Thursday, March 14, 2013


The other day i was piqued by the behavior of a friend which was even more domineering than it normally is; which too,is way out the tolerable limits.As i discussed this with a common friend she advised me to accept her ways since she is incorrigible.This set me thinking.Acceptance is a very positive attitude.We counselors & psychologists often advise our clients to do this.Now i was being advised to do the same.The tables had turned, i was being asked to put up with something i detested.

What exactly is acceptance?You can see the literal meaning here but in psychological terms it entails adjusting according to a person or a situation we resent without trying to avoid or change it.The catalyst is usually an unpleasant but essential part of life & attempts to evade or modify it can have disastrous consequences.Hence the advice.But acceptance is sometimes misunderstood.Let us give some more thought to it.Acceptance could relate to:
1) Ourselves
3)Life Situations

Accepting Ourselves
As far as this is concerned, it's justification is relative.If i am a mouse,accepting my weakness & coasting along on the outskirts of life;it is not acceptance, but a crime turned towards my own self.

However not all deviations from the so-called normalcy deserve to be shunned.For example there are some persons who are happy to be alone.They do not feel the need to be in the thick of things.They would feel uncomfortable if they tried to ape an extrovert.It is better for them to accept their nature.

There is a third category of persons who are dissatisfied with their physical appearance-either they are too fat,too thin,too tall,short,bald,ugly,dark complexioned or afflicted by some other    physical disability.Extreme cases suffer from Body Dysmorphic Disorder .Such individuals would definitely be happier if they could accept themselves as they are.

Accepting Others
Our lives are inextricably intertwined with many others,be it our family,close friends or those who hold an important space in our career or professional life.If these people have certain traits or kinks which bug,then the first option naturally would be to voice our discontent.But if this does not ameliorate then it is best to accept them as they are & amend our own thought process & reactions.We can remind ourselves for example,that our habits too might be a source of annoyance to them,so it is best to turn a blind eye.

Coming to those who are on the periphery of our lives-i do not think we should accept whatever they choose to dole out to us.As  a individual entity we have certain rights,expectations & boundaries which ought not to be crossed.If we allow every so & so to trample all over us,what is left of our persona to be proud of ?This is not acceptance but cowardice.It damages our self esteem.

There are some persons who lie in the grey zone--we want to retain their friendship but do not wish to tolerate their discourtesies.With such persons it is vital to voice our discontent.If A insults me but i lack the gumption to retaliate, then this is not acceptance,but cowardice or escapism.I lose a chance to learn how to assert myself,augment my confidence & evolve.
However a word of caution will not be out of place here.There are occasions when even a tiny spark from our side could result in a conflagration.It is best to walk away at such moments with our dignity intact.

Accepting Life Situations
Sooner or later we are bound to come across situations which we wish ,had not arisen.We may lose our loved ones or suffer loss of health,wealth,job or reputation.A sudden upheaval or tragedy leaves us shaken & disoriented.We wish it had not happened.Our thoughts take us back to old times when all was well.We avoid facing the truth.This only delays the process of resettlement.Wishes are not horses that we could ride upon them to an Utopian future.Such changes require whole-hearted acceptance.When we accept that a situation has changed irrevocably & we shall have to live with it,we sift through available options & adjust accordingly.Slowly pain or frustration decreases,stability returns & hope rises.This is real acceptance.

It is in our best interest to not confuse acceptance with abidance, submission or cowardice.The last three are detrimental to our growth while acceptance adds a new dimension to our personality.We evolve & learn effective coping skills.We gain peace of mind & maturity.When we accept that setbacks or unsavory conditions are an essential part of life we have already taken the first step towards tranquility.

Image courtesy google search.


  1. Ah! Again I am reminded of the serenity prayer. "Lord! Give me the courage to change that which can be changed, the patience to endure that which cannot be changed and the wisdom to know the difference"

  2. Hmm.. thought provoking...!!A peaceful life is always based on wisdom and reason. Makes one think, doesn't it! A natural genius is within us. We must learn to follow its directives....
    Very interesting post, as always, Indu.

    1. Thanks Panchali,for sharing your views.

  3. Nice write up . Well I don't know about happiness but I believe that Satisfaction can be achieved only by acceptance .

    Thanks for sharing...

    Travel India

    1. Vishal thanks for appreciating,glad you liked it.

  4. "We avoid facing the truth". It is very true. We shirk away from the obvious and formulate plans to deter the inevitable, close our eyes from the apparent. Should make a habit of facing the incontrovertible.

    Loved the post.

    1. Yes it happens--sometimes it is tough to face reality.
      Thanks for the appreciation!

  5. A lot of wisdom packed in this post, Indu:)

  6. Jai Shri Krishna.
    Welcome to jeeteraho.

  7. We can't change things that happened, We need to accept the truth, though it is bitter and move on! Thanks for enlightening us with true meaning of acceptance! Beautiful post Indu!

    1. Sri Valli thank you for this sweet comment!!!!!!


  8. So true Indu ji

    ""We gain peace of mind & maturity.When we accept that setbacks or unsavory conditions are an essential part of life we have already taken the first step towards tranquility."""

    and this is the only way of peaceful co-existence ---not only among individuals but in a broader perspective among ,nations and ,religions too .

    because eonly if we learn to adjust will we learn to forgive

    I don't know if my comments are off mark but I hope you understand what I am trying to say

    when we learn to accept we reach a Utopia --VASUDEV KUTUMBAKAM

  9. Your comment adds more meaning to the post,it is not off mark at all.Thanks a ton,Rajni.
    Love n hugs.

  10. since you are into psychiatry,i have a interesting question for you.
    Do ya have ACCEPTANCE to a genuine suicide? sometimes suicides are genuine and wise coz being alive in certain circumstances doesn't make ya accept and help if someone genuine wants to commit suicide.most of psychologists and psychiatrists do routine and regular counselling not to commit suicide even for inevitable and genuine suicide.why these people don't have acceptance to reality and rationalism in specific cases.

    i just want to know your perspective coz i have come across mostly conventional and bookish psychologists , psychiatrists.

    1. Mohan thanks for asking this question.
      Tell me what you mean by a wise or genuine suicide.

      This decision is mostly fraught with emotions.For such persons-when the moment passes the urge or the urgency also subsides.So many people have contacted me for this purpose but they are living today.Whether happy or just passing time is a separate question but at least they are trying to make a go of it-which is what we have been given this life for--to evolve & find our own space.

      Then there are others who have given prolonged thought to it & they also make elaborate preparations to kill themselves.If only they spent as much time & effort on finding a way to live!If someone is not happy in his present surroundings,he can go elsewhere & start a totally new life.This would be a kind of end to old troubles.

      The only case where all logic fails is,if someone has an incurable,painful disease.But can't we hope for a miracle?

      I think it is best to pay our dues in this life rather than escape,otherwise who knows the next life,too, would be blemished.

    2. genuine suicide=degraded morals and human values in society that leads to suicide of honest and wise person.these kinda suicides are not momentary.i called it genuine suicide coz the reason for suicide is genuine.

      blog space won't be sufficient to classify and explain this concept coz it will turn into a book.

      we can't ask a honest guy to adapt to corrupt system to survive and we can't counsel a wise person coz he/she can analyse things better than psychologists.

      meaning of life changes across individuals.some people don't live for food and money.some people don't live for the sake of it .some people live with passion without compromise.

      we can give thousands of examples for genuine suicides.for example,around 22000 farmers committed suicide in one of indian states,many of those farmer suicides are genuine coz they have lost everything and corrupt system never helped them . you can't counsel them just to live for the sake of it coz you can't change society in broader sense.

    3. Yes,the morals of our society have degraded abysmally ,& the upright do not like to compromise.But do u think that it is impossible to live today,keeping our values intact?

      Is life not about learning to live in conditions foisted upon us-without ditching our principles?This is how v evolve.

      The farmers who committed suicide--they should not have taken loans in the first place,we ought to live within our means.Now that the damage has been done;should they not try to rectify their mistake rather than escaping in this way?If they have any dependents then they are left behind to pay for their mistake;& if they are single then it is not so difficult to earn some to maintain oneself.

      It is true that living by ideals one cannot lead a cushy life;but then,that is not the aim of such persons.

      I sound harsh,but principles are principles & these are my views.

      I find this exchange very meaningful,please do not take it as counseling-continue if u like.

    4. i din't find your lines harsh but you are lil far from real circumstances in our society.

      all farmers din't die of excess loans,they comitted suicide coz of fraud by traders who sold fake seeds,some comitted suicide due to unseasonal rains damaging their yield and government not paying proper compensation,some died due to drought where state gets funds from centre as relief fund for farmers but it was utilised by politicians and bureaucrats to build personal wealth.too many examples to quote.

      to be frank,its very hard for a person to survive with values intact.if you take evolution of human psychology,it was all about survival of fittest or by hook or crook,human psychology din't evolve to glorify values and ethics.when you are surrounded by corrupt,you can't pass through these guys in indian can evolve with values intact in european and american societies where corruption is less and life is more civilised.

      that was funny,am not comitting suicide and i don't consider your views as counseling.i am fond of psychology and neuro-psychiatry from my school days so i just thought of writing few studying mbbs.

      people who see psychologists and psychiatrists pre-post suicides are confused people who don't have clarity in life.people who have clarity in life know that they are dying for a genuine reason that gives them peace and happiness.these people are not cowards,these are people who fought everything and got exhausted after keeping their morals intact.for these individuals, life is not to live by any means just because human lifespan is 60-100.

      these are my views after observing most of individuals in different walks of life.i want people to think beyond conventional theories that are taught in classroom for psychologists and psychiatrists.

    5. Mohan i could make out that you have an intellectual interest in this topic.I agree that it's difficult to live by our ideals today,but why should a good person pay the price for others' depravity?
      Suicide requires courage no doubt,but still,it is a life cut short meaninglessly.

  11. I agree when u say we should not confuse acceptance with abidance, submission or cowardice.while accepting is a positive action, the other 3 are quite negative.... very well written.

    1. Princess thanks for your endearing remark.

  12. Lovely write up Indu. You are right, the word acceptance is very often confused!!

  13. You made me look at it from entirely a new perspective. Acceptance cannot be blind, even this needs sound base or otherwise we may be harming ourselves.

    Well written post, Now I look forward to reading your these posts.

    Well I was late this time as my daughter's exams kept me busy.

  14. Meenakshi thank you for encouraging me so sweetly.
    Love you !


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