Is Acceptance Just Resignation?

I wrote this article in February 2018. I was just starting to write a new article this week, on a similar theme, and 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 need 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 I have made life changing adjustments.

My hope is this post helps those 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 over coming months to both accept and adjust to. I’m sure I’ll be writing about my adventures of moving house while recovering from spinal surgery, adjusting to a new suburb and all the changes accompanying this big change.

I look forward to continuing to journey with my readers and forum members, as together we find ways to continually accept and adjust to whatever challenges our chronic illness life brings our way.

Love and blessings

Sam xx

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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.

Acceptance.

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

Wikipedia

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.

This post was shared at the Salt and Light Linkup Group

I’m a Contributor at “The Mighty”. You can check out my published articles at My Author Page

I also write @ Blogs by Christian Women

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WEGO Health Award 2018 Nominee (Top 10)

 

 

 

15 thoughts on “Is Acceptance Just Resignation?

  1. I have a somewhat similar post drafted, but I’m not quite happy with it yet, on acceptance, mentioning the difference between that and giving up. It’s wonderful to hear you’ve arrived at a place of acceptance and can say you love your life, and you’ve shared some great thoughts on how to do it. It’s something I still struggle with, but I’ve changed my perspective on acceptance a lot (acceptance with an open mind) and that has helped a lot. Brilliant post, Sam! xx

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much Caz. I can’t wait to read your blog post and your thoughts on the subject. I’d love to link it to this post if you’d be happy to, when you’ve got it finished of course 😊. Lots of love xx

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Hi Sam, I really love the way you explored this topic. I am putting working on acceptance at the moment as a priority. I find it really helps me love my chronically ill life. I’m finding new ways to find the funny side of my illness and live more in the moment. I really love the idea of “chose your attitude”. It’s so true that you can be in pain without making yourself grumpy about it (it definitely does make the pain worse). Thanks for sharing!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. This is a great post, Sam. I often hear people say there’s no way they will accept their pain, and I say that to accept doesn’t mean you need to like it. But, as you say, it means we can focus on living as best we can with what we have. I wrote a post once about learning to listen to the pain and then trying to do what it needs me to do, rather than having a constant fight against it. Fighting against my pain is actually a fight against myself. I’d rather not fight.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Thanks so much Elizabeth. I so agree that fighting against our pain really is a battle with ourselves and doesn’t help the situation at all. Can take a while to work that out but once we do it makes all the difference xx

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I think acceptance is very important when living with chronic illness. It helps you to put less pressure on yourself to be “normal” (whatever that means).

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I have acceptance myself. And then sometimes I get in a funk. And then acceptance again. It is a process.

    Also I have nominated you for the Disability Blogger Award… so my post for details

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Nikki, the grief cycle so often revisits with chronic illness so it’s not surprising we go from acceptance to trying to deal with it all again.
      Thanks so much for the nomination 😀

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Sam, thank you for sharing this. I love the “Choose your attitude ” post it notes. It is definitely a reminder that I can choose whether or not I will be grumpy or accepting. I can wallow in the past, the used to be moments that I probably will not have again. Or with the Lord’s help, I can accept where He has me now and where He is leading me.

    Like

  8. In answer to your question Sam – no, acceptance can be liberating! I wrote something about this myself and I have definitely found acceptance to be liberating for me and my close family……for all the reasons that you talk about. I think it is other people, a couple of friends in particular, who don’t understand that acceptance is not “giving up” – I know that there is no magic “cure” so by accepting and having a positive attitude I and you(and so many of our other chronic pals) carry on living life as best with can with a smile on our faces! C x

    Like

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