These quotations about acceptance are powerful reminders of the importance of understanding and embracing life. Through the words of great minds, we can understand how to better accept what happens to us in life and to appreciate one another in all our diversity.  The opposite of acceptance is rejection or ignorance. Consider these words of wisdom, whether you’re looking to explore acceptance of others, acceptance of what happens in life, or self-acceptance.

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I do not want the peace that passeth understanding. I want the understanding which bringeth peace.

— Helen Keller

Learn to limit yourself; to content yourself with some definite work; dare to be what you are and learn to resign with a good grace all that you are not; and to believe in your own individuality.

— Henri Frederic Amiel

Do you know that the ready concession of minor points is a part of the grace of life?

— Henry Harland

The full and joyful acceptance of the worst in oneself may be the only sure way of transforming it.

— Henry Miller

All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to us.

— J.R.R. Tolkien

To bow to the fact of our life’s sorrows and betrayals is to accept them; and from this deep gesture we discover that all life is workable. As we learn to bow, we discover that the heart holds more freedom and compassion than we could imagine.

— Jack Kornfield

The near enemy of equanimity is indifference or callousness. We may appear serene if we say, “I’m not attached. It doesn’t matter what happens anyway, because it’s all transitory.” We feel a certain peaceful relief because we withdraw from experience and from the energies of life. But indifference is based on fear. True equanimity is not a withdrawal; it is a balanced engagement with all aspects of life. It is opening to the whole of life with composure and ease of mind, accepting the beautiful and terrifying nature of all things.

— Jack Kornfield

It took many years of vomiting up all the filth I’d been taught about myself, and half-believed before I was able to walk on the earth as though I had a right to be here.

— James Baldwin

Not everything that is faced can be changed. But nothing can be changed until it is faced.

— James Baldwin

It’s time for us to turn to each other, not on each other.

— Jesse Jackson

You can’t stop the waves, but you can learn to surf.

— Jon Kabat-Zinn

All will be well, all will be well, and all manner of things will be well.

— Julian of Norwich

I know that most men, including those at ease with problems of the greatest complexity, can seldom accept even the simplest and most obvious truth if it be such as would oblige them to admit the falsity of conclusions which they have delighted in explaining to colleagues, which they have proudly taught to others, and which they have woven, thread by thread, into the fabric of their lives.

— Leo Tolstoy

Grace overcomes shame, not by uncovering an overlooked cache of excellence in ourselves but simply by accepting us, the whole of us, with no regard to our beauty or our ugliness, our virtue or our vices. We are accepted wholesale. Accepted with no possibility of being rejected. Accepted once and accepted forever. Accepted at the ultimate depth of our being.

— Lewis B. Smedes

Our uniqueness, our individuality, and our life experience molds us into fascinating beings. I hope we can embrace that. I pray we may all challenge ourselves to delve into the deepest resources of our hearts to cultivate an atmosphere of understanding, acceptance, tolerance, and compassion. We are all in this life together.

— Linda Thompson

The first rule is to keep an untroubled spirit. The second is to look things in the face and know them for what they are.

— Marcus Aurelius

I accept the universe.

— Margaret Fuller

An individual who breaks a law that conscience tells him is unjust, and who willingly accepts the penalty of imprisonment in order to arouse the conscience of the community over its injustice, is in reality expressing the highest respect for the law.

— Martin Luther King Jr.

Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend. Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow.

— Melody Beattie

If you accept the expectations of others, especially negative ones, then you never will change the outcome.

— Michael Jordan

Over the years I have met and made friends who believe in different gods. Many of my friends are common Christians. Some are Catholic. And others are born-again Christians. I have a circle of friends who believe in Allah. And others believe in the Hindu gods. I also have a few friends who believe in Bhudda. I have friends who believe in the ancestors. And yes, I have friends who do not believe in any god. They are unwavering atheists. The goal is to accept others without being changeable from my beliefs.

— Mitta Xinindlu

Every formula of every religion has in this age of reason, to submit to the acid test of reason and universal assent.

— Mohandas K. Gandhi

Start accepting yourself for the illuminating individual that you are, while allowing those that you cherish to celebrate your true colors.

— Nancy Loss

If you want things to be different, perhaps the answer is to become different yourself.

— Norman Vincent Peale

The people who help us grow toward true self offer unconditional love, neither judging us to be deficient nor trying to force us to change but accepting us exactly as we are. And yet this unconditional love does not lead us to rest on our laurels. Instead, it surrounds us with a charged force field that makes us want to grow from the inside out — a force field that is safe enough to take the risks and endure the failures that growth requires.

— Parker J. Palmer

When My Mind is Still

When my mind is still and alone with the beating of my heart,
I remember things too easily forgotten:
The purity of early love,
The maturity of unselfish love that asks —
desires — nothing but another’s good,
The idealism that has persisted through all the tempest of life.

When my mind is still and alone with the beating of my heart,
I can find a quiet assurance, an inner peace, in the core of my being.
It can face the doubt, the loneliness, the anxiety,
Can accept these harsh realities and can even grow
Because of these challenges to my essential being.

When my mind is still and alone with the beating of my heart,
I can sense my basic humanity,
And then I know that all men and women are my brothers and sisters.
Nothing but my own fear and distrust can separate me from the love of friends.
If I can trust others, accept them, enjoy them,
Then my life shall surely be richer and more full.
If I can accept others, this will help them to be more truly themselves,
And they will be more able to accept me.

When my mind is still and alone with the beating of my heart,
I know how much life has given me:
The history of the race, friends and family,
The opportunity to work, the chance to build myself.
Then wells within me the urge to live more abundantly,
With greater trust and joy,
With more profound seriousness and earnest service,
And yet more calmly at the heart of life.

— Paul Beattie

Impermanence is a principle of harmony. When we don’t struggle against it, we are in harmony with reality.

— Pema Chödrön

Perhaps the most important thing we bring to another person is the silence in us, not the sort of silence that is filled with unspoken criticism or hard withdrawal. The sort of silence that is a place of refuge, of rest, of acceptance of someone as they are. We are all hungry for this other silence. It is hard to find. In its presence we can remember something beyond the moment, a strength on which to build a life. Silence is a place of great power and healing.

— Rachel Naomi Remen

Belief consists in accepting the affirmations of the soul; Unbelief, in denying them.

— Ralph Waldo Emerson

The victorious man in the day of crisis is the man who has the serenity to accept what he cannot help and the courage to change what must be altered.

— Reinhold Niebuhr
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