I was once told, “Denial can be a dangerous and deadly thing.” The problem is, when you are stuck in denial, you are the last person to know. As I look back on my life almost two years ago, I think about all the things I was in denial about: the fact that my career was over, that I had actually been arrested, that I had to confront my friends and family, that I had a problem, and that my life as I knew it was going to change completely. For me, it would have been so much easier to crawl into a hole, stay stuck in my denial, and give up on living. However, acceptance is what saved my life.
If you asked me now how I was able to accept all these traumatic changes in my life I don’t even think I’d be able to answer. What I do know is that acceptance happened through a lot of time, tears, and work. By no means was I able to wake up one day and be in full acceptance of my past, and there was really no specific moment when I realized I was moving from denial to acceptance. It is a process you don’t notice in the moment but, looking back, you realize how hard you have worked.
So how did I know I had found acceptance, and that I was allowing my higher power to work in my life? I was more at peace than ever before. Each day, because of the work I was doing, I was able to feel peace in the chaos. A life full of acceptance, acceptance of myself, my past, other people and situations, allows me to find happiness where before I found despair and anxiousness.
The art of acceptance is a lifelong gift that must be worked on every moment. Every day, I come across something I need to accept, whether it’s people or situations. The difference today is, I know how to do it. I know I am able to accept things that upset or displease me, and that doesn’t make me a weak person. On the contrary, being accepting of other people, places, and situations makes me the strongest person I’ve ever been.
And so I leave you with this:
“And acceptance is the answer to all of my problems today …. Nothing, absolutely nothing, happens in God’s world by mistake …. I need to concentrate not so much on what needs to be changed in the world as on what needs to be changed in me and in my attitudes” (BB pg. 417).