We're more likely to look for, find, and accept a positive view towards the things we're stuck with than of the things we're not. (Frey et al., 1984) This is why "acceptance" is one of the first stages of recovery. There are several types of acceptance that a person must have:
A) Accept the fact that this event has occurred and that there is nothing you can do to change that.
B) Accept the fact that you are not immune from suffering, and therefore, even if someone acted in a way that they shouldn't have to bring this about, it wasn't "wrong" that such an occurrence should take place. It rains on us all, and every single one of us takes turns being both the thunderstorm and the one it dumps on.
C) Rather than asking "why me?" ask yourself "why not me?" After all, bad things happen in this world, and no one is immune. When you truly start thinking in terms of why not me it will make it easier not to get trapped in egotistical, self-induced states of sorrow.
D) Accept your feelings as signals, not an indicator of right or wrong, good or bad, real or unreal. Feelings were never designed to think or make judgments about right or wrong. They are designed to provoke rash, on the spot responses. They don't need justification. They don't need to be proven. They are not proof that you are right and others are wrong, or vice versa. Feelings just are what they are. Leave them at that.
Acceptance does not mean inaction or a lack of caring. It does not mean we shouldn't try to rectify situations or change things for the better. You're reading this material now because we strongly believe in doing all that's humanly possible ourselves to change the world for the better and help one another out in whatever way we can. It merely means we accept the situation NOT under the filter of how you think people should act, but how they do act. Not what you think should have happened, but what did happen. Could have's, should have's, would have's are all a waste of time and a major distraction that draws us away from productive resolutions. Acceptance means caring enough to approach the situation without any filters about who is right or wrong, but in terms of how the conflict can be resolved and a positive outcome achieved for everyone involved.
2. Let go of unrealistic expectations
As just discussed, "until we truly accept everything, we can not see clearly. We will always be looking through the filters of 'musts,' 'should's,' 'ought-to's,' 'have-to's,' and prejudices." (Roger & McWilliams, 1991, p. 105) Perhaps the biggest key to acceptance is to let go of our unrealistic expectations about how the world should behave. With that in mind, you should repeat to yourself some of the following statements whenever life doesn't go as planned: