The Power of Acceptance

The Power of Acceptance

by Pamela Carvell


Two things recently occurred to me: firstly that we can be very unaccepting of people whose views differ to ours, and secondly that acceptance of others and their views is extremely empowering and a very powerful personality trait to have. Which led me to reflect upon the impact of acceptance on mental health.

There are many different kinds of acceptance:

  • Of yourself and who you are
  • Of the inevitable, over which you have no control
  • Of others, their views and who they are
  • Of how you feel
  • Of what others say and do
  • Of your past
  • Of things you can’t change
  • And finally, of your personal responsibility and accountability.

NOTE: In this article I am NOT talking about acceptance of anything that is in any way illegal, abusive, racist, homophobic etc.


Acceptance is defined as acknowledging a situation without attempting to change or protest it. It is not agreeing that something is right!

Social Media

Social media is a hotbed of unacceptance and of judging others for the way they look and their views. And sadly, it seems to me to be the people who are most insecure, who post photos to gain acceptance, or join in controversial conversations, and then struggle to cope with the negativity that abounds. It is far healthier to accept that other people may hold different views to yours, and to accept that they not only have that right, but also have the right to express them, and not receive abuse or criticism in return. To read something that you violently disagree with, but accept that person’s right to hold that view, and not respond: but rather get on with your life, is very empowering.

Similarly if you can accept that being offended by something you see on social media is YOUR choice, you can then choose to accept that getting involved in a long, potentially nasty Twitter debate, is probably not in your best interests!

It is also empowering to accept that a company like Greggs has a right to produce a vegan sausage roll, and actually call it that, and that people are free to buy it if they choose, and NOT feel the need to try and deny all parties that choice! What purpose does disagreeing with it serve?

On social media, people make snap judgements based on a few words, a photo which has probably been modified and a profile that doesn’t reflect the real person. Accepting that their judgements actually don’t matter, and don’t impact your real life, is again very empowering.


Self-acceptance consists of many things, such as the way you look, the way you feel, the way you live your life and the values that you hold. Self-acceptance leads to self-esteem, which leads to self-confidence and which all contribute to positive mental health. That doesn’t mean that you have to accept yourself as you are forever. It means that you accept yourself as you are each day, without judgement. You may, at the same time, have plans to change some aspect of yourself, for example learn more about a certain religion, or lose weight, but accepting who you are now is an important part of the journey, as is accepting that change takes time.

Your Past

None of us can change our past, but the good news is that it is past. What we can do is re-frame past events, accept that they happened and that we can’t change that, but accept that we can choose not to let our past define us. Acceptance of things that have already happened, so that you can ‘park’ them deep in your memory, will help create a happier present.

Other People

If you can accept others, rather than judge them, it is very liberating. If others are being cruel or insulting, it is often because they themselves are hurting. So, it’s far better to read / hear what they say and then get on with your life, not try and argue with them, or worse, start a personal crusade to try and change them. It is far better to accept that you can make a personal choice not to socialise with (on or offline) with such people.


There are many inevitabilities in life, death being one of them, and if you are lucky, so is growing old! It is far better to accept the inevitabilities that you can’t change, and focus your energy on the things you can change. And most of those things are within you. If you can accept that life is a journey, with many ups and downs, and with days when you will feel total desperation, but also with days when you will feel total elation, then that acceptance will empower you.

Personal Responsibility and Accountability

It is always too easy to blame others, or circumstances, for things we are not happy about. But is far better to accept that we are responsible for how we feel and we are accountable for the choices that we make. And so many things in life are choices that we make, not inevitabilities. We choose what sort of person we want to be and we choose how we let external events impact us. Not all of these choices are easy to make, but accepting responsibility for those choices is often a valuable first step. For example, you choose to spend hours each day on Twitter, you choose to be offended by the views of others, you choose to post things disagreeing with others, you choose to read (& get upset by) the insults that are thrown around. If you accept that you are making those choices, then you may choose to spend your time doing much happier things such as listening to music, studying, chilling with friends and family, walking the dog, cooking a nice meal, exercising or reading a book.


Acceptance of yourself and of others and their views, without the need to get involved, but simply accepting, can be very liberating and empowering. Add to that acceptance of your own responsibilities, accountability and choices, and you have a very powerful mix to create contentment.



Written by Pamela Carvell, BSc Hons, Lifestyle Consultant

January 2020


This article expresses the views of Pamela Carvell, based on many years working with Neuro Linguistic Programming. It may be reproduced in part or full, so long as full credit is given to Pamela and this blog

NOTE: In this article I am NOT talking about acceptance of anything that is in any way illegal, abusive, racist, homophobic etc.