A to Z Challenge Life lessons

A is for Acceptance #atozchallenge


We grow up in a world where more often than not we are unwilling to feel uncomfortable. Have a headache? Pop a pill. Don’t like your teacher? Request to change classes. Don’t like uni? Drop out. Don’t like feeling sad? Immerse yourself in work and distract yourself. Don’t like feeling anxious? Drink.

While there are several things in life we can change, there are also a million we cannot.

We cannot change the things that have happened to us in the past no matter how horrific. We cannot change most of what we are born with like our height or skin colour {without turning it into a mental health problem!}. We might not always have the capacity to change jobs when we don’t like it.

In these situations, we have a couple of choices. We can either whinge, complain, mope, resent and hold on to the baggage. Or we can accept that shit has happened {or happens} and get on with living our lives in the best possible way in spite of all this.

I used to think that acceptance was equivalent to stagnation. After all, if I accepted that I was going to be anxious, doesn’t that mean I don’t do anything about it? That I just let the problem keep recurring and in my head go “Oh well, I’m anxious again”. Paradoxically though, acceptance brings about change. It is through accepting our flaws, accepting the suffering, accepting that shit happens, we can in fact change our mindset about it and therefore, how we respond to these.

I have been trying to accept that I cannot control everything. That it is okay to feel anxious about certain situations. Or sad at other times. And consequently, what has occurred is a shift in how I react. Situations that would make me extremely anxious don’t do that any more because I accept that it’s ok to feel a bit anxious. So I might initially be a little anxious and then get over it. Accepting that suffering is a part of life means I am more open to feeling uncomfortable and less likely to avoid it. It means that I am living. That I am alive. And not numb to the world.

Once you accept that there are waves in life, you are more willing to to learn to ride them.

How successful are you at accepting what life throws at you?

Do share!

***This post is part of the April A to Z challenge and the Ultimate Blog Challenge. And because it’s a Tuesday, I’m linking with Jess for IBOT***

Until next time,


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  • Aroha @ Colours of Sunset
    1 April 2014 at 8:00 am

    oh man, I needed this post this morning, thank you!! I try really hard to accept things, but there are a few things I struggle with every day. “It is what it is” I say to myself, over and over. sometimes I truly believe it and am at peace with it, other times I just get plain angry! Great post. -Aroha (for #teamIBOT)
    Aroha @ Colours of Sunset recently posted…Chores I HateMy Profile

    • Psych Babbler
      1 April 2014 at 6:34 pm

      It is really hard to accept things Aroha…as much as I understand the importance of acceptance, there are several moments when I get angry too! I doubt it’s a battle we’ll ever completely conquer and we probably just need to accept that there will be moments like that! πŸ˜€

  • Kinmin
    1 April 2014 at 8:47 am

    Great post PB!! I’m really looking forward to your A-Z challenge! πŸ™‚
    Hmmm I’ve been bad at accepting things and constantly tend to fight back against the situation even when it cannot be changed.. And so I’ve been working on learning to accept things I can’t change..
    Kinmin recently posted…On God and religion!My Profile

    • Psych Babbler
      1 April 2014 at 7:00 pm

      Thanks Kinmin…I’ve been neglecting other blogs though…will pop over and comment on yours shortly! Thanks for your support. πŸ™‚ But yes, acceptance is hard but I think with time we learn struggling doesn’t always work. I’d highly recommend a book called The Happiness Trap. It’s about Acceptance and Commitment therapy but it is something everyone can read.

  • Kinmin
    1 April 2014 at 8:47 am

    Great post PB!! I’m really looking forward to your A-Z challenge! πŸ™‚
    Hmmm I’ve been bad at accepting things and constantly tend to fight back against the situation even when it cannot be changed.. And so I’ve been working on learning to accept things I can’t change..
    Kinmin recently posted…On God and religion!My Profile

  • Obsessivemom
    1 April 2014 at 11:06 am

    I had never thought about acceptance like this. As you said I always thought it meant I’d do nothing about it… a kind of passive response to a situation. Your take sounds good. Acceptance is the first step to change and happiness. Good luck with the Challenges.

