How to practice acceptance and gratitude without staying stuck


Acceptance is important for avoiding frustration and impulsive decisions in our lives. But it’s okay to acknowledge when things aren’t okay.

If your husband ignores you and you say you’re grateful he doesn’t beat you, that’s unhelpful.

Acceptance taken too far will start to look like settling. Rather than acknowledging legitimate grievances and taking actions to change them, you avoid doing the work.

Acceptance taken too far will start to look like settling. Click To Tweet

When I first stopped drinking alcohol, for instance, acceptance helped me climb out of a self-pity party and appreciate all that I had.

But there came a point when I had to deal with the things I could no longer accept. Like the toxic people in my life.

What is healthy acceptance?

When acceptance crosses the line into passivity, it’s no longer serving you. Nothing changes when we keep telling ourselves to be happy where we are.

Here are three ways to avoid feeling stuck while continuing to practice healthy acceptance and gratitude.

1. Envision your future

Rather than saying “when x happens, then I’ll y”, act as if x has already happened. Take on the habits and routines of the person you want to become.

For example, you could say “when I get a job, then I’ll start waking up early.” But, setting the alarm before you get the job forms a good habit that makes you more like the person who already has the job. That mindset sets you up to snag the position.

Take on the habits and routines of the person you want to become. Click To Tweet

Or: “Once I get published I’ll call myself a writer and commit to a daily writing practice.” Truth is, sitting down to write every day makes you a writer.

And that discipline, often practiced in obscurity for years, is the only way to get the book deal and title of published author in the first place.

Acting like the person you want to be is the best way to invite change into your life.

Who is your future self and what do you need to do now to make that vision a reality?

2. Learn from your past

It takes humility to acknowledge past mistakes and learn from them. Before I knew God, I avoided thinking about my past. I stuffed it down or made excuses for bad behavior.

I had to justify myself because there was no one else to justify me. Thinking about my past transgressions made me cringe.

So, I avoided looking at them and, therefore, missed the lessons.

When I started drinking at 16 to deal with my problems instead of facing them head on, I stunted my growth.

When I finally recovered, my emotional age was stuck in the teens because I had never dealt with or processed anything in a healthy way.

I had to acknowledge and even write down my past mistakes. I learned quickly the importance of taking responsibility for your part in any conflict.

I grew more in a year than I had in the previous twenty. Learning from past mistakes keeps us grounded, humble and, moving forward with a growth mentality.

3. Focus on things inside your control

The serenity prayer says to accept the things you cannot change and change the things you can. But how to know the difference?

We only have the power to change things under our control. Trying to change things outside our control, like people, is futile. It leads to frustration, anger, and hopelessness.

We only have the power to change things under our control. Click To Tweet

What you do have the power to change is yourself and your attitude. If you’re tired of hearing someone complain about the same problem over and over and refusing to do anything about it, you can stop listening.

Or, better, you can let go of any expectation that they will change and listen without prejudice. Or you can pray for them.

When I discovered the power of prayer, a whole world got lifted from my shoulders. Give it to God. He can handle it.

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