Acceptance Is Not the Same as Accepting Your Fate

Pondering GuyOnly by acceptance of the past, can you alter it.” ~ T.S. Eliot

Before you can move forward, you have to accept where you are.

This seems like common sense, but is often missed.

Accepting where you are so you can begin the next leg of your journey doesn’t mean you accept your fate.

Maybe you’ve made some decisions you’re not pleased with. Perhaps you’ve endured, tolerated, and consented to things that in hindsight weren’t the best for you, and missed opportunities along the way.

The very first step is to see where you are, what has brought you here, and where you want to go next.

That’s acceptance.

In the present moment you exist as you are right now. Not as you were yesterday, or last month, or when you were 18.

This is just a starting point — a place to begin the next phase of your life.

So in this moment right now, accept where you are, but not your fate.

Your fate is up to you.


  1. Well said Tony, and many thanks for the link. I truly did experience the kind of acceptance you describe, and it remains one of the most meaningful and consequential moments of my life. You are so right – it IS up to us! All the best.

  2. One of the best definitions of acceptance I’ve read is “the willingness to perceive reality.” And that’s basically what you’re saying. Don’t waste emotional energy wishing things weren’t the way they are. Instead focus on trying to see them clearly and then decide what your options are. Focus on what you want, not on what you don’t want.

    Thanks for the link to Terry’s post. It was powerful.

  3. Acceptance basicallly is understanding that you cannot change anything about the way you got to where you are now.

    But as you say Tony, you can change where you are going. Today is a starting point to change your life. If you don’t do it today, then tomorrow you have to accept your choice from today and then start. But only when tomorrow is today.

    Acceptance is knowing that only what you do today really matters.

  4. Terry – You describe it so well in the post. Taking the time to reflect on these things can really change lives.

    Jean – I agree. You can’t change what is — but you can change your perception, and your focus for the future.

    Gerhi – There was a point years ago, when I realized that each moment is a completely new life. That sounds weird and esoteric, but it’s not. It’s just reality — and a choice.

  5. Good post (as usual) Tony. It’s easy to beat yourself up over the mistakes and missed opportunities of your past…acceptance is also about letting go of that stuff so you can actually move forward in a positive direction. You can’t control the past, but you can help control the future.

  6. You clarified an important distinction between acceptance as part of moving forward, and acceptance as resignation, Tony.

    Removing the veil of illusion to see things as they are right now . . .goes hand in hand with acceptance. It’s easy to get stuck in the illusion if we are not careful!

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