Acceptance

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God, give us grace to accept with serenity
the things that cannot be changed, courage
to change the things which should be changed,
and the wisdom to distinguish the one from the other. ~ Reinhold Niebuhr

Acceptance in human psychology is an assent to the reality of a situation, recognizing a process or condition, often a unpleasant or uncomfortable one, without attempting to change, deny, protest or resent it. It is a fundamental or central element of scientific explorations as well as the faith and practices of many spiritual traditions, including the Abrahamic religions; the word "Islam" can be translated as acceptance, surrender or voluntary submission, and Christianity is based upon the acceptance of Jesus of Nazareth as the Christ. It is also prominent in Eastern religious traditions involving concepts of Tao, Dharma, and Buddhist mindfulness. Religions and psychological treatments often promote paths of serene acceptance when a situation is both disliked and unchangeable, or when change may be possible only at great cost or risk.

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A[edit]

If a pick-pocket or a cut-throat of our country can see everything that is in your country, surely that is no reason why the pick-pocket or cut-throat should be accepted by you as a God. ~ Edwin Abbott Abbott
The relationship between critical thought about the spiritual content of a given religion and action based on the deliberate acceptance of that content is complementary. And such acceptance, if consciously arrived at, fills the individual with strength of purpose, helps him to overcome doubts and, if he has to suffer, provides him with the kind of solace that only a sense of being sheltered under an all-embracing roof can grant. ~ Niels Bohr
Existence is a mystery, and one should accept it as a mystery and not pretend to have any explanation. No, explanation is not needed – only exclamation, a wondering heart, awakened, surprised, feeling the mystery of life each moment. ~ Osho
Dispose thy Soul to all good and necessary things! ~ Pythagoras
There's no such thing as security in this life, sweetheart; and the sooner you accept that fact, the better off you'll be. The person who strives for security will never be free. ~ Tom Robbins
Once you accept the existence of God — however you define him, however you explain your relationship to him — then you are caught forever with his presence in the center of all things. ~ Morris West
Liberty is the power of choice within the latitude left between the direct constraint of natural forces and the authority accepted as legitimate. ~ Simone Weil
There must be absolutely acceptance of the possibility that everything material in us should be destroyed. But we must simultaneously accept and repudiate the possibility that the supernatural part of the soul should disappear. ~ Simone Weil
A mind of von Neumann's inexorable logic had to understand and accept much that most of us do not want to accept and do not even wish to understand. ~ Eugene Wigner
  • "You see," said my Teacher, "how little your words have done. So far as the Monarch understands them at all, he accepts them as his own — for he cannot conceive of any other except himself — and plumes himself upon the variety of 'Its Thought' as an instance of creative Power. Let us leave this God of Pointland to the ignorant fruition of his omnipresence and omniscience: nothing that you or I can do can rescue him from his self-satisfaction."
    • Edwin Abbott Abbott, in Flatland: A Romance of Many Dimensions (1884), Ch. 20: How the Sphere Encouraged Me in a Vision
  • If you're gonna work for me, you have to be willing to be wrong, willing to lose. 'Cause you just did. You're fired.

B[edit]

  • The relationship between critical thought about the spiritual content of a given religion and action based on the deliberate acceptance of that content is complementary. And such acceptance, if consciously arrived at, fills the individual with strength of purpose, helps him to overcome doubts and, if he has to suffer, provides him with the kind of solace that only a sense of being sheltered under an all-embracing roof can grant. In that sense, religion helps to make social life more harmonious; its most important task is to remind us, in the language of pictures and parables, of the wider framework within which our life is set.

