Is Acceptance Just Resignation?

A friend recently posted a question in a Facebook Group, about ways to gain freedom in life, so you can choose how you want to live it.

“What has most helped you to gain freedom in your life to choose exactly how you want to live it?” Jayne Bailey

My response was one word.


Of course I had to follow through with a short sentence because I really can’t stop at one word!

Acceptance brings me peace and freedom.

After posting my response, I pondered about whether acceptance was just a state of resigning myself to living with the shackles of my chronic disease. Or was it more than that?


I feel it’s more. To me the word resignation had a defeatist air about it.

Resignation (meaning): A sad feeling of accepting something that you do not like because you cannot easily change it.

Cambridge Dictionary

I don’t feel defeated. I feel alive. I feel blessed. I feel happy. I definitely feel at peace with my situation. I’m not resigned.

Acceptance in human psychology is a person’s assent to the reality of a situation, recognizing a process or condition (often a negative or uncomfortable situation) without attempting to change it or protest it


This is much closer to how I feel. My situation isn’t ideal. I’m not delusional about my reality. My life now is definitely a semblance of my former life but I’m not fighting it. I’ve grieved the loss of the things I loved prior to chronic disease. That’s a healthy and necessary process to moving on to acceptance.

Arriving At Acceptance

I’ve arrived at acceptance. I now embrace my new life. I don’t protest it.

It is a new life that I can honestly say I love. I love it as much as I loved my old life.

I’m sure that might seem a completely crazy and foreign concept to many people who know my physical constraints and my daily battle with pain.  All of which has required me to embrace a basically reclusive life with my husband.

“Acceptance doesn’t mean resignation; it means understanding that something is what it is and that there’s got to be a way through it”  Michael J Fox

So what does Acceptance look like for me?

  • I look for ways to adapt to my disabilities.  If I can’t do something I would really like to do, I set about strategizing to see if there is a way. If there isn’t I move on. Let’s face it, even able-bodied healthy people have things they’d like to do but can’t. That’s life. I used to work crazy hours with little free time and I never had time to do all the things I wanted to do at home. Now I do and I love the freedom medical retirement gives me.


  • I don’t feel sorry for myself. When I was working we had a saying that we put on post it notes, ” Choose Your Attitude”. We even went as far as asking each other what attitude we had brought into the office each morning. We’d encourage each other to choose a positive attitude. It was a bit of fun but it lifted everyone’s spirits and created a great culture. When I feel tired and pain is soaring, I absolutely get grumpy like everyone else. I could easily wallow in that state but I quickly try to remind myself to “Choose my Attitude”. Life is too short to be grumpy and I’ve learned it only makes pain worse.


  • I count my blessings. No matter how terrible my health gets, if I take a moment to stop and breath I can always find a blessing in my circumstances.


  • I live in the moment.  One of the greatest gifts my rare disease has given me is to take one step at a time, one moment at a time. I appreciate so much more now. I always loved nature and weather and food. Now I savour every detail of a flower blooming, the seasons changing, the sun setting, the smell of fresh coffee beans, the lingering taste of a favourite meal. I love watching the tides come in and go out, listening to birds chirping and the variety of those chirps is so beautiful.


  • I love the freedom my new life offers. No more agendas. No more time frames and deadlines unless I choose to make one. No more alarms going off in the morning unless I want to get up at a certain time. I can eat meals when I like. I can watch a favourite TV show while having lunch which can roll into afternoon tea. I can read, listen to music, pray and reflect when I like. I can write when I feel inspired.

I’m not resigned to my life with chronic disease. I’ve accepted and embraced it for the reasons above and many more besides.

My disease could be a bondage if I let it but I haven’t let it. I’ve chosen not to let it.

Courage To Change

I’ve had courage to make radical changes to things within my control and courage to make decisions which are not without risk.

Changes and decisions have ranged from accepting I need different mobility aides to proceeding with countless surgeries and investigating new housing options to cater for my disabilities.

I’ve recognised seeking a peaceful life, not fighting against things I can’t change, brings the serenity needed to accept new circumstances.

I often say “it is what it is”. I choose to live as well as possible with my disease. It’s not who I am but it is a part of who I am. It doesn’t define me but it does refine me.

Acceptance has brought freedom. It’s also brought peace and joy. It’s brought serenity.

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If you’re looking for genuine support, care, understanding and friendship, you are so welcome to join my closed Facebook support forum, Medical Musings with Friends . It’s a safe place to connect with others living with chronic and complex diseases, who truly understand the daily challenges. A warm welcome awaits.

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48 thoughts on “Is Acceptance Just Resignation?

  1. Waving hello from the group! I recently did a pain management program at one of our major hospitals. It was called PACT – Physiotherapy Acceptance Commitment Therapy.

