The beauty of acceptance

A concept which resonated with Nietzsche with repeated enthusiasm was amor fati. Translated from Latin as a love of one’s own fate or as others might surmise, a resolute enthusiastic acceptance of everything that has happened in one’s life. A tall order! The individual who embraces the concept of amor fati does not seek to erase the events but rather accepts the events with a compassionate and grateful stance. The realization that our past, our thoughts, and our actions are inextricably linked, provides an avenue for us to start saying a large YES to life. A life that will always present us with moments of sheer ecstasy and moments of absolute pain.

We are bombarded with nuanced and striking information about ways in which we should change aspects of ourselves and our experiences. We’re encouraged to change our personalities so that we can be more popular, our external appearance so that we attract the ‘right’ individual, or our careers so that we achieve status. We kick violently against the negative events in our lives and our unique ways of resistance, compartmentalizing good and bad. What would happen if were to embrace the opposites? Nietzsche did not regard opposites as static values that remain antagonistic and incapable of equilibrium, rather, they are experienced as relative and complementary to one another. Reality therefore is a flux of contradictions. The authentic individual then, not only acknowledges the contradictions but seeks to organize the chaos of the contradiction, the energy of which gives rise to creativity.

Examples of therapeutic modalities that promote and foster acceptance are Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) and Dialectical Behaviour Therapy (DBT). The ultimate goal of ACT is to undermine the hegemony of language since human language is at the core of most human suffering. ACT helps individuals return to broader contact with knowledge; intuition, inspiration, and simple awareness of the world. ACT also extends to the examination of the impact of thoughts or emotions on other actions.

DBT uses the skill of Radical Acceptance so that one can accept reality and let go of the aspects of the situation that we cannot change. This approach allows us to liberate the bottled-up energy and if required, make a plan to change the situation for the better.

There is no doubt that acceptance of what is can be difficult and can feel overwhelming however starting with the intention to accept can be a pivotal first step.