    • Psych Babbler
      3 April 2014 at 4:29 am

      Tulika, I’d recommend reading The Happiness Trap which is about Acceptance and Commitment therapy but a book which is for everyone and not just therapists using the therapy. Really helps me with my clients as well as myself! πŸ™‚

  • Megan
    1 April 2014 at 11:43 am

    I think we have a lot in common. This is a beautiful post full of honesty and truth. Thank you for writing.

  • Prem Rao
    1 April 2014 at 12:52 pm

    You said it! What differentiates successful people from others is their ability to recognize what they have and make the best use of them. I maintain that whiners only need to see people who are worse off than them to understand they really need to be grateful for what they have. Look forward to your other posts.
    Prem Rao recently posted…A for AprilMy Profile

    • Psych Babbler
      1 April 2014 at 7:41 pm

      Welcome here Prem! I think though you can be grateful for what you have and still have days when you feel like crap. And I guess I was trying to say that sometimes, we need to be accept that it’s ok to feel like crap even if everything is going well for us. It’s when we beat ourselves up for it or feel bad for feeling sad or anxious, that’s when we start to make the problem a lot worse!

  • swathi shenoy
    1 April 2014 at 12:58 pm

    loved dis pb!! so true.. accepting the challenge really needs some bravery! looking forward to ur next posts πŸ™‚ gonna visit daily πŸ™‚

  • Gauri
    1 April 2014 at 1:02 pm

    Oh how true! After I lost my brother in a freak accident, I moped and cursed and whined and cried for a really long time. Finally though, I have learnt what acceptance means. It was a big life lesson for me. Thanks for this post πŸ™‚
    Gauri recently posted…A – Aprons DIY (A to Z April Blogging Challenge 2014)My Profile

    • Psych Babbler
      1 April 2014 at 7:44 pm

      Oh wow Gauri…you are stronger beyond words. Thanks for sharing your story with me here…

  • S(t)ri
    1 April 2014 at 1:18 pm

    Life is cruel, at times I feel it is more cruel to others than me (when seeing someone’s else tragedy I feel that life was indeed good to me). Nice write up girl!
    S(t)ri recently posted…Achilles’ heel – Day1 AtoZ Challenge 2014My Profile

    • Psych Babbler
      1 April 2014 at 8:13 pm

      Thanks S(t)ri! With my work, I realise just how good I’ve had it over the years…some of the kids have horrendous lives…

  • Nikki@WonderfullyWomen
    1 April 2014 at 1:40 pm

    Some how I have fallen off the UBC mailing list, had no idea this one was on. Love the post and thanks for the a good reminder. xx N
    Nikki@WonderfullyWomen recently posted…A New Treatment For Plantar FasciitisMy Profile

    • Psych Babbler
      2 April 2014 at 11:42 am

      Thanks for the comment Nikki… πŸ™‚

  • Shailajav
    1 April 2014 at 1:43 pm

    Truer words were never spoken. Learning from the pain helps us grow and acceptance does not mean defeat. Very well said. A later post of mine talks about this, considering that the theme is introspection πŸ™‚
    Shailajav recently posted…AwarenessMy Profile

  • floodproofmum
    1 April 2014 at 2:35 pm

    Amazing how you can read something that just fits with you perfectly at the moment. I am really struggling with acceptance right now. There are things I want to change that I know I should just accept but sometimes it is so hard. Thanks for the post. Great start for your challenge!! πŸ™‚
    floodproofmum recently posted…A-Z Simple Living: A = AwarenessMy Profile

  • Beloo Mehra
    1 April 2014 at 3:01 pm

    Very well written post about a very important topic. Acceptance brings about change….I agree with that completely.
    Beloo Mehra recently posted…HomecomingMy Profile

  • Betty
    1 April 2014 at 3:05 pm

    I think you summed it up well about being able to accept things that happen in our lives even if there might be some anxiousness about situations. It is easier for me to accept things the older I get and have learned “this too will pass” when going through tough times, which is a definite acceptance from previous times when I might fuss and fume over something stressful or hard going on in my life.

    Great start to the challenge!


