top of page

The Paradox of Acceptance

Updated: Sep 27, 2023

Instead of taking the present moment as it is, how often do you expend a lot of energy struggling with it? Do you think, or say, things such as, “I don’t like it this way.” “It shouldn’t be this way.” This isn’t right.” “Why is this happening?” “I don’t want to deal with this”? Responding to life experiences in this way sets up a very unproductive and disempowering mind-loop. Because no matter how much we try to avoid life in this moment: It just is. Our protests do nothing to change things. Yet, they deplete our vital energy.

So, what’s the alternative? Say yes to life and embrace it.

“Why?” you ask . . . The answer is that, while it may seem illogical, acceptance is both liberating and empowering.

Acceptance is defined as “the act of accepting.” To accept means “to receive willingly.” So, acceptance is the act of receiving willingly. When we practice acceptance, we take the present moment as it is with a spirit of cooperation.

Paradoxically, when you accept what is, that very act frees your mental logjam. And, all of the creative energy that you would otherwise squander in rejecting the present moment is now available to you for more constructive use. You can channel the energy into improving the situation. Or, if the present circumstances are not within your control, then you can focus your attention on something that you can control, create, or influence.

Not everything that is faced can be changed. But nothing can be changed until it is faced.” (James Baldwin)

For example, if the CEO of a company with declining profits refuses to accept the fact of the matter—thinking to herself: “I don’t like this,” “This can’t be happening.” It shouldn’t be this way,” “Why do I have to deal with this?” —then she can’t effectively achieve improved financial performance. The first step for the CEO is to recognize the fact of what is—“Sales are down, or, we’ve lost market share, or need to contain costs, or whatever.” Then, she can focus on a creative response— “Now, what can we do to improve?” “What did we do wrong in the past that we can learn from? How can we look at our business differently to adapt and thrive amidst the changing realities of the marketplace?” “How do we envision becoming more profitable in the future?”

Acceptance does not mean resigning yourself to an unsatisfactory circumstance continuing in the future. So, acceptance shouldn’t be confused with apathy. Passive indifference comes from a victim perspective and reflects the belief that one is powerless to change anything. In contrast, acceptance comes from a co-creator perspective of active engagement with Life and reflects the belief that thought is creative. So, experiment with Essential Balance Principle™ #8 - Practice Acceptance as a potent form of self-empowerment.

What’s more, not only is acceptance liberating and empowering, acceptance awakens gratitude for the mysterious, miraculous and sacred gift of life. The practice of acceptance teaches us to even see obstacles as disguised gifts offering opportunities for personal growth, self-empowerment and the development of wisdom. Yes, acceptance opens the path to the joy of now!

“True freedom is living in the present moment, where the gratitude for what is exceeds the desire for what might be.” (Guru Singh)

This blog post was previously published on my old website.

© 2011 Cynthia M. Revesz All Rights Reserved

Photo Creative Commons Zero license by Aaron Burden via Unsplash

Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page