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…

  1. August 28, 2012
    Ramesh Kumar N

    @ Chandra Kant – It is absolutely right sir that we have to accept an incident which already took place,but we humans cant do it in a day or weeks time.It might take years to forget it.But in the mean time the sorrow and the grief which people face because of the particular incident ,it cant be portrayed or displayed.In those situation what should the person do?? Time is the best healer as people say .Till the time heals our sorrows it becomes late and peoples personality changes .

    • August 29, 2012
      Chandra Kant

      Ramesh, grief is the toughest emotion to handle, and you are right, it takes time. See the “5 stages of grief” in wikipedia. However, knowing that we are in a certain stage of grief creates detachment and lowers the intensity, which may decrease the time to recovery.


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