  • Ananya Kiran
    1 April 2014 at 3:09 pm

    Agreed πŸ™‚ I accept your post totally.
    Yes Art of acceptance does make Life easy, but its an constant effort you need to put in to accept your situations.
    For me, in the beginning, it was very difficult but slowly I have improved in my level of acceptance.
    Ananya Kiran recently posted…A – Another Fairytale ? Ananya’s Fairytale ??My Profile

  • Aditi
    1 April 2014 at 3:09 pm

    Well said dear! Acceptance is the key to move forward. Things don’t often go as you plan but when you accept it is the first step towards taking charge of the situation!
    Aditi recently posted…The Amethyst RingMy Profile

  • Mi
    1 April 2014 at 3:25 pm

    this is such an awesome post to begin the day with! πŸ™‚ acceptance is indeed the solution to most of the things that happen to us and we fail to appreciate or understand. At times we needn’t question everything.. just accept and move on!

    very well written!
    Mi recently posted…I am a slave.. Of technology.My Profile

  • Sfurti juztamom
    1 April 2014 at 4:06 pm

    I agree acceptance especially of the fact that we won’t be able to control everything is very difficult but it does set you free πŸ™‚

  • Grace
    1 April 2014 at 4:23 pm

    Great post! I used to think acceptance was just a “cop out”. It’s funny how for me, motherhood and marriage has really helped me see that there are things out of my control…and that’s okay. And it’s also okay to accept someone else’s difference of opinion without having to think that they’ve succumbed you into agreeing with them. Everyone’s got their right and wrong on everything.
    Very insightful. Thanks for sharing your thoughts x
    Grace recently posted…Red Lace and No RealityMy Profile

  • Soumya
    1 April 2014 at 4:49 pm

    Acceptance is the most important thing in life. Only then can you move on. But there are a lot of people out there who are more than content with living in denial. I pity them.
    Soumya recently posted…Action Replay – MarchMy Profile

  • Inderpreet Kaur Uppal
    1 April 2014 at 5:09 pm

    Acceptance, that is a great idea, it is what we lack when we are in conflict. Life is so much fun with acceptance and being happy with what we have.
    Thanks, lovely post.
    Inderpreet Kaur Uppal recently posted…A is for ALONEMy Profile

  • PNA
    1 April 2014 at 5:29 pm

    Very true.. and motivation we need every day. Lovely coming back here on the blog PB.. πŸ™‚ xx
    PNA recently posted…Ayalum Njannum Thammil |Prithviraj, Prathap Pothen,My Profile

  • Suzy
    1 April 2014 at 5:30 pm

    Acceptance is the first step to healing. Love the picture.
    Suzy recently posted…Life’s Jigsaw – Ask and it is givenMy Profile

  • Jyotsna Bhatia
    1 April 2014 at 5:36 pm

    I think I do accept things more easily. Yes, it gets to the nerves sometimes but there are things one cannot change.. And mind you I am an optimist at heart, there are times when I hope against hope that things will be fine, but some part obviously knows that a few things have to be accepted !!
    Jyotsna Bhatia recently posted…Anger and Audacity : HaikuMy Profile

  • Bhavya
    1 April 2014 at 5:39 pm

    It might take me a while, but I am up on my feet no matter what life throws at me.
    Great post PB,
    Bhavya recently posted…AddressMy Profile

  • Towharmony
    1 April 2014 at 6:58 pm

    LOVE!! and completely agree..

    April is Autism ‘Acceptance’ month because awareness is clearly not enough and as you rightly brought out in your post Acceptance is not inaction, it is taking action from a place of compassion.
    Towharmony recently posted…Terrace GardenMy Profile

  • Rajlakshmi
    1 April 2014 at 7:18 pm

    I am a big tension box… If I die… 8 out 10, it would be out of anxiety πŸ˜›
    //accepting our flaws, accepting the suffering, accepting that shit happens, we can in fact change our mindset// and there you said it, the accepting part is tough… but once done, that can change life πŸ™‚
    Rajlakshmi recently posted…The Animal AcquisitionMy Profile

    1 April 2014 at 8:03 pm

    I accept but also start hoping for a better future. This was a great post!
    There is no point on living and whining about something that cannot be changed. No words can change that. Acceptance is truly the key!
    RED HANDED recently posted…WHAT DOESN’T KILL YOU, MAKES YOU WEAKER !!!My Profile

