The nuance between admitting and accepting our flaws and past is a big point of contention in the recovery community. After I’ve combed through memory loss of my early childhood experiences and years lost through substance abuse, I was faced with a choice: am I going to admit to myself and others what happened to me, or am I strong enough to accept it?
Once out of denial, admitting we have a problem is straight forward. Whether it is addiction, unhealthy behavioural patterns or the loss of a fantasy life we had build for ourselves: it is hard to acknowledge the truth aloud.
Acceptance on the other hand is the solution to growth. The biggest difference between these two synonyms is what we do with the knowledge. After we take a long look at the truths around us, we are finally able to move onwards. Let’s take an example:
Imagine losing your sight in childhood. This is traumatic of course, it takes you a while to admit that yes, I am blind now. I belong to the visually impaired community. Some people would call me disabled. You will have to go through a shift in identity and new labels that are being applied to you, whether you’d like it or not.
Now you might have admitted to your loss of sight, but not accepted it. You might refuse to learn braille language, avoid other blind people and decline to talk about it.
You wouldn’t be able to grow past this experience. By just admitting to something, we are justifying it away and dismissing it. It is only by accepting what happened to us that we can then look in the mirror fully. In this example, we could then become an advocate, spread awareness and change the world for the better for the blind.
In order to accept our situation, we need to fully detach ourselves from our life situation. For me, it also entailed stopping to identify as a victim. Nobody but me is at fault for where I am at in my life. I don’t feel like a fraud anymore, or as if I have something to prove. It’s easier to end people pleasing and stand up for my true self now that I have accepted all of me.
This article has been useful to clear up the distinction for me: https://www.anylength.net/admittance-vs-acceptance/
If you want to know more about accepting your flaws, read about emotional sobriety here: