Imagine: you notice that your relationship is going less well than you had hoped. You have certain expectations of your partner that he or she doesn’t live up to. This causes stress and anxiety and you start to think: “does he/ she even care and think about me?” Or “what if the relationship eventually ends?”. If you accept that the relationship is indeed in a bad state, you can gain more insight into the solutions. Think about what can be done to strengthen your relationship. As soon as you acknowledge and accept that something is not going as you had hoped/ expected, there is more room to make new choices and to sort things out.

What is acceptance?

Acceptance means that you accept the reality. This is often necessary when we can no longer control a situation that we would like to see differently. Acceptance of the situation is often the only option and ultimately offers you peace the most. You consciously choose to accept a situation: it is an active process.

We have no influence on the behaviour of others and this can be very stressful. For that reason we often have to find the solution in ourselves. This is possible through acceptance and often provides us peace and quiet. This does not mean that you have to accept everything that did not go as planned or did not go as you had hoped. Sometimes things can still be done before you start the acceptance process. If that is not the case: learn to accept.

5 tips for accepting what you cannot change

  1. Recognise your feelings: acknowledge feelings that you have and do not try to suppress it if you find it difficult to accept something. Consider the emotions, give yourself space and then try to pick up the thread again.
  2. Prepare for the worst: when you have the worst scenario in mind, it can often be better than expected. Accept the worst case scenario and let go!
  3. Seek support from your friends or family: when you share with your environment why you feel restless you can better accept the situation. Our social environment has a huge influence on our state of mind. For that reason, it is important to share what you encounter with your inner circle.
  4. Do activities, find distractions and structure your life: the moment you get restless, the best remedy is to distract yourself with (fun) activities. For example, by working out, listening to nice music or by meeting someone, you distance yourself from the situation and you can then look at it with a clear mind. By applying a clear structure to your day or week, you are engaged in other activities that are important. This creates tranquility and as a result worrying thoughts will decrease.
  5. Consider your thoughts: which thoughts give you the most stress? Try to challenge your thoughts with the help of a G-scheme. Become aware of your own thoughts and investigate if they are correct. In this way you structure your own thought process and you will challenge your thinking.

What is the effect of accepting what you cannot change?

  • You start to feel more relaxed: you adjust your expectations, so there is less room for disappointment.
  • Learning to accept also creates self-confidence. And self-confidence provides a more positive self-image: in the end things will work out and if it doesn’t that is also fine. At least you have gained some experience. What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, right?
  • Make a list of your goals and start working on them.
Tags: acceptance
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Sarah Goslinga

My name is Sarah Goslinga, psychologist and coach at NiceDay. It's important to me that you have a real connection with your coach and that you feel you can discuss anything. There are many different things I like to do, such as making music, roller skating or dancing!

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