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I watch as a friend struggles to come to terms with the health of an elderly spouse and friends who are trying to adjust to life after being widowed. 

I speak with women whose abrupt life changes leave them single parents or sole bread earners, panicking about jobs and the new choices they need to make. 

I talk with women faced with a diagnosis of cancer or some chronic and debilitating disease.

I reflect on my own challenges of death and life altering events that demanded major life style change.

The lists of things that stop us dead in our tracks and create seemingly impossible futures are endless. Each situation holds its own pain, resistance, resignation and resolution.

Within each is the challenge to accept what has happened. Denial and compromise can only go on for so long until we are faced with the alternative.

There are many layers to acceptance

We resist change because we do not want to let go of what we had. We created it, it was comfortable and predictable. 

Abrupt and drastic change challenges our perception of life and our ability to meet those challenges.

It is never easy to reconcile life altering events. Denial helps us absorb only what we can handle in the moment. Compromise helps us cushion what is now required of us. In the end, we are faced with a change we did not want but must now work with.


There is a cost/benefit to everything we do. When faced with losses, catastrophes or misfortunes, there is a benefit to remain focused on it. It helps us grieve. It cushions the pain. It keeps us from challenging ourselves when we need time to process events and recover. The past is familiar. The pull to stay in our comfort zone is powerful.

However, the benefit from remaining in resistance and in old habit patterns, while helpful in the short term may be a detriment in the long term.

We aren’t able to let go of the past, discover new strengths and determintion to move forward. We get stuck in unproductive lifestyles. We become dependent on short term fixes of prescription drugs, alcohol, food or the internet – all of which hold long term consequences when abused or used as a solution for pain, discomfort and anxiety.

Acceptance and letting go

If you find yourself stuck, anxious and fearful in your situation ask yourself some questions. Be as honest as you can.  This is for you.

 What benefit am I getting right now by constantly going over and over what has happened? What benefit am I getting by hanging on to my resentment, fear and anxiety? What self-defeating attitudes and beliefs am I hanging onto?  

Acceptance is where we let go, heal and feel okay about ourselves. We are not perfect and it is okay.

It is often where we discover God. When necessary we can extend forgiveness and grace to ourselves and others.

It is where we focus on what we can do – not what is out of our control. It is where we become energized and motivated again.

Acceptance is the start of a new beginning.

©2013 Marlene Anderson

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