes, it would be silly to stay in too small shoes just because acceptance is more ‘spiritual’. We would get new shoes (if possible).

I am in a situation in which I feel exploited. And this  has become more and more unbearable over the last years. For a long time, I tried to adjust a parameter here and there, talked to people, and improved some processes. Isn’t it all about acceptance? Am I not supposed to be the good person and make things work?

But it still sucks.

Finally, during this summer,  my inner pressure reached well above fever pitch. In a showdown with the other involved party, I declared that I will exit this situation and hand the stuff over to someone else.

Boy was that freeing!

The wise inner voice commented,
“This decision has been looong overdue.”

32 thoughts on “The riddle of acceptance

  1. Wearing too small shoes without accepting the growth of your feet is where non acceptance lies. You, my dear, have finally accepted yourself and the other person for where you are NOW… On diverging paths!

    Hold on to that freedom as if your life depended on it; because it does!


    Liked by 3 people

    1. Thanks for your encouraging comment , John. Yes, I will hold on to any freedom that comes from stepping out of that. And, yes, staying in that situation was bad for my health. I have felt that.


  2. There have been times when I thought I was going into a spiritual acceptance of something, only to find myself mad about the very same thing later. I kept “accepting” and soon found a huge pile of resentment under that “ever so spiritual acceptance”. Haha. I think part of it for me was wanting to do the right thing, and the wanting it made me “think” I was accepting, but in truth, I hadn’t. I have to watch that one. I’m glad you got out of that situation. Sometimes acceptance isn’t called for, but action.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Thanks for your comment, Mary. Yes, if we force ourselves to accept, there is resentment.
      I think it boils down to accepting the inner voice of guidance. And if that voice says, “Get out of here!” or “Speak up!” then it is wise to follow that.
      The issue then comes down to how to find out which voice is from truth and which one is from ego. This can be tricky.

      Liked by 2 people

  3. How nice to find a post from you this morning!
    Maybe in your case it was about accepting the present circumstances and seeing the truth as a springboard for action. Sometimes we delude ourselves into saying ” It is not so bad or It will improve or I do not see it clearly.” At a certain point, accepting what is can prepare us for the next “what is.”

    blessings, Linda

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Thanks for your kind comment, Linda.
      Yes, accepting what is can prepare me for the next thing.

      I think it comes down to accepting the direction of the inner voice.
      But since ego can come as wolf in sheep’s clothing, it is not so easy to tell which voice is from guidance.



  4. It is good Karin that you followed your intuition.. Being Spiritual doesn’t mean we are to be walked over and trampled on.. I remember years ago in my own Spiritual Church.. being in such a position. Some times there comes a point where the straw breaks the camels back.. .

    Its liberating and freeing to walk away.. I did so too when I took early retirement.. Enough is Enough.. And that isn’t being selfish. that is being accepting of ‘responsibility to oneself’………..

    Wishing you well in your decision … <3 Love Sue

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Thanks for your comment, Sue, and for sharing your experience.
      That seems to be a challenge for many on this path, or maybe at least for certain personality types.
      The voice of ego is sometimes difficult to distinguish from guidance.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Being spiritual does not, as you discovered, mean you have to accept everything that comes your way without reacting. It means you react mindfully (which you did) and then you move on, having learned something from the experience. Being spiritual and acting on what’s happening are not mutually exclusive. Good post.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Thanks for your comment, Debby.
      Yes, accepting what is and the appropriate action are both necessary.
      It just took me a while to figure out what ‘appropriate’ meant in this particular situation. The voice of ego can come in sheep’s clothing.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I think there are several terms that get bandied about as psychological nostrums Karin, ‘acceptance’ and ‘judgement’ perhaps being chief amongst them. There is nothing morally or philosophically wrong in making judgements about situations, and up to a point, about other people too; in fact it is unavoidable as this is how the brain functions. Similarly with acceptance, then if it is applied falsely, the very opposite of what is intended occurs – we have instead rejected the fact of the matter and in its place cast a dull blanket of feigned equanimity over it.

    With metta, Hariod.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Thanks for your insightful comment, Hariod.
      Yes, there are many concepts in the spiritual teachings that can lead to a trap if it is not understood what they actually mean.
      And acceptance and non-judgment are just two of them.
      Others are free will or no free will, surrender, and the question What would love do?
      For me, this understanding of what they mean comes via testing them in real life and reading stories of others who have tested them.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Acceptance is one of the pinnacles on the spiritual path but often misunderstood. The Serenity Prayer is a good guide post for me. Acceptance is often reached only after every avenue has been pursued for change or betterment to no avail. Other times we just inherently know when acceptance is in order. But often times there is confusion; this is the testing you speak of in the previous comment. If we have a choice to make a circumstance better or free ourselves from a burden, and we do so with no remorse, it wasn’t for us to accept. Sometimes what is questioned as something we should accept is really an exercise for own growth and self-empowerment and in that case, acceptance is just the opposite of what we need on the path.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for your thorough comment which touches many points.
      I agree, the serenity prayer is a good start, (if I could only hear the answer to that question on discernment clearly enough).

