Whenever I talk about the acceptance of a disability, pain or any kind of loss, which I think is a pre-requisite in the process of adjustment to the changed situations or capabilities, people usually and immediately reply me back saying, “It is easy to talk about acceptance but it is difficult to put into practice.” I do very well understand them and their difficulties in coping up with their disabilities on one hand and their facing the reactions and attitudes of the society on the other.

My idea of acceptance, does in no way, mean surrender or giving up. It does not mean resignation either. Resignation or surrendering pertains to a feeling of helplessness and I never would advocate that. Such an attitude would be a kind of negative assessment of the conditions that the challenges pose. Rather it would lead a person to a situation of depression. The person would become imbecile, with inaction creeping into the thought process as well into the personality as a whole.  Let me tell you, I am totally against such a kind of yielding, which only results in withdrawal from the scene of action.

I always see a kind of confusion and misunderstanding regarding the meaning of the term ‘acceptance’. Acceptance of problems thus remains a major stumbling block in the growth process of an individual. Beatrice Wright in a rehabilitation literature stated, “A shameful fact cannot be accepted as long as it remains shameful”. So please tell me, is our disability such an act?

So why is there a hitch found while incorporating of disability in a healthy way in the concept of self and that too when disability has come to stay?

Acceptance of disability is nothing but a realization of the difficulties that disabling conditions bring. Also at the same time, it focuses on the inner most values and latent resources and ability of individuals.

My idea of acceptance doesn’t mean to pull on with needless suffering. One may not have to feel defeated either. But what I really mean is to hope for a better future in wake of present day realities even if the realities are unpleasant, bitter and tough to handle. False hopes have to be renounced.

Acceptance also doesn’t mean that you have to comply by other people’s opinion of you. Society might take pity on you. When you visit public places or educational institutes, people may not trust your abilities. They may not understand your pain. They may contribute in igniting negativities in your thoughts. But why do you need to accept ‘their’ version of ‘your’ capabilities? Why you need to agree to ‘their’ judgement about ‘you’? I simply do not mean such an acceptance. You, in no way, have to like the condition in which you are into. I would be committing a crime if I suggest you such a kind of acceptance.

Healthy acceptance means recognition of uselessness of struggling against the distasteful realities of life. Cribbing or bemoaning over the fate would absolutely prove futile. Unless you come to terms mentally and emotionally with unpleasant realities, there is no real acceptance.

It means peacefully accepting the adverse realities that you are currently facing. All you need to do is to practice saying, “Though I don’t like my condition, but I’m going to do everything I can to make my life as best as I can despite the adversities.”

Fighting or resisting to situation, which cannot be reversed, can bring a lot of pain, both at a physical and mental level. Consequently there develop chronic physical and mental tensions. This entire ongoing struggle can take its toll on the functioning of your body and mental faculties. Emotional hangs ups coupled with irritability are likely become a part of your personality. I am not scaring you, but disabilities can accentuate due to the stiffness and rigidity in muscles and joints caused by anxieties. Ultimately you would simply feel exhausted by the continual battle against the conditions.
 As a first step towards acceptance as a coping up mechanism, just try to tune into your body. Relax your mind. Learn deep breathing. Pray and meditate. All this would increase clarity of thought and enhance your ability to cope with pain and other adverse situations in life.

We all need serenity, courage, and wisdom. And we can have all of them despite our disability. But first of all we require a willingness to accept the condition which cannot be changed. We need to re-focus or re-stress on things which can be changed, improved or developed. Self esteem is also one of the most important ingredients in this regard.

Contentment and effectiveness of life depend on our abilities to face the adversities. We require a realistic approach and practically feasible as well as achievable plans for dealing with problems. And for this one has to be emotionally detached from the situation while keeping an objective approach.

What I feel is that there are four “A’s” to complete any rehabilitation process and they are:

Acknowledge, Admit, Adapt and Accept