Life is a Revelation…be encouraged

Virtue #1 – Acceptance

I have gone to that universally recognized bastion of higher learning and wisdom…Wikipedia, to retrieve this snippet of knowledge…okay actually I just  thought it was a good definition.

Acceptance in human psychology is a person’s assent to the reality of a situation, recognizing a process or condition (often a negative or uncomfortable situation) without attempting to change it, protest, or exit.

Go back and re-read the definition again.

Actually you might want to s-l-o-w-l-y read it a third time.

Notice there is nothing in the definition that prescribes a need to agree with what we are accepting.

I believe therein lies the rub (as my Father was fond of saying). This is where we stumble. We believe if we accept something we must agree with it. Especially as you look at the last portion of the definition “without attempting to change it, protest, or exit.” If we don’t make any attempt to change  or protest isn’t that just basically laying down.

No I don’t think so. We can still talk. We can begin a dialogue. We can enter in and begin to see why a person or situation has developed a certain way. Far more times than I wish to admit I have, on first take, been repulsed, disgusted, or otherwise disagreed strongly, but after closer inspection, I’ve changed my mind.

Why is that? What is it which causes us to have that almost knee-jerk reaction? At times it nearly feels instinctive.

I’ve given this considerable thought over the years and here is what I’ve come up with. I am convinced we must let go of something deep within us.  A thing which gnaws at the root of our thoughts and poisons our reasoning. That thing is fear.

I can nearly hear the screams now…what with the mad fumbling for the mouse so they can scroll down to the bottom of this post, whip off some insightful comments about how this time I have swerved too far into the touchie-feelie world of the ultra left, then hit the POST COMMENT button.

But I’m holding steady on this. Time over time as I’ve talked with friends, co-workers and others, when we have been open, transparent, and honest, I hear about fears.

Maybe the best place to start with acceptance, is with our own fears. The research I have done provides an overwhelming amount of data about how we should overcome our fears. Here again I’m about to go against the flow. I don’t think we should overcome our fears per se. It is my contention we should expose our fears, then use them. Some fears are good fears, such as my fear of burglary (our home has been broken into three times), consequently my wife and I exercise certain precautions. Other fears are not so good, such as fear of success. That fear causes more entrepreneurs to fail and careers to stumble than I ever imagined. Recognizing and acknowledging fear of success (I have it-long story-just trust me) goes along way in harnessing it to my advantage.

Acceptance of fears…try it…let me know how it goes.

Try to keep those toughie-feelie ultra left comments to a minimum…lol…please.

Be encouraged!

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62 thoughts on “Virtue #1 – Acceptance

  1. LadyBlueRose's Thoughts Into Words on said:

    I agree with the fear but I think it is the memory of our reaction that causes the fear to repeat, and our mind is here to protect us so it drags out the memory of fear of what happened before, what could happen again..we get stuck in repeating patterns, easier, we are comfortable with it…
    if we could just learn to stop, think about it and create a knew memory a new reaction….
    sometimes i can, sometimes i can’t…

    this was a good read…
    Take care…

    • Our memories play a pretty strong role in our lives…but one thing one of my (it feels weird to write that) readers (Russell Chapman) pointed out to me is, “the past is the past and all we’ve got is the future”…but it still is very difficult at times to keep the focus going in the right direction.

      Thanks for taking the time to comment…I hope you know I always appreciate it.

      Be encouraged!

  2. I enjoyed reading your essay and thought process and look forward to the next 118 or so. Of course we each bring our own experiences to these discussions. I don’t necessarily see acceptance as agreeing as recognizing that others do agree. The serenity prayer (God, give me the ability to accept what I can’t change…) doesn’t mean the ability to agree. And while I do accept (!) that fear may be a reason for some people, I don’t think it’s necessarily the case. But you are diving head first into serious philosophical topics for which there are no all right or all wrong answers. Have fun, my friend!

    • Hey thanks for taking the to comment. This post took all of one late night and most of an early morning. In fact as I was climbing into bed as the sun peaked over the hill out back, my wife, Susie groggily asked, “One down and only one hundred and eighteen to go, think you’ll make it?”

      I’ve been intrigued by virtues for quite a while. Got even more intrigued when I began talking to my friends about what they thought were virtues. The subject has fueled many a late night (is there a pattern here?) session of debate between us.

      I struggled with my conclusion, and even still do. The problem with writing is, as soon as you hit publish, it feels like it is set in stone. But the concepts continue to grow and change, at least in my mind.

      We’ll see where this goes…have fun!

      Be encouraged!

  3. Jim Cantwell on said:

    this is the third time in as many weeks that I am discussing the “F” word
    fear is essential to us as humans, it means we are not comfortable, something is wrong, which is good for us. I used to fear people not reading what I write or finding it laughable and it held me back with following my dreams, but not anymore it is when we accept our fears for what they are doing for us and that is trying to help us, that we truly succeed. We cannot overcome fear that is a fantasy we merely accept it

    • Hey Jim, I’ve been waiting for your thoughts…I knew you would you comment…and, as always, I’m glad you have.

      Yeah The whole Fear thing is interesting. I’m due to give a speech to a Women’s Professional Development Conference in June and the topic is Overcoming Fear, but the more I get into this the more I’m not so sure “overcoming’ is the right concept. To me it is beginning to feel more like “using” our fears may be more accurate. Our fears are what they are…but to use their tension to propel us forward…now that is an idea!

      Anyway only 118 more to go…yippee…and I’m sure we will have quite a few more conversations along the way.

      Be encouraged!

      • Jim Cantwell on said:

        I climb ladders for a living although I am used to it and very comfortable on a ladder, the fear I used to have at the beginning stays with me in the form of always being aware of where I am, which is crucial 40 feet up haha

      • Jim, make sure you keep that awareness with you at ALL times…we (and I suspect others) need you…

        Be encouraged!

      • Jim Cantwell on said:

        Thanks I appreciate that

      • Jim Cantwell on said:

        would you mind if I reblogged this this week ?

      • Hey Jim, You have my permission to reblog anything I ever write on this blog from now until all of eternity…but thanks for asking, Brother.

        Be encouraged!

      • Jim Cantwell on said:

        Thanks, the reason I ask is simply because it is copywrite protected material, and as a writer I certainly respect that

      • Yeah, thanks Jim…I appreciate you asking, but I want you to know I trust you…I know the whole internet thing…but geeze (great word huh?) I get tired of having my guard up all the time and besides I’ve read your posts…either you are preparing to run an elaborate con, which will net you millions and you and some stunning leggy blonde with expensive habits will sneak off to some Caribbean country with vague laws about extradition or you are a nice guy…I’m guessing on the latter.

        Be encouraged!

  4. Okay I’ll try it. But let me recognize it first (that is the first step right?). Fear of the past ever happening again? Fear of nothingness? Fear of fear? Hmm. I’ll leave acceptance for later. Only fair since it’s always the hardest…

    • Acceptance is the hardest…but wait till you see what is coming…I understand why virtues have fallen out of favor in our culture…they are damn hard to do…and trust me…I’m having to look into the mirror more than the rest of you all.

      Be encouraged!

  5. Nice post Stephen,

    I have been a proponent of acceptance since learning of its power from M Scott Peck and Neale Donald Walsch amongst others. It’s hard but it’s essential to any level of contentment. I also agree with your stance on fear. Only yesterday I commented on a blog about courage being feeling fear and acting anyway. Semantically speaking, overcoming fear may well be described this way. Not so much eradicating it, but rather acknowledging it, listening to it, then deciding to continue despite it. I love the phrase you used; ‘without attempting to change it, protest, or exit’ – that really does get to the crux of what acceptance really is. Accepting our own fear – now that’s tricky! Thanks for a great post. 🙂

    • Thanks Stuart, I always look forward to your comments, I appreciate the time, energy, and thought that you obviously put into them.