      Your points show that you speak from experience, and I agree fully with all of what you wrote.

      I especially like the statement about acceptance vs growth opportunity.

      I’m wondering why it is often difficult to know which decision is right. I think it is because in each of the alternative ways A or B there are egoic reasons as well as non-selfish reasons involved.
      Therfore, it may not be clear-cut , like ‘decision A is fear-based and decision B is love-based.’ But it can be mixed up.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Love this. I just read the November forecast on The Power Path, and the theme was pressure. That we’re going to feel it more than ever before – what doesn’t feel right to us is going to become louder and louder, not so that we can accept it, but move into a bigger space. We’re birthing something new! Much love, Aleya

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Thanks for your comment and for mentioning the forecast. That article sounds like November is going to be a challenging month.
      I do feel the pressure. Fascinating that it is the same for many people.
      I often observed here at WP how the same topics come up for different people. For example, during a certain time many were blogging about major disappointments or losses. Another time, many were blogging about the subject of time and timelines and time travel. Again at another time, many were pushed to come out of hiding with their first picture, voice recording, or video.
      I find it fascinating to see the similarities.


      Liked by 1 person

  9. Beautiful, Karin! And yes, I agree, how timely that we often write about similar things at similar times. I also just had a chance to learn this lesson, to stand up for myself, to realize I had veered off the true path for myself. It can be tricky, for sure! For me, what it comes down to most often is realizing that fear was the main (yet hidden) motivator for making a choice that was less than ideal for myself. And bravery is needed in order to return to peace that gets me out of it. Blessings my friend and thank you!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks for your kind comment, Martha.
      Yes, if fear is the hidden motivator, then it is from ego. And fear can be hidden. The ego can come as wolf in sheep’s clothing. But finding the fear is a good approach for discernment, I agree.
      Thanks for sharing your experience here.


  10. Hello Karin,

    I like to think of acceptance as being as much or more about internal feelings than external situations. For instance, it can be really hard for us to accept ourselves, as we are, and that our desires and preferences are natural and good. We’re so caught up in trying to be an “ideal version” of ourselves, and in this process, as Hariod noted, we ironically reject what is actually in need of acceptance. In another paradox, when we accept ourselves– our intuition, our needs, our vulnerability, our humanity, our uncertainty– then the things we so often do to cover these over and make our lives tolerable become less meaningful… and fall away… And the truth within us has the space in which to unfold…

    I’m glad you spoke up! It is so hard to do, especially when we are conflicted internally about who we are and who we “should be”…

    Many Blessings!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks for your thoughtful comment, Michael.
      I think acceptance can be of both , internal feelings and external circumstances, in case they are really unchangeable.
      But it is certainly important to place the focus more on the acceptance of the internal state as this so often misunderstood when the teachings speak of acceptance.
      And, yes, we need to accept what we are, with our needs, characteristics, and seeming imperfections.

      I’ve written several times that I notice underlying subjects running through the WP posts. The current underlying subject is ‘overwhelm’. I wonder what that is about when coupled with the subject of acceptance. For some people it will probably be to accept their situation as it is, if the situation cannot be changed.
      For others, it will be an inner uprising of a mighty No! The kind of No! which could lead to a revolution.


      Liked by 1 person

  11. A wonderful and thoughtful post Karen… So pleased you chose freedom for yourself. Sometimes we forget that our situations are part of the roles we play to remember to accept life ‘in each moment’ and be able to choose where we want to go from here, somewhere we feel the joy and freedom of live. Love Barbara x

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I meant to add about the mind that will try and fool us to stay in ‘the drama’ because this is what it loves, but I feel I can always distinguish the voice of my divine self because it feels somehow more loving. Barbara x

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thanks for your kind and thoughtful comment, Barbara.
        That is a great gift that you are able to distinguish the voice of the divine self. This is wonderful.
        I find it can be tricky for me. The decision to exit the situation was encouraged by the higher self. But part of my ego reaction was also to exit this situation. So, the reasons were mixed. And this made it hard to decide for me.
        Best wishes for your journey,

        Liked by 1 person

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