  • sugandha
    1 April 2014 at 8:15 pm

    Thankfully I am pretty good at accepting my circumstances, little makes me anxious…from early on we were talk crib, cry or accept theory with not many choices given to us by our family
    sugandha recently posted…Reviews A to Z – A for Apps I love!My Profile

  • nabanita
    1 April 2014 at 8:26 pm

    I so know what you mean by Acceptance…Very , very nicely written…Strangely I never was too bothered about it…My front two teeth are horrible but I never cared…. Even though sometimes people tried to mock that I never really was bothered by it…A flaw makes us even better…
    nabanita recently posted…A is for Alone in AgonyMy Profile

  • Zita
    1 April 2014 at 8:31 pm

    Oh I wish I could be more accepting of the things I can’t change! I am trying!!! Am glad you are feeling better about things πŸ™‚
    Am excited to see what tomorrow’s blog brings! I get the feeling that your blog challenge this month is going to provide me many thought-provoking moments!!!
    Zita recently posted…for AMy Profile

  • Krina Doekes
    1 April 2014 at 9:21 pm

    Nice blog post! I found it interesting that you connected difficulty to accept things with dropping out of university and taking a pill for a headache. While there may be good reasons for all three I do tend to feel I have to hold out in difficult life situations (like headaches or difficult classes). Accepting myself though is much harder to do. Maybe because there is a thin line between what I can’t change and what I should change…? I agree with you (from experience) that accepting is the best way to change, though.
    I’m looking forward to your A-Z blogs!

  • Peggy
    1 April 2014 at 9:24 pm

    When we learn to accept the wholesome what is so, we are all better able to rise to the challenge, solve problems and quit railing against the wholesome what is so. Reality just is. Makes life so much easier!
    Peggy recently posted…Four Super Simple Ways to Ignite Your Inner FireMy Profile

  • PeeVee
    1 April 2014 at 9:24 pm

    Great post PB. I’m afraid I’m not very accepting of things that come my way or of mistakes that I make. And they get me down on a daily basis, I find myself not able to bounce back to my usual self like I used to be able to. Someone said acceptance is the first step of letting go. So I’m working on it. Working to accepting that I’m flawed, that I’m allowed to make mistakes and bad decisions, that I can change the way life wants me to.

    Hopefully, it’ll be a way of life someday πŸ™‚

    Good luck with the challenge.

    P.S: I don’t get updates to your blog anymore. I don’t have a blog reader that works properly and I have missed a hell of a lot of posts -_____-
    PeeVee recently posted…A – Adrenaline RushMy Profile

  • A Joyful Chaos
    1 April 2014 at 9:28 pm

    I’m a work in progress when it comes to accepting what ever life throws at us. I’m way, way better at it than I was ten years ago, but I do know there is still room for improvement.
    A Joyful Chaos recently posted…A ~ Autograph BookMy Profile

  • belindareger
    1 April 2014 at 9:42 pm

    Nice post PB.. Acceptance is so tough yet so mandatory for everyone.. Should learn to accept things more.
    belindareger recently posted…Architecture- A to Z Challenge 2014My Profile

  • Sreeja Praveen
    1 April 2014 at 10:02 pm

    Acceptance, doesnt come easy , PB. But it’s worth it ! That’s why we need to make it a part of our learning. As usual, well written πŸ™‚
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  • Carrie
    1 April 2014 at 10:08 pm

    A good point – one so many of us need to hear! There is a fine line between acceptance and giving up, sometimes. Guess we just have to keep looking at the positive!
    Thanks for a great thought to start my day,
    Carrie recently posted…April UBC – Bloggin, Baby!My Profile

  • Corinne Rodrigues
    1 April 2014 at 10:30 pm

    True acceptance is never passive, is it? I’ve learned this lesson the hard way, but I’m glad I’ve come to a place of peace. Lovely post, PB.
    This is going to be fabulous month, is it not?
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  • Nick
    1 April 2014 at 10:42 pm