      This fear thing is really weird…it motivates, it paralyzes, we overcome it, we work with it,…The dynamic tension of the whole concept intrigues me.

      Be encouraged!

  6. Acceptance is such an important yet sometimes overlooked virtue, and what a great one to begin with in your series of Monday posts.
    Not only is it very Zen and spiritual to be accepting, it’s also practical. Before we can move into the ongoing evolution of our lives, we must accept what is happening in our lives, and as you noted that includes recognizing and accepting our fears.
    Look forward to your continued observations on other virtues!

    • Thank you Karen for your continuing gracious words. One of the first things I learned was to accept myself…that was the most difficult, because I am supremely aware of all my faults, issues, foibles, etc…and yet it is where I start.

      Be encouraged!

  7. I agree that acceptance is such an important virtue. I feel like if acceptance was more present, the world would be a much more peaceful place. However, sadly, there will always be judgements. It’s human nature to judge others, even if we don’t mean to. Also, I love your definition of Wikipedia. It definitely brought a big smile to my face!

    • Hey thanks for the comments…Yeah I remember when we were told not to trust Wiki cause it was open source and blah, blah, blah…but the other day day I saw it quoted in the Wall Street Journal…you live long enough you see a lot of strange and unusual things…lol.

      Be encouraged!

  8. Acceptance, fear, and humility humanize us and remind us that we are okay even when we’d like to pretend that we are superman/woman. We are all flawed in some way and that too is okay. Perfection is not a requirement for membership in the human race. By the way, I love Wikipedia.
    The photo is adorable! 🙂

  9. I truly think this is one of the areas that deserves delving into. Getting past the bloackade of fear is tough, but what lies on the other side can be incredible. Great post. If this is the promise of what is to come regarding your look at virtues I can’t wait. 🙂

    • You are so gracious with your words…is my wife, Susie sending you money?…LOL.

      Only 117 more to go…Yippee…this is going to be a fun run…what is that?…like a little bit more than two years if I only do one a week…well at least I have job security for a while…now if I can only figure out a way to get this blog thing to throw me some money from time to time, I’ll really be home free…LOL.

      Okay lets settle back down here for a moment…I do indeed appreciate your kind words…they mean a lot to me. Writing about virtues is difficult only from the standpoint that I feel a crushing weight to at least make an effort to acquire a small portion of whichever one I am posting about. several times as I wrote this one I found myself pushing my chair back from the desk and contemplating how I had or had not applied it to my life. It was a grueling process taking all of one late night and most of one early morning. Looking into the mirror isn’t much fun and I can assure you I have a VERY long way to go.

      I hope you will continue to enjoy these posts and look forward (as always) to your comments.

      Be encouraged!

  10. Generally I do not learn article on blogs, but I wish to say that this write-up very forced me to try and do so! Your writing taste has been surprised me. Thanks, very nice post.

  11. Jim Cantwell on said:

    Reblogged this on Where The Grey Matter Pours Out and commented:
    This week for Re-blog Wednesday I chose this post by stephenedwards425 which is a really good look on this subject

  12. Interesting. My out look is a little different. I’d like to add two words…, for now. I’ll accept it…, for now. Those two words give me the option for change should it be within my power to do so. I like the word “option” too. 🙂

    • For now…is always an option…I have consistently found most of my beliefs (with the the exception of my core beliefs) have all been “for now.” One of the benchmarks of a true scholar (I believe) is the recognition that ideas are always in flux…at least for now. 🙂

      Thanks for taking the time to read and comment. Anytime you feel like sharing, I always feel like listening.

      I hope you and yours are enjoying an awesome week.

      Be encouraged!

