Acceptance does not mean I have to live my life in helpless anger that I survived something horrible and it still haunts my days and nights.
Acceptance does not mean that I will always be afraid of people and relationships.
Acceptance does not mean that I am giving up my need to fight for what should have been but never was.
Acceptance does not mean that I have lost my self-respect or self-esteem.
Here is what it means to me:
1. I accept the fact that sometimes things happen that are beyond our control. Those events can cause incredible pain and are sometimes the result of another person's selfishness. When that happens, all that I can control is how I will live with the aftermath.
2. I accept the fact that I am human. I've made many mistakes. I've acted in unwise ways in order to ease the pain I could not control. This happens sometimes. I am no better or worse than any other person. I can choose to dwell on the past, or I can allow myself to accept that it is the past, and make a new future.
3. I accept the fact that there will always be some things in my life that I cannot change. I cannot change how my parents treated me--only how I will treat them now. I cannot create a charmed childhood and adolescence. I cannot wish away my experiences of mistreatment and abuse. I cannot change the physical scarring. I cannot change the fact that all this makes me feel sad--and it's appropriate for me to feel this.
4. I accept me. There is so much about me that is good and worthwhile. I've been blessed with intelligence and talent. I have a joyful spirit. I have a deep appreciation of beauty. I love without restraint. My smile and laughter are contagious. I've overcome so much, and worked so hard to attain that which I've achieved in my life. I have a deep love for and faith in God and I walk with Him daily--and I know He loves me.
Acceptance doesn't mean my life will be perfect from this point forward. There will be times when I'm sad or angry. There will be times when I want someone to hold me. There will be times when I struggle or wish things were different. And it's all right for those things to happen.
There is much that will never get better--I will go on in spite of it. There is much that will remain tragic--I will continue to triumph. There is much I will always need but never have--I am not the only one on earth who experiences this and I will draw strength from others who continue joyfully against the odds.
I am me. I will keep trying until one day my life becomes beautiful. I will accept nothing less.