Why Acceptance Is The Key To Happiness

A woman has her hands folded across her chest in an accepting gesture

Acceptance can be a complicated topic to write about. While I do think that acceptance in many forms is the key to being happy and successful in life, I also think there are times where people could argue that the opposite is true. 

If we don’t accept unhappiness, don’t accept negative opinions about ourselves, and don’t accept that we can never learn new things and strive to be better, that is when true growth and change happens. 

However, in this article we are going to cover what acceptance is, the different types of acceptance, why acceptance is the key to happiness, and how to become more accepting.  

What is acceptance? 

Acceptance is defined as the act of accepting something or someone. In the dictionary it says to accept something means to endure without protest or to recognize it as true. 

So if we accept something, we are in agreement that it is true. 

What are the types of acceptance?  

Self-acceptance 

Self-acceptance means we appreciate, support, and validate ourselves. We agree with who we are, even though we might have made mistakes. 

Some people struggle with self-acceptance because of trauma or guilt. They also can think that self-acceptance means there is nothing they would change or improve about themselves, which is not true.  

Self-acceptance means we understand and are okay with who we are, just as we are. Flaws and all.  

Social acceptance 

Social acceptance means accepting the differences in others and being accepted by others. Most of us have a deep desire to be accepted by our peers. This is why so many people give in to peer pressure. They want to be accepted by those around them. 

Expressed acceptance 

This one means exactly what it sounds like—we unarguably express our acceptance. When someone clearly agrees to an offer, they are expressing their acceptance.  

Implied acceptance 

Implied acceptance means that the acceptance was implied by our actions. For example, if someone is selling something and we pay them for it, we have implied that we accept the price they have set for it. We might not have expressed our acceptance verbally, but we implied our acceptance by making the transaction. 

Conditional acceptance 

When someone asks for changes to be made to certain conditions before a final acceptance can be made, this is called conditional acceptance. For example, haggling over the price of a car with a car salesman. Each side usually makes changes in the price of the car until both sides come to an expressed acceptance.  

Each kind of acceptance is important, however, for this post we will be looking at what I feel is the most important type of acceptance for true happiness—self-acceptance. 

Is acceptance the key to happiness? 

1) We can’t change something if we don’t accept it 

Some degree of acceptance is needed in order for real change to happen. When we accept something, instead of living in denial, we make it possible to assess what is truly happening and figure out how we are going to fix it. 

2) Acceptance helps us make peace with our past 

If we continue to dwell on things that have happened to us in our past, it prevents us from moving forward. By making peace with something that might be difficult and painful to handle, we can begin healing.  

3) Acceptance reduces stress 

Living in a state of denial and avoidance can create a large amount of stress and takes a lot of energy to maintain. With acceptance, we regain that energy and can focus it on more productive things instead of trying to deny and avoid the truth. 

4) It helps us get to know ourselves better 

When we accept ourselves for who we are, we also accept our emotions and experiences. This helps us to get to know ourselves on a much deeper level. 

5) It strengthens our relationships 

Acceptance of ourselves also leads to more social acceptance. We can more easily accept that we are different than other people, but because we are still okay with it, other people are okay with it as well. Self-acceptance also makes us more confident, which can make it easier for those around us to accept us.

6) It leads to self-forgiveness 

After making peace with our past, being able to forgive ourselves for our past mistakes can be a huge weight off of our shoulders. Realizing we can’t change the past but can be a better person today and the days ahead can change everything. 

7) Acceptance makes us mentally stronger 

When we face situations and feelings head-on, instead of avoiding or denying them, it builds up strength. This strength continues to grow, which makes it easier to handle whatever comes our way. 

8) It is a form of resolution 

When we accept something about ourselves, it means we aren’t just burying that thing deep down, which can allow for it to surface at different times. Usually, these things surface at what can seem like the worst time.

When we accept something, it is a type of resolution. 

9) Acceptance makes us more grateful 

When we accept something and “let it go” we can easier appreciate all aspects of a situation, which can lead to us being more grateful.  

How to become more accepting 

1) Become more forgiving 

When we can forgive ourselves and other people, it makes it easier to move toward acceptance. Forgiveness does not mean that you condone your behavior or the behavior of others. It just means that you are acknowledging what happened, if it is something you have done then you are taking responsibility, and then you are giving yourself permission to move on. 

2) Practice more self-awareness 

When we are more self-aware, we are able to pay better attention to know we feel emotionally and physically. We need to know and name our emotions in order to be able to accept them. 

3) Become more mindful 

By focusing on what is happening to us right now in that moment, it becomes easier to stop focusing on the past and thinking about anything we might regret. We can change what is happening in the moment. We cannot change the past.  

Meditation and breathing exercises can help you to be more present in the moment. 

4) Give yourself, or others, more credit 

Praise yourself or others for their strengths and the things they are good at. Whenever you are struggling with negativity, it can be good to revisit what is great about yourself. 

5) Stop the negative self-talk 

It can be so much easier to just give in and listen to the negative things we say about ourselves at times. However, negative self-talk is not good for anything or anyone. Again, focusing on your strengths or the things you love about yourself can help battle that negativity.  

6) Strengthen your support system 

It might be time to reexamine the people closest to you. Do they build you up and make you feel good, or are they always negative and leaving you feeling drained? Surrounding yourself with people that you can trust, and that love you for who you are as you are, can be a great way to build acceptance.  

Self-acceptance is one of the first steps to self-love, and then to true happiness.  

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