The Importance of Acceptance - Achieving a Happier LifeOne of the very first posts I ever wrote was How to Combat Anxiety. In this post I touched on the importance of accepting its presence and ceasing to fight the anxiety as this just creates a vicious cycle, that really just compounds your problems.

Now, I’d like to discuss acceptance as it relates to our lives as a whole. And how through accepting the reality as it is, (particularly as they relate to things that are of our control) we can make more rational and informed decisions. Decisions that ultimately will improve our well-being and lead to us feeling more content and a lot happier. An example will serve to illustrate this point.

You’re driving on the highway, sticking to the speed limit that is 120km/h (this is in South Africa).

You take a look in your rear view mirror and see a car hurtling up behind you, the driver flashing his lights in an effort to get you to move over.

Now, many of us will react to this with anger and indeed some of us will remain in the “fast lane” thinking to ourselves: “Not a hell am I going to move over for this guy”.

You remain in the fast lane.  The guy continues to flash his lights, his hands now firmly on the horn. You can hear it. You can see him pulling zap signs.

In your anger you pull one back. This goes on for a few minutes, before you eventually move over.

He passes you; clearly swearing, pointing at you, with his eyes wide open. You pull a zap sign at him.

And you spend the next 30 min (or longer) thinking about this as you drive home.

You then spend another 30 min moaning about it with your friends over a beer.

And when you get home you even tell your wife about it.

What a waste of energy. Your stress levels are through the roof. And really you are to blame for that. Yes, YOU, no one else.

How you reacted to that situation had a direct affect on the rest of your day. And quite frankly, YOU allowed it to affect you in a negative way.

Now, lets look at the same scenario again. You see the guy flashing his lights. It is what it is. You accept it. You have no control over what he is doing. BUT you do have control over how you react.

So you move over. You don’t get involved in all the swearing. You don’t create a build-up of anger.

And after a few minutes, it will merely be a blip in the ocean. You continue happily along.

Same scenario. Different outcome. Why? Because you reacted differently. You reacted in a way that was beneficial to your well-being. You chose to move over and not let it affect you.

This may all seem so obvious and simple. And it is. You will be surprised though how many people react in the way described in the first instance, letting emotion take over.

The problem is, that whilst it seems like such a simple thing, people don’t actively practice this acceptance.

I myself was guilty of this for a while until I started actively practicing it. So I urge you to practice this. It may seem simple and really insignificant to your life as a whole when you look at isolated incidents.

But all these isolated incidents add up.  If you can master it in everyday situations, you can then transfer this over to your life as a whole.

And besides what good does it do you to react in a way that causes you huge stress. It’s a massive waste of energy, energy that you could use for something else, energy that you could channel in a more positive way.

So why not start practicing this acceptance.

Accepting the fact that certain things are out of our control.

Accepting the fact that you always have a choice.

Accepting the fact that your choice of reaction has a direct effect on the outcomes.

This will allow you to make decisions, rational decisions, not governed by emotion, that ultimately will be better off for your well-being and your happiness.


I would love to hear from you. Have you been in a situation that was out of your control? How did you choose to react?

Nick Darlington,

Daily Zen. 

Author Bio – Nick Darlington is the founder of getButterflied, where he helps and inspires people to transform their lives and the world around them. After obtaining his Business Management Degree, he spent two years working in a tech startup, before traveling the world. He is a polymath, free spirit, traveler and aspiring entrepreneur. He can be contacted on Facebook, Twitter or via email. –