C[edit]

  • It is not a matter of competing with someone else. Essentially, it is accepting our own special abilities as special – and then developing them.
  • No one has rightly denied himself unless he has wholly resigned himself to the Lord and is willing to leave every detail to his good pleasure. If we put ourselves in such a frame of mind, then, whatever may happen to us, we shall never feel miserable or accuse God falsely because of our lot.
    • John Calvin, Golden Booklet of the True Christian Life, Page 44
  • But a faithful believer will in all circumstances mediate on the mercy and fatherly goodness of God.
    • John Calvin, Golden Booklet of the True Christian Life, Page 45
  • In short, knowing that whatever may happen is ordained by the Lord, he will receive it with a peaceful and thankful heart, that he may not be guilty of proudly resisting the rule of him to whom he has once committed himself and all his belongings.
    • John Calvin, Golden Booklet of the True Christian Life, page 46

F[edit]

  • We never thought, sitting in my office on those afternoons, discussing Voltaire and Ingersoll, that we would ever be brought to this, did we? You, the atheist whom the mere sight of a church spire on the sky could enrage; and I who have never been able to divorce myself from reason enough even to accept your pleasant and labor-saving theory of nihilism.
    • William Faulkner, in "Beyond", first published in Harper's (September 1933), later in Collected Stories (1950)
  • I decline to accept the end of man. It is easy enough to say that man is immortal because he will endure: that when the last ding-dong of doom has clanged and faded from the last worthless rock hanging tideless in the last red and dying evening, that even then there will still be one more sound: that of his puny inexhaustible voice, still talking. I refuse to accept this. I believe that man will not merely endure: he will prevail.
    • William Faulkner, in his speech at the Nobel Prize Banquet after receiving the Nobel Prize for Literature (10 December 1950)
  • The way in which a man accepts his fate and all the suffering it entails, the way in which he takes up his cross, gives him ample opportunity — even under the most difficult circumstances — to add a deeper meaning to his life. It may remain brave, dignified and unselfish. Or in the bitter fight for self-preservation he may forget his human dignity and become no more than an animal. Here lies the chance for a man either to make use of or to forgo the opportunities of attaining the moral values that a difficult situation may afford him. And this decides whether he is worthy of his sufferings or not.

G[edit]

  • Acceptance. Acceptance of the impermanence of being. And acceptance of the imperfect nature of being, or possibly the perfect nature of being, depending on how one looks at it. Acceptance that this is not a rehearsal. That this is it.

H[edit]

  • The sinner is not on the way to a Buddha-like state; he is not evolving, although our thinking cannot conceive things otherwise. No, the potential Buddha already exists in the sinner; his future is already there. The potential hidden Buddha must be recognized in him, in you, in everybody. The world, Govinda, is not imperfect or slowly evolving along a long path to perfection. No it is perfect at every moment; every sin already carries grace within it. .... The Buddha exists in the robber and dice player; the robber exists in the Brahmin. During deep meditation it is possible to dispel time, to see simultaneously all the past, present and future, and then everything is good, everything is perfect, everything is Brahman. Therefore it seems to me that everything that exists is good—death as well as life, sin as well as holiness, wisdom as well as folly. Everything is necessary, everything needs only my agreement, my assent, my loving understanding; then all is well with me and nothing can harm me. I learned through my body and soul that it was necessary for me to sin, that I needed lust, that I had to strive for property and experience nausea and the depths of despair in order to learn not resist them, in order to learn to love the world, and no longer compare it with some kind of desired imaginary world, some imaginary vision of perfection, but to leave it as it is, to love it and be glad to belong to it.

L[edit]

  • Unless a writer works constantly to improve and refine the tools of his trade they will be useless instruments if and when the moment of inspiration, of revelation, does come. This is the moment when a writer is spoken through, the moment that a writer must accept with gratitude and humility, and then attempt, as best he can, to communicate to others.
  • How do we teach a child — our own, or those in a classroom — to have compassion: to allow people to be different; to understand that like is not equal; to experiment; to laugh; to love; to accept the fact that the most important questions a human being can ask do not have — or need — answers.
  • All will be redeemed in God's fullness of time, all, not just the small portion of the population who have been given the grace to know and accept Christ. All the strayed and stolen sheep. All the little lost ones.
    • Madeleine L'Engle, in A Stone for a Pillow (1986), as quoted in If Grace Is True : Why God Will Save Every Person (2003) by Philip Gulley and James Mulholland, p. 223

