The term acceptance is a noun with various different meanings.[2] When the person to whom a proposal is made signifies their assent, it is an "acceptance" of their offer, also called an agreement. For example, if someone gives a gift and another receives it, then they have accepted the gift; therefore, having acceptance. Another definition of acceptance has to do with positive welcome and belonging, favor, and endorsement. For instance, one can like someone and accept them due to their approval of that person. Another description is that acceptance can be an act of believing or assenting. The definition overlaps with toleration, but acceptance and tolerance are not synonyms.

Acceptance – "An express act or implication by conduct that manifests assent to the terms of an offer in a manner invited or required by the offer so that a binding contract is formed. The exercise of power conferred by an offer by performance of some act. The act of a person to whom something is offered of tendered by another, whereby the offered demonstrates through an act invited by the offer an intention of retaining the subject of the offer."[3]

Eckhart Tolle, a spiritual teacher who is alive today, defines acceptance as a "this is it" response to anything occurring in any moment of life. There, strength, peace and serenity are available when one stops struggling to resist, or hang on tightly to what is so in any given moment. What do I have right now? Now what am I experiencing? The point is, can one be sad when one is sad, afraid when afraid, silly when silly, happy when happy, judgmental when judgmental, overthinking when overthinking, serene when serene, etc.

To simplify, acceptance means allowing; allowing unwanted private experiences (thoughts, feelings and urges) to come and go without struggling with them.


Before any breakdown to types, it should be recognized that acceptance is treating whatever happens, the actual event which is the outcome of all combined previous events, as overall the best outcome. Acceptance typically contains the concept of approval; the psycho-spiritual use of the term infers a non-judgmental mindset. Acceptance is contrasted with resistance, a term that has strong political and psychoanalytic connotations that do not apply in most contexts. Groups and individuals can show acceptance of various events and conditions in the world; individuals may accept elements of their own thoughts, feelings, and personal histories. For example, psychotherapeutic treatment of a person with depression or anxiety can involve fostering acceptance either for whatever personal circumstances may give rise to those feelings or for the feelings themselves. Psychotherapy can also involve lessening an individual's acceptance of various situations.

Notions of acceptance are prominent in many faiths and meditation practices. For example, Buddhism's first noble truth, "All life is suffering", invites people to accept that suffering is a natural part of life. The term "Kabbalah" literally means acceptance. Minority groups in society often describe their goal as acceptance, wherein the majority will not marginalize the minority's full participation in society. A majority may be said to tolerate minorities when it confines their participation to certain aspects of society, but not accept them.

Acceptance is the fifth stage of the Kübler-Ross model (commonly known as the "stages of dying").

The Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous describes the importance of acceptance in the treatment of alcoholism. It states that acceptance can be used to resolve situations where a person feels disturbed by a "person, place, thing or situation – some fact of [their] life – [which is] unacceptable to [them]". It claims that an alcoholic person cannot find serenity until they accept that "nothing happens in God's world by mistake" and that the condition of alcoholism must be accepted as a given.[4]


Self-acceptance is being satisfied with one's current self. It is an agreement with oneself to appreciate, validate, and support the self as it is, despite deficiencies and negative past behavior. People have trouble accepting themselves because of a lack of motivation. Some people have the misconception that if one is happy with themself, they would not change anything about themself. Individuals do not have to be unhappy with themselves to know and can actively change things they don't like.

Social acceptance

Social acceptance affects people of all social and age groups. Social acceptance can be defined as tolerating the differences and diversity in others because most people attempt to look and act like others do in order to fit in.

Children and teenagers tend to desire to be accepted among friends as part of that group, and act upon that desire through peer pressure. Peer pressure sometimes determines how people style their hair and clothing to "look cool". A desire to be accepted by those whose friendship one values can determine their openness towards popular behavior smoking, drinking, swearing, and more.[5] People exhibit and avoid certain behaviors out of the desire for the approval of their friends, which may include drinking or taking drugs.

When it comes to mental disabilities, social acceptance plays a big role in recovery. Many people don't understand mental illness, so they are unsure of how to embrace people who have a disease, leaving these people with feelings of isolation in friend groups.


A type of acceptance that requires modification of the initial conditions before the final acceptance is made, is called conditional acceptance, or qualified acceptance. For example, a contract that needs to be accepted from two parties may be adjusted or modified so that it fits both parties' satisfactions. A person has been made an offer that they are willing to agree on as long as some changes are made in its terms or that some conditions or event occurs gives conditional acceptance. In a contract that is made from a business to the employer, both parties may change and modify the contract until both parties agree or accept the details in the business contract.


Expressed acceptance involves making an overt and unambiguous acceptance of the set conditions. For example, a person clearly and explicitly agreeing to an offer. They accept the terms without any changes.


Implied acceptance has one's intents to consent to the presented conditions made. Acceptance is implied by demonstrating any act indicating a person's assent to the proposed bargain. If a lady selects an item in a department store and pays the cashier for it, the lady has indicated that she has agreed to the department stores owner's offer to sell the item for the price stated on the price tag.


Acceptance is fundamental to the core beliefs of most Abrahamic religions: the word "Islam" can be translated as "acceptance", "surrender" or "voluntary submission",[6][7] and Christianity is based upon the "acceptance" of Jesus of Nazareth as the Christ and acceptance of God's will. Religions and psychological treatments often suggest a path of acceptance when a situation is both disliked and fated, or when change may be possible only at great cost or risk. Acceptance may imply only a lack of outward, behavioral attempts at possible change, but the word is also used more specifically for a felt or hypothesized cognitive or emotional state.

Within Christian beliefs, acceptance is characterized as embracing the reality of a situation based on one's trust in God's perfect will and control. In the Muslim community, acceptance of Allah is similar to people that are considered Christian and how they accept God as their higher being (Bates, 2002). Jewish people accept the Commandments as a way to live and have a good and fulfilling life (Mcdowell and Stewart, 1983).

Beliefs and acceptance overlap in meaning. The acceptance of one's beliefs is important to show commitment and structure of one's life. Not only is it vital for survival, but it is used in everyday relationships. Being accepted by a friend has shown to positively affect an individual's self-esteem and well-being. In fact, without acceptance, it could lead to a host of psychological issues.



  1. "Acquiesce - Define Acquiesce at".
  2. "Acceptance - Definition and More from the Free Merriam-Webster Dictionary".
  3. Chirelstein, Marvin (2001). Concepts and Case Analysis in the Law of Contracts. New York: Foundation. ISBN 1587781972.
  4. Dr Paul O, "The big book of Alcoholics Anonymous" P449, 3rd ed or P417, 4th ed.
  5. "Drinking, smoking causes early heart problems". KREM. KREM. Retrieved 29 October 2018.
  6. Lewis, Bernard Ellis; Churchill, Buntzie Ellis (2009). Islam: The Religion and the People. Pearson Education Inc. p. 8. ISBN 9780132716062.
  7. admin. "What does ISLAM mean?". The Friday Journal. Archived from the original on 14 March 2011. Retrieved 13 April 2012.
  8. Jakub, Tencl. Power of lovefullness : the method of self-acceptance (Updated second release ed.). [England]. ISBN 9781511644327. OCLC 930772066.
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