Acceptance is a word that is used in lots of different contexts. It can be the act of deciding to live with or manage a long-term situation. It can be acknowledging and coming to terms with certain feelings or events. It is often something that comes with time and rarely happens overnight.
It’s important to remember that acceptance doesn’t mean ‘resigning yourself’ to a situation; for example, if someone is treating you badly or harming you then you don’t have to get used to that or learn to live with it. Instead, you might find it more useful to try acceptance if you know you will be affected by a mental or physical health condition for a long time, and you want to focus on finding a way of life that works alongside it and helps you to manage your symptoms. In many ways, spoon theory helps with this, because it is about recognising that you can only take on so much, that your energy and ability might vary day to day, and that it’s important to be kind to yourself and manage your time in a way that reflects that.
Acceptance can also help you to overcome past difficulties. For example, by acknowledging that you had or have certain experiences and feelings that have affected you, you can work on showing yourself compassion for having survived and coped with them. You may also hear acceptance spoken about as one of the five ‘stages of grief’. Grief can be caused by bereavement, or even just the loss of a part of yourself, routine or way of life you used to enjoy. Either way, it takes time and patience to reach acceptance and you shouldn’t ever feel like there’s anything wrong with you if you struggle along the way. You can find some tips on acceptance online.
What young people have told us:
'I think it helped because it showed that you can express yourself without feeling targeted. It shows that you can be who you want to even if there are people who think its wrong. Sometimes the people who are encouraging you are the actual people who are standing on your cape'
'It's a wonderful thing to accept yourself as you are. I've finally learned to accept myself and I feel alot happier being me and not trying to follow the crowd.'
There isn’t much academic research in the area of self-care for young people who are living with mental health issues. We are trying to find out more about what works for different people so we can better advise other young people what to try.
If you’ve tried this activity when you were struggling in relation to your mental health, please let us know if it helped you and how by clicking on the ‘Did this activity help you’ button.