    I don’t think that we will ever live in a world where everyone is 100% accepted, but sometimes it does seem to be getting better!
    Nick recently posted…01/04/2014 – Band of Skulls-Himalayan (2014)My Profile

  • Monica
    1 April 2014 at 10:58 pm

    Good one, Psych Babbler. Food for thought, early on in the A-Z Challenge. I’m not that great at accepting that I can’t control a lot of things I’d like to keep a tight rein on, but I’m learning to let go and go with the flow. Chocolate and yoga help me do that. πŸ™‚

  • Debbie
    1 April 2014 at 11:14 pm

    Great post and I wish I had that type of serenity! I’ve always been more of a “high strung” person, made worse in recent years by a prolonged stressful episode. It’s better now though and the older I get the more calm I try to be. More and more, I try to accept that which cannot be changed, but it’s not easy! LOL
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  • Neelam Dadhwal
    1 April 2014 at 11:26 pm

    Awesome take on acceptance. The golden rule if we remember can get rid of many problems.

    Neelam Dadhwal recently posted…A-List of Summer Indian SpicesMy Profile

  • Shilpa Garg
    1 April 2014 at 11:46 pm

    Being challenged in life is inevitable, being defeated is optional!! So, it is better to accept challenges that life throws our way, with a smile, learn from them and grow!
    Shilpa Garg recently posted…A is for ArgumentsMy Profile

  • Amrita
    1 April 2014 at 11:55 pm

    Great post! I love the last line, which sums it up so beautifully!
    Amrita recently posted…WorkMy Profile

  • Richa Singh
    1 April 2014 at 11:58 pm

    Much of your thoughts are resonated in me… but it is where you have mentioned that you too thought acceptance could be stagnation, this fear is with me too..

  • Damaria Senne
    2 April 2014 at 12:03 am

    I needed this post, as I need to learn to accept so many things. Thank you.
    Damaria Senne recently posted…A is for Arugula (Also Called Rocket)My Profile

  • MAJK (@Safireblade)
    2 April 2014 at 12:25 am

    So well timed. I’m facing so many changes in my life right now an there’s some real uncertainty but by accepting that things change I’m able to focus more on the positive than on the “scary” change πŸ˜‰

    Beautiful post!

    A-to-Z Challenge 2014
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  • peppylady (Dora)
    2 April 2014 at 12:39 am

    I have an Aunt that total gets under my skin. One can’t choose there family members and it gives me practice to deal with her arrogant and her profiling every little detail about people.

    Coffee is on
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  • maggie
    2 April 2014 at 2:12 am

    I agree with acceptance as a concept. Just find it very hard to practice. But getting there.

  • My Inner Chick
    2 April 2014 at 2:12 am

    **Once you accept that there are waves in life, you are more willing to to learn to ride them**

    I find this quite hard to do, but I’m trying!

    Great post.
    My Inner Chick recently posted…The Sun Shines Differently Without YouMy Profile

  • Jillian Lisa Pearl
    2 April 2014 at 2:27 am

    I totally agree with you. If you don’t accept what’s happening you can’t change because you’re running or hiding. Hard to change circumstances when that’s your MO.
    Jillian Lisa Pearl recently posted…A = AirportMy Profile

  • rebecca
    2 April 2014 at 2:36 am

    Bring it on! Accept everything, engage and be thankful for each day. Great post.

  • Carrie-Anne Foster (thatdizzychick)
    2 April 2014 at 3:05 am

    I definitely am not of accepting of myself as I should be. However, I have come a long way from where I was two years ago. So, for that, I am content.

    Carrie~Anne at That Dizzy Chick
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  • Danny Simon
    2 April 2014 at 3:22 am

    “While there are several things in life we can change, there are also a million we cannot.” Excellent! THis has to be one of the best A-Z posts I must have read today! Awesome stuff! I guess we all need to have that perspective of acceptance!
    Danny Simon recently posted…A for AccountabilityMy Profile

  • Amrit Rukhaiyaar
    2 April 2014 at 3:49 am

    Ohh I can so relate with this post, I have made a pact with myself that I will try not to complain for whatever I get in my life.. πŸ™‚ After all, there is a greater in accepting the flaws of your life and then doing good with whatever resource you have… great post πŸ™‚
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  • Kathy Combs
    2 April 2014 at 4:00 am