    The use of Acceptance in that context is as you describe: it is what it is. Certainly not resignation.

    Well said.


    1. Thanks Robyn 💗
      I did a 6 week online Chronic Conditions Course through Macquarie University last year. Really excellent resources which they generously allowed me to share with my online support forum. Among other things they had great tips about pacing and activity scheduling. I find getting that right can help with achieving purpose which all helps with arriving at acceptance.
      Thanks for popping in & waving 😀
      Sam xx


      1. Waving to you from the UK
        I have just discovered your site. And am looking forward to exploring it.
        Your saying “it is what it is” resonated. I am constantly reminding myself. I gleaned this bit of wisdom years ago from an inspiring friend.
        Go well


  2. Sam I was just talking about acceptance in a post in Swell Gals. It’s taken a while to get there and I have down days. Once I accepted that this is my life now, I just took each day as it comes. I am at peace with the disability…well most days. Loved this topic you have chosen for your blog.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Anne. Oh wow..what timing. I haven’t seen your post on Swell Gals. I must check it out. I’m so glad you have arrived at acceptance. It absolutely takes time to arrive. You have done so well.
      Thanks for commenting Anne.
      Lots of love xx


  3. Thank you Sam! Your acceptance of, and in the midst of your health situations, has proven to me to be an inspiration.

    I am over two years into my health journey, at least in the point of no longer being able to work, or do many of the things I was able to do before. I have embraced some of the gain, and still, reeling in guilt of what I am not able to do.

    I have a renewed sense of direction and hope, due mostly through you and Jayne! For that, I am grateful! Thank you!

    I praise God for you, and your gains through your journey, and for the blessings through your stairlift!

    In my prayers always,
    Pamela Dreyer


    1. Thank you for your beautiful comment Pamela. You are doing so well at the 2 year mark. I’m entering my 5th year of medical retirement and it has really been the last 12 months where I have felt completely settled in my new life. Part of that is due to finding new purpose through writing and my forum but part if it is that time is a great healer. We do eventually adjust, adapt and accept.
      God bless xx

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Hi Sam, I read this and felt as if the words were my own. I will print this and read it when needed. What I have learned from meeting you is that life continues on and we can still “live fully”, it’s just different. Thank you for spending your energy writing. You are such a light for myself and others. I so appreciate you, hugs!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh Marla, thank you so much for such an encouraging comment. Writing is always like walking a tight-rope. I never quite know if what I’ve written will resonate with others. Feedback, encouraging and constructive, is so gratefully received.
      Lots of love xx


  5. This should be voted Blog Post of the Year for people with chronic illness. Seriously. I love it. It says so much about you, and how you live so successfully with your diseases, and says so much about how we all need to luve. The writing is just exceptional. Bravo, sweet friend. You nailed it with this one!

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Oh wow Linda, thank you so much. Your encouragement and affirmation is so beautiful. It means so much. It was a difficult post to write. I knew what I wanted to say but felt the words just wouldn’t formulate everytime I started.
      I eventually got on a roll. I know you’ll understand that completely. Thanks again. Lots of love xx 💗


  6. Gorgeous post Sam. I so love your attitude on life which mirrors that which I take forward myself. Life is too short to reminisce about what was, it’s about making the best of it, whatever comes our way and hopefully helping others do the same. It’s nice to know from some of the comments here that we’re hitting the right notes there for others! One of my favourite sayings is there is no normal, I am as I am, that’s my normal and that’s just fine! Much love gorgeous and thank you for the difference you make in the world xxx

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much Jayne. You are so right….what is normal anyway? We all have our own versions of it don’t we, even if healthy.
      It’s been such a delight getting to know you more over recent months. We definitely come from the same place in terms of change management and our approach to living with chronic illness. Thanks for helping to inspire me to write this post. xx


  7. Hi Sam. Such a wonderful post and one which resonates so strongly with me. I’m finally at the acceptance stage of my chronic illnesses (fibromyalgia and ME) after too many years of fighting against them. I write about this often in articles for mind boidy spirit and chronic illness magazines and on my blog ( like you go through all the stages of grief and finally arrive at acceptance. The sad thing is that not everyone arrives there so posts like yours, mine and other chronic illness bloggers do so much to help others move to the next stage. Brilliant thank you. Anita.