N[edit]

  • God, give us grace to accept with serenity
    the things that cannot be changed,
    courage to change the things
    which should be changed,
    and the wisdom to distinguish
    the one from the other.
    • Reinhold Niebuhr, in the The Serenity Prayer (c. 1942). The author never copyrighted this prayer, and it has been used in many variants, and has often been attributed to others, including, most commonly, St. Francis of Assisi.
    • Variant: God grant me the serenity
      to accept the things I cannot change,
      courage to change the things I can,
      and the wisdom to know the difference.

O[edit]

  • Tao mystics never talk about God, reincarnation, heaven, hell. No, they don't talk about these things. These are all creations of human mind: explanations for something which can never be explained, explanations for the mystery. In fact, all explanations are against God because explanation de-mystifies existence. Existence is a mystery, and one should accept it as a mystery and not pretend to have any explanation. No, explanation is not needed – only exclamation, a wondering heart, awakened, surprised, feeling the mystery of life each moment. Then, and only then, you know what truth is. And truth liberates.
    • Osho, in Never Born, Never Died (2002)

P[edit]

  • It is often asserted that discussion is only possible between people who have a common language and accept common basic assumptions. I think that this is a mistake. All that is needed is a readiness to learn from one's partner in the discussion, which includes a genuine wish to understand what he intends to say. If this readiness is there, the discussion will be the more fruitful the more the partner's backgrounds differ.
    • Karl Popper, in Conjectures and Refutations: The Growth of Scientific Knowledge (1963), p. 352
  • The genuine rationalist does not think that he or anyone else is in possession of the truth; nor does he think that mere criticism as such helps us achieve new ideas. But he does think that, in the sphere of ideas, only critical discussion can help us sort the wheat from the chaff. He is well aware that acceptance or rejection of an idea is never a purely rational matter; but he thinks that only critical discussion can give us the maturity to see an idea from more and more sides and to make a correct judgement of it.
    • Karl Popper, in "On Freedom" in All Life is Problem Solving (1999)
  • Dispose thy Soul to all good and necessary things!
    • Pythagoras, as translated in The Sayings of the Wise: Or, Food for Thought: A Book of Moral Wisdom, Gathered from the Ancient Philosophers (1555) by William Baldwin

R[edit]

  • What Brahman is cannot be described. One cannot even say that Brahman is a Person. This is the opinion of the jnanis, the followers of Vedanta. But the bhaktas accept all the states of consciousness. They take the waking state to be real also. They don't think the world to be illusory, like a dream. They say that the universe is a manifestation of the God's power and glory. God has created all these — sky, stars, moon, sun, mountains, ocean, men, animals. They constitute His glory. He is within us, in our hearts. Again, He is outside. The most advanced devotees say that He Himself has become all this — the 24 cosmic principles, the universe, and all living beings.
    • Ramakrishna, in The Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna (1942), p. 132
  • Brahman and Śakti are identical. If you accept the one, you must accept the other. It is like fire and its power to burn. If you see the fire, you must recognize its power to burn also. You cannot think of fire without its power to burn, nor can you think of the power to burn without fire. You cannot conceive of the sun's rays without the sun, nor can you conceive of the sun without its rays. You cannot think of the milk without the whiteness, and again, you cannot think of the whiteness without the milk. Thus one cannot think of Brahman without Śakti, or of Śakti without Brahman. One cannot think of the Absolute without the Relative, or of the Relative without the Absolute.
    • Ramakrishna, in The Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna (1942), p. 134
  • Freaks: We accept you, one of us! Gooble Gobble!
    • Freaks (1932 film) screenplay by Tod Robbins
  • There's no such thing as security in this life, sweetheart; and the sooner you accept that fact, the better off you'll be. The person who strives for security will never be free. The person who believes that she's found security will never reach paradise. What she mistakes for security is purgatory. You know what purgatory is, Gwendolyn? It's the waiting room, it's the lobby. Not only does she have the wrong libretto, she's stuck in the lobby where she can't see the show.
  • All Uncle Larry is saying is that individuals have to accept responsibility for their own bad choices. If every time we choose a turd, society, at great expense, simply allows us to redeem it for a pepperoni, then not only will we never learn to make smart choices, we will also surrender the freedom to choose, because a choice without consequences is no choice at all.
  • Accept that you're a pimple and try to keep a lively sense of humor about it. That way lies grace — and maybe even glory.
    • Tom Robbins, in Fierce Invalids Home from Hot Climates (2000)