    I think on the most part I take things as they come. Acceptance is hard sometimes and I think that as you get older you start to realize there are some things and some people that are never going to change for the better, so you need to accept it and let it go. Lovely post to start the A-Z! β™₯
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  • Sheethal
    2 April 2014 at 4:03 am

    I am pretty bad in accepting things I can’t handle. Sticking to a job I don’t like, persons, talks, death of dear ones…. I have a hard time to get back to the flow. Lovely post… something everyone should remember and follow too ….
    Sheethal recently posted…A is for …My Profile

  • Mary Aalgaard
    2 April 2014 at 4:34 am

    Great thoughts on Acceptance, and observations on coping.
    May your anxious days be few, and your awesome ones be abundant!
    Play off the Page

  • Somber Scribbler
    2 April 2014 at 4:41 am

    Great post! Very true. Acceptance is important, but it doesn’t define our thoughts and behaviours. I am depressed, I accept that, but I’m not going to crawl in a hole and wallow, I’m going to act opposite and get out of bed to start the day.
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  • Margaret Almon
    2 April 2014 at 5:37 am

    Being surprised every time I felt anxious created a cascade of “why is this happening? When will it go away?” Which made me ever more anxious. Acceptance meant expecting to feel anxious at times, and cutting off the cascade.
    Margaret Almon recently posted…A is for Anaranjado: A to Z Challenge 2014My Profile

  • Laurel Regan
    2 April 2014 at 10:08 am

    Wise words indeed… and an integral part of the Serenity Prayer (which means a lot to me). Thank you for sharing!
    Laurel Regan recently posted…Blogging from A to Z Challenge – A is for…My Profile

  • Emily @ Have A Laugh On Me
    2 April 2014 at 12:13 pm

    It depends on how tired I am, what work I have due etc. I was just outside clearing out bins and I knocked over an empty pot plant that had been left to die and had dirt everywhere. I was sad because I had let the plant that my daughter had got me at the school’s mother’s day sale to die. My life is spent chasing my tail, my kids, my work, my domestic duties. But then if I’m honest I can’t believe I’ve survived 3 kids in 3.5 years and working 25 hours a week as well. If I didn’t accept what life threw at me then I’d be more of a basket case than already am!
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  • Damyanti
    2 April 2014 at 12:58 pm

    I’m not always successful, but I do try very hard.
    Damyanti Co-host, A to Z Challenge 2014

    Twitter: @damyantig
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  • Andi-Roo (@theworld4realz)
    2 April 2014 at 3:03 pm

    The idea of acceptance nicely wraps three of my Personal Commandments into one:
    1. Happy is a Choice — not that one can just decide to be happy and then it magically happens, but that one is in charge of figuring out what work is involved in making happiness happen, and then doing what need to be done to get there. Acceptance means understanding that no one else is responsible for your happiness.
    2. Identify Flaws and Act Accordingly — because beating one’s head against a wall repeatedly is as stupid as lying to oneself that this won’t happen again, or that will go better next time. Admitting the problem is only half the battle; figuring out how to fix is the other half. Acceptance means coming to terms with your shortcomings.
    3. Make it Better or Make it Worse — these are really always the only two options. Acceptance means understanding that if you aren’t doing the one, you’re most certainly doing the other.
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  • stephanie
    2 April 2014 at 8:33 pm

    I’m with you- I’m Alive!
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  • Nibha
    2 April 2014 at 9:22 pm

    Acceptance is the only choice sometimes we are left with. But accepting whatever life throws at us in a jolly manner surely frees us from guilt and regret of our own decisions!
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  • Kajal
    3 April 2014 at 4:13 am

    Fabulous, fabulous post! Acceptance (self) does take time, for me it did…but I am glad I crossed over now πŸ™‚
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  • Helen Nelson
    25 April 2014 at 8:51 am

    I must say that The Happiness Trap is one of the best books that I have ever read. I was particularly intrigued by the six principle of ACT. I decided to start working on them one at a time. I really struggle on the rising above fear doubt and insecurity. Cheers
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