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We Must Accept Before We Can Change

47505_460008104746_310681_nI was recently speaking with people about the idea of coveting that which others have.  We were discussing it within the context of the Ten Commandments.

This idea of coveting never really crossed my mind all that much.  I never wanted to be with anyone else’s husband, and I never really wanted to steal someone else’s car, so I thought I was in the clear.

But the more I thought about it, the more I started to realize just how much I actually do covet that of others.

Sometimes I look at my trials – I look at my struggles with anxiety and depression and loneliness and feeling overwhelmed – and I think how it must be nice to be someone who doesn’t struggle with these issues.  I see people who are naturally calm or laid back, and I can feel the jealousy tingling up my spine.  And sometimes I do see people who have bigger houses or nicer cars or more elaborate vacations, and I feel like I come up short.  I feel like maybe I’m doing something wrong, and I feel like life would just be slightly easier if I could step into their designer shoes for a bit.

And that all clearly is coveting.

And I’ve been thinking about that further in regards to my spiritual life, but I’ve been thinking about it also in terms of mental health.  And when it comes to mental health, I think it’s the idea of acceptance that really mirrors the spiritual idea of coveting.

I’ve never really liked the idea of acceptance.  To me, it always spoke of resignation.  It reeked of defeat.

And I kept that idea for many years.  And through all of those years, I would find myself ignoring the truths of my life as I tried to mentally force my life to fit a different mold.  I would lament my struggles, but since I wouldn’t accept them, I couldn’t move on from them.  I would deny them and try to white knuckle it through life.  I would see people treating me unfairly, and instead of working through the relationship or abandoning the relationship, I would just sit there and mentally rail against the maltreatment for hours and days and years.

To live without acceptance is to live in a world that doesn’t really exist.  It’s to block our reality in the hopes that not mentally acknowledging something will make it not really real.

But it’s also to deprive ourselves of the ability to change situations we don’t like.  Because when it comes down to it, we can’t really change that which we don’t accept.

And so recently, I’ve caught myself trying to drown out my feelings when acceptance is difficult or appears undesirable.  I’ll find myself screaming internally, “why, why why?!” but I won’t really be looking for an answer.  Instead, I’ll just get more and more angry with that which is.  And then when it gets too much, I either try to hide or I retreat into depression or anxiety.

Really, it’s all very dysfunctional.

This whole idea of coveting the blessings of others and accepting the gifts and challenges of my life is a relatively new one for me.  I’m doubting my ability to make great strides instantly.  But I’m glad that I’m finally starting to see how these ideas play out in my life.  After all, we can’t fix something we can’t acknowledge, and we can’t get past anything we can’t accept.

Surely this will be a long journey, but journeys aren’t for the week of heart.  I, wholeheartedly intend to keep up the battle.

If only I had an easier time with this like everyone else… 😉

We Must Accept Before We Can Change

Amanda Knapp

Amanda Knapp is a mother, wife, writer, former writing teacher, and lover of the written word. She writes for Psych Central, Mothering, Catholic 365, and her own blog, .

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APA Reference
Knapp, A. (2015). We Must Accept Before We Can Change. Psych Central. Retrieved on August 5, 2020, from


Last updated: 24 May 2015
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