Do we, ‘normal’ human beings, have secret powers that we can tap into to make this world a better place? Batman’s power lies in discipline, money and channelizing anger. Superman has unbelievable amount of physical strength. Iron man is a genius and a billionaire. Spiderman can sense danger, scale walls etc. What kind of superhuman powers do we all have? One of them is the power of acceptance. For me, acceptance is the first step towards happiness. Why? Most of us cannot live in the present which robs away our happiness. Practically speaking, we cannot make a quantum leap. What we can do is… start accepting our present situation.
When we hear the word ‘acceptance’ we tend to think of ‘losers’, people who make excuses for not doing things, those who don’t want to bring a change either in themselves or the society etc. But in reality, those who make a change are actually those who ACCEPT things for what they are. This sounds absurd, right? So a woman fighting for her rights accepts that she has no freedom and is okay with it?
Most of us confuse idealism with acceptance. Acceptance is opposite of idealism! We are taught that we should accept people for what they are but most of the time, we are unable to do so. We therefore curse ourselves for our failure. But this is NOT acceptance! Acceptance isn’t just about accepting others for who they are: it is also accepting yourself for who you are. What it means is that if you are unable to accept others, accept that you cannot accept them! Only this acceptance can create the ground for change.
Usually, we do not accept others and we do not accept ourselves for not accepting them. This creates resistance and blocks all our energy. Let’s go back to the person fighting for freedom. You would probably ask her to stop ‘accepting’ shit. I would say, stop ‘resisting’. Why? If you want freedom you have to accept the fact that lack of freedom is a problem for you and then peacefully negotiate or demand freedom. But if you keep resisting your inability to accept the lack of freedom, then you will do NOTHING about it.
We are angry. But we are taught that anger is bad. Now, you can neither be angry, nor can you overcome your anger. So, you become a hypocrite: you are angry but you try to show that you are not. This leads to more and more self-hatred because really… who would respect a hypocrite?
Another example: You are depressed. But you try very hard not to be depressed which is okay but if you fail in your attempts to get out of depression, you will be more depressed. You resist depression and at the same time, you do not accept your resistance to depression. This resistance doesn’t let you live your life fully. Like they say, what you resist persists. When you accept your depression and ALSO accept your resistance to it, your mind will be more peaceful and give you better solutions. Why? Because there is clarity.
Those who change things: be it activists who bring a social change or those who bring a monetary change or those who bring a spiritual change are those who accept their non-acceptance. What does this mean? You are unhappy with the poverty in the world. So you are unable to accept the world for what it is. People who try to do their bit for poverty are those who accept their inability to accept the world. Once they do this, they focus on actions and THAT’S why they bring a change. What people normally do is:
a. deny that there is poverty or justify it
b. resist it and resist their resistance. They just complain and wait for others to do something about poverty
Now a question pops up: what if we accept a wrong thing in us and justify a wrong doing? The answer is: If you truly accept yourself, you won’t really do something that would harm others. In fact, all the harm is done by people who resist. Here’s the difference:
The accepting person: “I am selfish and I accept this.This is the truth. I’m not ashamed of being selfish. It’s okay to be imperfect. I want to change but right now I’m selfish and that’s okay.”
The resisting person: “I am NOT selfish! I am such a noble person. I don’t even have an ego. People make so many mistakes and I accept them unconditionally!”
Who is more likely to harm people?
Acceptance is a hidden superpower that we all can use for inner peace, change and better relationships. The first step in developing this superpower is accepting your non-acceptance. Here’s the best part: when you start accepting yourself for your non-acceptance, you will automatically start accepting others.