    1. Thank you so much Anita. I’ve just had a look at your blog and love it. Your post on the prayer of St Francis particularly resonated with me. I was debating whether to use his prayer or the Serenity Prayer for my post. I feel like our posts complement one another so much. I’ve just subscribed to follow you.
      I agree it is so very sad and not uncommon for the grief process to become long, cumbersome and even stuck for many people battling chronic disease. It is such a tough journey. I do hope and pray that our blogging in some way can shed some light along along what is so often a dark and lonely path.
      Thanks so much for popping by and commenting. Xx


  8. Love this post and the Michael J. Fox quote! It’s the first time I’ve seen that quote, and it’s definitely one I’ll save. I completely agree with you about the need for acceptance, even though I fought the concept for many years. I gained a sense of peace and freedom when I finally stopped fighting the daily reality of chronic pain. I look forward to your blog posts!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much Cindy. I so appreciate your comment.
      It’s hard to not want pain of anykind to go away isn’t it. Fighting it definitely creates a vicious circle of creating more physical pain along with emotional pain.
      I am so glad you too have that sense of peace and freedom now. xx


  9. Just so so inspirational Sam. This blog post is definitely to bookmark for the ‘reference ‘ files. Well written and a beautiful meaning imparted bravely and honestly. x x p.s. have always admired Michael J Fox so much too so I love that you spotlighted his quote

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much Esther. He just gets that quote so right doesn’t he. Full of truth and wisdom. I have admired the way he embraced such a horrific disease.
      Love you lots xx


  10. Well said! I will be honest…I’m not quite there yet. I’ve been on an 18 year journey of nondiagnosis to misdiagnosis to searching for diagnosis. I just received news after last round of test results to expect that no answers would be found at this time. Thankfully, I have a great Internist who says, but that doesn’t mean we can’t get you functioning better. It’s a journey! Blessings!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. No answers is such a difficult road and it makes acceptance really difficult as you can’t name the disease that is causing so much of your life to be affected.
      My rare bone has no name. That’s been hard for everyone to accept, my Drs, my family, my friends. I’ve decided “rare bone disease” is it’s name and just doing that really helped me on the road to acceptance. It’s idiopathic, ” a disease of its own kind”.
      Sounds like you also have an idiopathic disease. You are special, unique, one of a kind. I think that puts a much better spin on it all 😀
      I’m so glad you’ve got such a supportive Internist. A good medical team or Dr can make all the difference. I know I’m certainly blessed with the support my medical team.give me.
      Thank you for sharing some of your story with me. I’ll keep you in my prayers. Blessings xx


  11. As soon as I read this morning I remembered what my mother used to say – “God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and wisdom to know the difference.” theologian was Reinhold Niebuhr

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Your blog on acceptance versus resignation is spot on. I am decades wise pain warrior and 2 yrs ago was also told I have Fibromyalgia. 11 yrs ago I was diagnosed with a rare autoimmune liver disease called Primary Biliary Cholangitis or PBC. PBC is also a chronic disease, which is normally slowly progressing and can eventually lead to cirrhosis and liver failure or liver cancer. My PBC progressed quickly despite treatment and while I was diagnosed at the earliest Stage, I now have cirrhosis and face the need for a liver transplant in the next year. The journey of acceptance has been empowering. Unfortunately my husband is still fighting for what was, not the new normal. We’re in counseling and making progress. I wondered if you have talked about this aspect of chronic disease?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much for your comment.
      I’m so sorry to read that you now face the prospect of needing a liver transplant.
      Both you and your husband have been and are going through such a journey. I think we all go through the stages of grief at such varying levels. It also makes a difference if depression is involved. Both my husband and I are blessed not to suffer from diagnosed or clinical depression. We obviously have down days like everyone does but it’s easier to bounce back from those.
      Your husband may just feel so overwhelmed and helpless that he can’t fix you. My husband has spoken of that to me and how that breaks his heart. He copes by being my carer (which I need) This gives him some sense of empowerment and that he’s making a positive difference in my life. That has really helped him adjust as he has a purpose in it all.
      I’m so glad you and your husband are having counseling to help.
      If you’d like to join my support group you’ll find so many others in similar situations who would be more than happy to talk about their experiences on this topic.
      Thinking of you
      Sam xx
      PS: I’ve just followed your blog ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  13. Reblogged this on My Medical Musings and commented:

    I wrote this article in February. I was just starting to write a new article on a similar theme but realised this one says it all.

    The title I had in mind for a new blog post was “Accept and Adjust”.

    Accepting our chronic disease isn’t enough. We have to take the next step to adjust. To create a new life, new ways of doing things. Acceptance doesn’t mean giving in or giving up.

    Acceptance means we evolve. We adjust. We grow.

    My original article on acceptance discusses this and I share ways that I have made life changing adjustments.

    I hope as we head into a New Year, it helps anyone living with a chronic disease or caring for someone who does, review where you are in your acceptance journey.

    What can you do differently to start adjusting your life appropriately?

    I have some major challenges in 2019 to both accept and adjust to. I look forward to journeying through the New Year with my readers and my forum members, as together we continually accept and adjust to whatever the year presents.

    Love and blessings

    Sam xx


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