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Wishing For Acceptance In Your Life: The First Step To Change


I bought a pair of shoes a little while ago. They’re red. They’re great. They were the last pair in the shop, my size and on sale. Perfect.

Well, not quite, actually, because they pinched a bit when I tried them on. But surely not too much. Surely they’d get better with time… I’ll take them.

But when I tried them on again at home (after wearing them around for days with thick socks on to stretch them), and they still pinched, I thought:

“What planet was I on when I bought these?”

And, instantly, I knew:

“Planet Wishfulness.”

Have you ever been there?

It’s a trivial example, but it can happen anywhere – in relationships, in your work, in pretty much any part of life. Wishing that something would fit you, when it just doesn’t … not quite.

For wishing can clash with reality; it can hide what’s really going on; it can get in the way of you making decisions that might be really important to make.

And now, because I wished so hard for what wasn’t instead of accepting what was, I’m actually even further away from what I’d like (even if, this time, it’s only a pair of red shoes…).

Does any of this sound familiar?

For instance, do you find yourself wishing your intimate relationship was ‘better’, and then sort of forgetting to actually do anything much about that? Do you wish you didn’t have a particular habit? Do you wish you could be something or someone other than you are?

Does the wishing get you closer to your goal?

Or further away from it?

Do you spend so much time wishing that you no longer stop to just see what’s in front of you? Has it blinded you to your reality?

These can be important questions to ask. For if acceptance is often the first step in changing something in your life – really seeing it for whatever it is – wishing can sometimes get in the way of that.

And so another interesting query to ponder is this:

Is wishing different than hoping?

If you hope for changes in your relationship, or your career, or your habits, and you’re taking some steps towards those changes, perhaps that’s different than simply closing your eyes and wishing things would somehow magically change on their own…

So where do you stand with all of this? Are you accepting what’s before you (and therefore putting yourself in a position where you can choose to do something about it)? Or are you simply wishing and clicking your red heels together a bit like Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz – or like me in that shoe shop, reluctant to just see what was


Text copyright: Gabrielle Gawne-Kelnar
Gabrielle Gawne-Kelnar (Grad Dip Counselling & Psychotherapy) is a writer, blogger and Sydney psychotherapist in private practice at One Life Counselling & Psychotherapy. Gabrielle also facilitates telephone support groups for people who are living with cancer, for their carers, and for people who have been bereaved through a cancer experience. She was the former editor of a journal on counselling and psychotherapy and she provides regular therapeutic updates on facebook and Twitter @OneLifeTherapy.
Wishing For Acceptance In Your Life: The First Step To Change

Gabrielle Gawne-Kelnar

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APA Reference
Gawne-Kelnar, G. (2014). Wishing For Acceptance In Your Life: The First Step To Change. Psych Central. Retrieved on December 10, 2019, from


Last updated: 15 Jan 2014
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