W[edit]

  • It costs so much to be a full human being that there are very few who have the enlightenment, or the courage, to pay the price…. One has to abandon altogether the search for security, and reach out to the risk of living with both arms. One has to embrace the world like a lover, and yet demand no easy return of love. One has to accept pain as a condition of existence. One has to court doubt and darkness as the cost of knowing. One needs a will stubborn in conflict, but apt always to the total acceptance of every consequence of living and dying.
  • Once you accept the existence of God — however you define him, however you explain your relationship to him — then you are caught forever with his presence in the center of all things. You are also caught with the fact that man is a creature who walks in two worlds and traces upon the walls of his cave the wonders and the nightmare experiences of his spiritual pilgrimage.
  • I assure you that when in speaking of my childhood and youth I use the words vocation, obedience, spirit of poverty, purity, acceptance, love of one's neighbor, and other expressions of the same kind, I am giving them the exact signification they have for me now. Yet I was brought up by my parents and my brother in a complete agnosticism, and I never made the slightest effort to depart from it; I never had the slightest desire to do so, quite rightly, I think. In spite of that, ever since my birth, so to speak, not one of my faults, not one of my imperfections really had the excuse of ignorance. I shall have to answer for everything on that day when the Lamb shall come in anger.
    • Simone Weil, in her last letter to Father Joseph-Marie Perrin, from a refugee camp in Casablanca (26 May 1942), as translated in The Simone Weil Reader (1957) edited by George A. Panichas, p. 111
  • Anyone whose attention and love are really directed towards the reality outside the world recognizes at the same time that he is bound, both in public and private life, by the single and permanent obligation to remedy, according to his responsibilities and to the extent of his power, all the privations of soul and body which are liable to destroy or damage the earthly life of any human being whatsoever. … The thought of this obligation is present to all men, but in very different forms and in very varying degrees of clarity. Some men are more and some are less inclined to accept — or to refuse — it as their rule of conduct.
    • Simone Weil, in Draft for a Statement of Human Obligation (1943)
  • Liberty is the power of choice within the latitude left between the direct constraint of natural forces and the authority accepted as legitimate. The latitude should be sufficiently wide for liberty to be more than a fiction, but it should include only what is innocent and should never be wide enough to permit certain kinds of crime.
  • Humility consists of knowing that in this world the whole soul, not only what we term the ego in its totality, but also the supernatural part of the soul, which is God present in it, is subject to time and to the vicissitudes of change. There must be absolutely acceptance of the possibility that everything material in us should be destroyed. But we must simultaneously accept and repudiate the possibility that the supernatural part of the soul should disappear.
    • Simone Weil, in "Concerning the Our Father" in Waiting on God (1950; 1972 edition), p. 153
  • A mind of von Neumann's inexorable logic had to understand and accept much that most of us do not want to accept and do not even wish to understand. This fact colored many of von Neumann's moral judgments. … Only scientific intellectual dishonesty and misappropriation of scientific results could rouse his indignation and ire — but these did — and did almost equally whether he himself, or someone else, was wronged.
    • Eugene Wigner, in "John von Neumann (1903 - 1957)" in Year book of the American Philosophical Society (1958); later in Symmetries and Reflections : Scientific Essays of Eugene P. Wigner (1967), p. 261

See also[edit]

External links[edit]

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