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The Art of Acceptance.
My father was wise. Jovial. Passionate. Caring. He loved puns. (His “dad jokes” were a whole new level.)
He was not perfect, though I do not care about the blemishes in his personality.
To me, he was everything a father should be, and I am fortunate to have had that.
Today, he would have been 77 years old. To honor him, I’d like to bring up the one thing he would say to me when I was fretting. Advice that never expires:
“Acceptance, darling daughter.”
He taught me the importance of acceptance, and then he died years before I ever imagined he’d go. It seemed like a cruel joke.
Or exactly as it was meant to be. (You were right, Dad.)
He knew I was much like him, and he knew that acceptance was his biggest struggle. It was what he wanted his daughter to master when he could not.
I’m still struggling with it, but I’m further along now than I was then. He passed the torch, so it’s my duty to carry on his attempts. If my father believed in something, it was for a good reason. This has proved no different.
This is what I’ve learned so far on my journey of mastering acceptance:
1. Acceptance is dirty and messy, and when said aloud, it has a nice ring to it. There’s nothing nice about learning radical acceptance, though. All of the niceties are saved for after it’s achieved. Once you think you’ve gotten really good at it, you’ll get bombarded with more interesting opportunities to practice it.
2. Acceptance is finding your truth and knowing that it doesn’t matter if someone disagrees with you—that it’s usually not worth it to expend your energy to change their mind.
3. Acceptance is knowing that your path is different than what you had in mind—continuing forward anyway.
4. Acceptance is identifying the gap between reality and expectation—and closing that gap.
5. Acceptance is sometimes in the form of giving up. Never on yourself, but on many things or people in which you believed you’d never have to turn your back on.
6. Acceptance is identifying that you were wrong. Or that the intuition you ignored was right.
7. Acceptance is understanding that love is many times unrequited, though that does not diminish the value of your love or mean that you are not deserving.
It is accepting yourself. It is knowing that not everyone likes you, and that’s more than okay—that it’s not possible, so you can let it go.
Acceptance is patience. Kindness. Understanding. Trust in yourself. And doing no harm.
It’s a lot of things, and that’s why many of us get it wrong.
It’s not easy—it’s incredibly complex. But it’s worth it.
Acceptance brings peace. Harmony. Community. Belonging. When we are accepting of things that we cannot control, we are more present. This creates a domino effect of presence, a beautiful display of “being here—now.”
What happens when the voice inside of you is screaming, “No! I can’t accept this!”?
Can you change it? What can you do to control it?
If the answer is yes, change it.
If the answers are “no” and “nothing,” I highly recommend my father’s wisest words.
Acceptance, my darling. Acceptance.
It solves all of the unsolvable problems that keep you awake at night.
And, love, you deserve some rest.
Happy Birthday, Dad.