To Accept Does Not Mean to Conform

To Accept Does Not Mean to Conform
Alicia Escaño Hidalgo

Written and verified by the psychologist Alicia Escaño Hidalgo.

Last update: 21 December, 2022

Many times we tend to excessively suffer over situations that aren’t totally under our control. And sometimes we have an even harder time due to our own resistance to accept what has happened, than over the negative fact itself.

It’s true that emotions are absolutely necessary and it’s not advisable to suppress them. Sadness is our way of recovering the balance and informing others we are not okay. Anxiety helps us protect ourselves from certain risks and dangers. Disgust keeps us from getting diseases.

Emotions, when they are adaptive and fit with the situation at hand, are very necessary, and they help us survive. The problem arises when the emotion has stopped serving its and turns against us. It’s as if we were tripping ourselves, and they turn into our own worst enemies.

As we know, the fact that we feel well or badly is determined by our way of focusing on the facts at hand. As Buddha said: pain is inevitable, but suffering is optional. You can decide how and how much you want to suffer. And to do this, one of the things you need to understand is that the world is full of uncertainty and we have control over very few things. But, this is simply part of the game.

girl and leaf

Are we conformists?

Not at all. As the title of this article says: to accept does not mean to conform. Many people think that if they don’t whine enough, if they don’t cry and scream and get mad at the world when something goes awry, it means that they are conforming and that is the weak thing to do. And actually, that’s backwards.

The weak thing to do is waste our energy and our valuable time on something that is not under our control, on something we can’t modify. I insist, emotions matter a lot, but only until a certain point. Past this point they just become useless.

Having wishes, objectives, passionate projects and dreams is essential and very important in order to be happy and to find the meaning of our lives. We shouldn’t conform to something if we don’t like it. We should try to change it. The same way that if we want to have something very treasured, we have to go after it and if we can, find it and enjoy it.

Therefore, we’re not talking about conforming. If you want something, you should go after it and enjoy the journey as well. But the important thing is to understand that no matter how hard I fight for something, it might go wrong in the end due to factors that are out of my control. And this is where the concept of acceptance comes into play.

Life isn’t perfect

So what? It’s not, it never has been and never will be. This is what we have to accept. Acceptance means understanding that things are sometimes in my favor and sometimes they’re not. And that’s normal, it’s a part of life. And it’s alright, because if everything was perfect, we would never value the times when they’re pleasant.

In order to enjoy victories, you need to experience failures. Therefore, it’s very important to tell yourself: I’ll try to make everything work out well and put in all of my effort. But if it doesn’t work out, that’s too bad. There are things that don’t depend on me, and I won’t get upset over it more than I need to. Other opportunities will come.

And it’s not enough to simply repeat it. You have to believe it, because it’s the only reality. You’ll find a thousand obstacles along the way and you better accept this sooner than later. To accept this will save you from much unnecessary suffering.

Learning to accept…

The world is not always how you want it to be: no matter how much this makes you angry, sad or anxious. Things aren’t always how you want them to be. If you accept this, your emotional state will be much more calm and relaxed, and it will allow you to see the situation clearly. You won’t let your emotions dominate you and cloud your vision.

People don’t act according to your expectations: everyone is an individual with their own mentality that can do whatever they please. Leave behind your expectations about others. Don’t wait for anything from them. Simply let people surprise you with their actions and enjoy what they may offer you.

Human beings make mistakes, as do you: Try to fix your mistakes and try to make others do it as well. But don’t condemn others or yourself for failing, because making mistakes is also a part of the game. And thanks to mistakes, we end up being good at many things.

“Don’t hurt others with things that cause you pain.”

To accept is to realize that everything is fine the way it is and whatever needs to happen will simply happen. But we should always leave enough room to change and act in order to improve a situation with a serene and loving attitude focused on the future.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.