Do you accept whatever happens or are you being dragged down the
path of life kicking and screaming, "This shouldn't be happening!"?
Methods #3 and #4 in this chapter--Challenging Irrational Ideas and
Determinism--focus on acceptance of things as they are and avoidance
of the "tyranny of the shoulds." This doesn't mean we can't change
things. It means trying our best to change things and then accepting
whatever we can't change. It means accepting our selves and finding
our own fulfilling life (Kopp, 1991). Several other viewpoints
emphasize acceptance of others: Carl Rogers (1961) recommended
unconditional positive regard (chapter 9) in which we respect every
human being regardless of what he/she may have done. This is similar
to Buber's "I and Thou" relationships in which people revere one
another. In empathy (chapter 13) the focus is on understanding, not
judging, the other person. Any personality theory or insight method
(chapter 15) which increases our understanding of others also
increases our acceptance.
Christ: Love the sinner, condemn the sin.
Buddha: Love the sinner; realize sinning is a part of life.
Blaming others for who they are, without recognizing who they may
become, is short-sighted.
Folk wisdom (Fleming, 1988) tells us that understanding and
forgiving others who have hurt us are two major steps towards a
healthy life (see chapters 3 and 9). Miller (1995), drawing on
Buddhist, Jewish, and Christian writings, encourages us to accept life
as it unfolds and resist asking for more "goodies." Seek contentment
with life through compassion with others (practice it rather than being
critical or suspicious), attention to the nice and wondrous things
happening at the moment (rather than on past regrets and future
worries), and gratitude for all the things in life that we take for
Every meal is really a communion.
-An old Quaker notion