When someone come to me with stories of how badly life has treated him (no one tells me stories of how life has treated them fairly), and asks for advice on what to do, I request him to accept that this incident has happened.
Invariably, the person becomes confused and asks, “So, you are telling me to do nothing?“
And I answer, “I did not say that!“
Acceptance is acknowledging that something bad, that you cannot currently control, has happened and is happening to you. In essence, we do not fight it, and accept that it is happening or it has happened. Once we have done that, instead of focussing on fighting it, we focus on what can be done to mitigate the damage and to prevent it from happening again. We decide on some action.
In Judo and Aikido, we accept the other person’s strength and use it against the opponent to bring him down. Most soft martial arts do this. Acceptance here is the key to not using direct opposing force, but to use your own skills to mitigate the opponent’s strength.
Resignation, on the other hand, means accepting and doing nothing. This neither mitigates the damage, nor does it prevent something similar from happening again. We absolve ourselves of any responsibility, and attribute the current problem and future similar problems to luck, fate and will of God.
Blame is the only action that most resigned persons do. Apart from blaming others, we sometimes blame ourselves for putting ourselves in this position.
Resignation is about giving up. Acceptance is about deciding what to do next.
Instead of sitting and castigating ourselves and the world, we say, “Okay, crap happened. I will learn from this and do something different next time. Here is what I can and will do…“