Tuesday, November 13, 2012

What Does "Acceptance" Look Like?

At my internship, I was discussing the stages of grief with my supervisor.  We were commenting on how to help people progress through the stages.  Then she said something particularly profound:

"The final stage of grief is 'acceptance' not 'happiness.'  You can accept that something bad happened to you but that doesn't mean you are happy about it."

I think that this is an important part of processing life narratives.  Giving something meaning can mean to validate yourself for your strengths in how you overcame a situation.  You give honor to the personal strengths and skills you have to be a survivor and overcome future obstacles.  "Accepting" something we cannot change does not mean that we become happy about the event.  It means simply that we've decided to become happy with life.