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Acceptance Is Not Resignation or Weakness

“All you need are these: certainty of judgment in the present moment, action for the common good in the present moment, and an attitude of gratitude in the present moment for anything that comes your way.” — Marcus Aurelius

I had a fascinating discussion about Stoicism and creativity recently with my friend Chris Gill, Professor Emeritus of Ancient Thought at Exeter University. Chris is a deep thinker, a humble soul, and quiet dispenser of profound wisdom.

During our chat, we discussed acceptance.

As human beings and creative souls, we so often and easily attach ourselves to things beyond our control. Recognition, compensation, the opinions of others. These may appear important. They aren’t. The measure of our worth and that of our craft is reflected in how we approach them and toward what purpose we intend to serve.

We don’t control how we or our work are received. We must accept what comes. Resisting this is a path to suffering.

But acceptance doesn’t mean being weak, passive, or lazy. Our lives and our work don’t end with someone else’s judgment. Both persist. We continue to live and work. If we do so in alignment with our values and our purpose we can continue to thrive, even as we struggle and strive.

Life doesn’t happen to us. Work doesn’t come from us. Both happen through us.

Below is a clip of Chris’ thoughts on acceptance based on a passage from Marcus Aurelius’ Meditations. The entire conversation is full of this kind of wisdom. You can access it here.

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