This happens to be a common trope amongst members of Alcoholics Anonymous, but I consider it to be applicable to everyday people (the normies, we call you) just as well. “Acceptance is the answer to all my problems today,” it reads. Recently, somebody drew to my attention that acceptance is not the “answer” and induced me to reframe my thinking around the word “acceptance.” Obviously, we know what people mean when they use the phrase “acceptance is the answer.” They mean there is something or someone disturbing them that they cannot change, so why bother? Let’s just get on with it. Essentially, what they mean is “let that shit go,” but is that really “acceptance?”
There are certain things that I can choose to accept or reject. Being an alcoholic, or for a normie, being an asshole, jealous, impatient, or defensive is not one of those things. Boo-hoo, too bad, you got what you have been given, my friend. If somebody offers me advice or a suggestion, I can accept that advice or reject it. If somebody offers me a gift, I can accept or reject the gift. If somebody offers me a trade, I can accept or reject the trade. The best one can do with regard to any defects of character, or even “alcoholism” (not a disease, by the way), is to work to keep them at bay continuously. I wrote a story about Larry Merchant commentating a boxing match a few posts ago. Actually, I think I may have misremembered which fight it was as I was writing it, but it was between Fernando Vargas and Shane Mosley. During the fight, Emanuel Steward proclaims that if Fernando Vargas had faster hands, he would be winning the fight easily, to which Larry Merchant replies, “Well, yes, but if he had faster hands, he wouldn’t be Fernando Vargas. He would be somebody else.” Ultimately, there is not a lot one can do about whatever it is that one lacks. We didn’t have a choice in accepting or rejecting our shortcomings. Fortunately, there is good news, which is that we also possess good qualities that we did not accept nor reject.
Finally, and perhaps the thing I take issue with the most, is the idea that acceptance is the answer – to what? To all one’s problems? Let me pose a question to all the readers: At this very moment, right now, what is the problem exactly? I suppose that is the primary talking point I want to leave you with today. Another question: If you (or I) sat down with a group of people and had a “problem contest,” do you think you’d win? “Oh, but I still have problems; they just aren’t as glaring.” Ah, I get it. “Stop trying to take my problems from me!!” Why do we want problems so bad? In any case, if the blueprint is to accept the things we cannot change and the courage to change the things we can, given a new outlook on the word, what exactly are those things?
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