A distraught mother was in anguish because
her 16-year-old daughter had left home and had fallen into drug use and undesirable behavior. She was helpless to do anything about it. She had no legal recourse. She had three other children, but was unable to tend adequately to them because of her preoccupation with the errant daughter.
When she met with other parents of wayward children, they told her that she must accept the fact that her daughter was beyond her control. The mother said to me, Ill never accept that!
You mean you think you can do something about it? I
No, I know I cant. But I still cannot accept it.
Lets clarify terms, I said. What you mean
is that you do not and will not approve of what she is doing. You also do not wish to give up hope that she will one day come to her senses and abandon her self-destructive behavior. You are right on both accounts. However, acceptance does not mean approval nor does it mean despair. Acceptance means acknowledging facts for what they are. As
of today, you must accept the unfortunate fact that you cannot do anything to rescue your daughter, and you certainly do not approve of it. Perhaps things may change tomorrow.
If you accept this fact today, you will be able to devote your energies to your other children who need a mothers care. If you deny reality and insist on doing something at a time when nothing can be done, you will deplete yourself in futile actions.
There are many things in life of which we disapprove, but they are
facts nevertheless. If we do not confuse acceptance with approval, we may be able to continue to function in the face of adversity.