Accepting the “Unacceptable”

By Molly Brendle-Ayala

Accepting the seemingly unacceptable can sound terrifying or even impossible. Most will experience trying moments related to the loss of a job or a loved one. Others may experience a loss that can feel even more personal, like the loss of their body as they once knew it. 

When I was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis (MS), I had moments of doubt that anything about this nerve-wracking disorder would be acceptable. Yes, it is not fatal, and for that I am very thankful, but having to relearn how my body works can feel like I’m an alien who has been beamed down to earth. Not being able to get around without the assistance of a wheelchair or my purple walker is often hard to swallow, not to mention the fact that sometimes MS can make its presence known through the digestive system. (Yep, I’m talking about what you think I am.) Despite all of the crappy times (pardon the pun) in the life of having MS, I am able to accept my body and can even laugh about it. 

This acceptance isn’t easy. Sometimes I want to mentally run away and order a new body from Amazon. Unfortunately, I cannot do that. I can recognize my struggles and leave room for the uncomfortable. This is a skill emphasized in Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT). When you accept something, that does not mean you like it. Sometimes, you can hate something and still accept it. When you accept the seemingly unacceptable, you are choosing to commit to your values and the person you want to be.

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