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Acceptance Vs Resignation

In counselling and psychology when the term acceptance is used many people think, acceptance means giving up the idea of change. They think acceptance is living with the present condition forever. They are confusing acceptance with resignation. There is a lot of difference between the two terms.


We look at our past life, past actions and wish something was different. We don’t want to accept certain things (we had bad parenting, we went through abuse, our marriage is over, etc), and we are either in denial of it or resisting reality. That is a lack of acceptance. Acceptance is the gateway to change. Without acceptance of reality, there is no scope for change. Acceptance is making peace with what has happened and not wanting it to be different somehow. Acceptance does not mean you cannot change the future. It only means you cannot change the past.


Resignation is the attitude that nothing about the future can be changed. It is also the belief that nothing we do matters anymore. This attitude will seep in and make us think no part of our life is there in our control. We stop trying to make any changes because the belief has taken the ground that we don’t control our life and external factors control it. We have to fight this attitude as it is not true that we have nothing in our control. Life is certainly affected by factors outside our control, but that does not mean that we have no control over any part of our lives. The attitude of resignation leads to the nihilistic way of thinking that nothing matters in life. This is a pathway to leading into the spiral of depression.

It is important to understand the difference between acceptance and resignation. Acceptance is knowing that nothing about the past can be changed. Resignation is the erroneous thinking that nothing about the future can be changed. None of us can have a better past but all of us can have a better future.

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