    • At the risk of sounding controversial I’d say that the words ‘for now’ mean you haven’t accepted. Acceptance either IS or ISN’T. If you say ‘for now’ then you haven’t accepted. That’s just my opinion though. 🙂

  13. WordsFallFromMyEyes on said:

    Even before you suggested rereading the definition, it stuck out a mile to me! Yes, of course acceptance is just what it is, but acceptance is not the same as conceding or consenting to, no!

    Whyever does the definition add ‘without attempting to change it or protest or exit’? THAT’S not acceptance – that’s conceding to a situation, or being defeated, or taking flight.

    Great post – thoughtful one 🙂
    Noeleen /

    • Thanks Noleen for taking the time to read and comment…I always enjoy what you have to say.

      I enjoy reading your blog as well…Your writing gives me something to think about.

      Hug and kiss Daniel…I love see the Noleen/Daniel 50/50!

      Be encouraged!

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  18. ACCEPTANCE … it is as much a VIRTUE when you practice it as it is a BLESSING when you receive it! You’ve given me much to think about with the connection you’ve made of ACCEPTANCE & FEAR… I have been blessed with acceptance from my peers giving way for amicable discussions on topics in which we differ knowing that we respect each other…however I feel I do not have this at home, I have to really look deeply to find if in fact fear has something to do with this lack of acceptance…or should I just accept that my husband loves me eventhough he does not accept me and be virtuous and not blessed?! Thanks for this food for thought

    • The home is always the most difficult place to put what we believe into action. I wish you the very best and keep me posted as to how things are working out.

      Be encouraged!

      • Thanks for your interest! 🙂 Sadly, I can’t expect things to change since I have no idea how to get the ball rolling…so for now i just give what I’d like to receive…read you soon!! loving your VIRTUES posts

      • I think giving what you want to receive is an excellent place to start…make sure you keep those lines of communication open…I know it is easier said than done.

        I read an interesting piece earlier today that said that nothing ever gets accomplished via logic…which is not good for me, because I believe if I set down and explain something to someone and reason it out with them that they will be able to embrace my way of thinking or at the very least see the merits of what I am talking about. The article went onto to explain the only way people change is if their paradigm shifts…so how is that done?…they must “see” their experiences through different lens (e.g., change the way they think). I am now studying a few different ideas about how to get folks to look at their lives in an entirely different light.

        Thanks for replying…but still feel free to keep me posted…be aggressive in being the change…life is too short to live otherwise.

        Be encouraged!

      • Thank you!! My life is about to go under re-construction…I’m about to move and my husband is not coming with us because of work so it’s going to be interesting!

      • Ouch…that does not sound so good. I have no idea what all the facts are, but please be very careful…I’m not convinced absence makes the heart grow fonder.

        With that said…I wish you and your husband the very best…hoping you find the new place exciting and fun.

        I know I keep writing this…but keep me informed…not in a scary, spying, stalking your life kind of way…think more like benevolent old Grandfather type of caring.

        Be encouraged!

      • jajajaaa, OK! thanks

  19. How can I not be touchie-feelie, when you start out with a little picture of a monkey hugging a dove??? Wonderful post!

    • Isn’t that the greatest little photo…I saw it and just immediately took it into my heart…and OMG you writing to the biggest touchie-feelie guy on the planet…you remember the old McDonald’s commercial that had the little kids walking in the rain in yellow rain slickers followed by a shot of a mother duck and her little yellow ducklings all waddling along behind her?…brought tears to my eyes every time I saw it…which was hell when I was sitting in some dank dark bar waiting for my drug deal to go down. 🙂

      Be encouraged!

      Thanks for

      • LOL!! OMG, any McDonald’s commercial will make me cry! Especially that one about the senior lady and the old gent, flirting with each other, and then sharing a table together. Oh my….. gets my heart every time! So, monkeys hugging doves: you’re killin’ me!

      • You gotta love monkies who love on doves…and look at that little guys face…isn’t he the most precious?

        Be encouraged!

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