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What's the difference between passivity and acceptance?

Sheri Van Dijk
Psychiatry

Many people confuse acceptance with passivity. Think of acceptance as acknowledging the reality you're dealing with - you're not approving of it, you're not saying you like it or that you don't want it to change; you're just saying "it is what it is". Once you've accepted something (or have started working on acceptance), you still want to take a look at the situation if you don't like it, and see if there are steps you can take to change it. In other words, "it is what it is; and is there something I can do to make it different?".

Passivity, on the other hand, leaves this part out of the equation. You might be working on accepting something you don't like, but you also don't try to make it different. I think it's harder to practice acceptance with things we don't like when we haven't done anything to try to make the situation different. At least if we've tried, even if it hasn't worked, we can say "I did my best, and it is what it is". When we passively sit back and don't even try, however, that usually makes us feel worse.

Deepak Chopra
Alternative & Complementary Medicine
Tolerance faces resistance from critics who believe that if youallow too much freedom, human nature will become wild, lawless, anddestructive. What would have happened, they charge, if the greatmonsters of evil in history had been allowed to have their way?

Here one needs to see the difference between passivity andacceptance. Someone who accepts you doesn't simply let you dowhatever you want. Spirit doesn't ask anyone to resign themselvesto evil and wrongdoing. When evil actions or attitudes arise, wehave a duty to assert our sense of justice. Yet even as we hate thesin, we do not hate the sinner. In that distinction the meaning ofacceptance can be grasped. Acceptance means you see the equality ofsouls. You allow for the truth that spirit abides in everyone. Hardas it may be for moralists to believe, a sinner may act out ofsuffering rather than evil. His wrongs may be a call for love andunderstanding. All people deserve those things. Even if theiractions lead to punishment, that doesn't invalidate their higherstatus as children of God.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.