Quotations about   acceptance

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About all you can do in life is be who you are. Some people will love you for you. Most will love you for what you can do for them, and some won’t like you at all.

Rita Mae Brown (b. 1944) American author, playwright
(Attributed)
Added on 14-Oct-19 | Last updated 14-Oct-19
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Reason allows us to determine when our wishes are in irrevocable conflict with reality, and then bids us to submit ourselves willingly, rather than angrily or bitterly, to necessities. We may be powerless to alter certain events, but we remain free to choose our attitude towards them, and it is in our spontaneous acceptance of necessity that we find our distinctive freedom.

Alain de Botton (b. 1969) Swiss-British author
The Consolations of Philosophy, ch. 3 “Consolation for Frustration”(2000)
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Added on 10-Oct-19 | Last updated 10-Oct-19
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We don’t exist unless there is someone who can see us existing, what we say has no meaning until someone can understand, while to be surrounded by friends is constantly to have our identity confirmed; their knowledge and care for us have the power to pull us from our numbness. In small comments, many of them teasing, they reveal they know our foibles and accept them and so, in turn, accept that we have a place in the world.

Alain de Botton (b. 1969) Swiss-British author
The Consolations of Philosophy, ch. 2 “Consolation For Not having Enough Money” (2000)
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Added on 19-Oct-17 | Last updated 19-Oct-17
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Action springs not from thought, but from a readiness for responsibility.

Dietrich Bonhoeffer (1906-1945) German Lutheran pastor, theologian, martyr
Letter to Renate and Eberhard Bethge (1944)
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Alt. trans.: "It is not the thought but readiness to take responsibility that is the mainspring of action."
Added on 21-Aug-17 | Last updated 21-Aug-17
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A wise man weaves a philosophy out of each acceptance life forces upon him.

Elizabeth Bibesco (1897-1945) Romanian-English writer
Haven (1951)
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Added on 25-May-17 | Last updated 25-May-17
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O let us love our occupations,
Bless the squire and his relations,
Live upon our daily rations,
And always know our proper stations.

Charles Dickens (1812-1870) English writer and social critic
The Chimes, “The Second Quarter” (1844)
Added on 21-Mar-17 | Last updated 21-Mar-17
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Life is not a problem to be solved, but a reality to be experienced.

Søren Kierkegaard (1813-1855) Danish philosopher, theologian
(Misattributed)

Misattributed to Kierkegaard by Cyril Connolly, Horizon, vol. 11 (1945). More properly attributed to Jacobus Johannes van der Leeuw (1893–1934), The Conquest of Illusion, ch. 1: "The mystery of life in not a problem to be solved, it is a reality to be experienced."
Added on 8-Dec-16 | Last updated 11-Dec-16
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God offers to every mind its choice between truth and repose. Take which you please — you can never have both.

Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882) American essayist, lecturer, poet
“Intellect,” Essays: First Series (1841)
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Added on 11-Nov-16 | Last updated 11-Nov-16
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To most Christians, the Bible is like a software license. Nobody actually reads it. They just scroll to the bottom and click, “I agree.”

Maher - Bible I Agree - wist_info quote

William "Bill" Maher (b. 1956) American comedian, political commentator, critic, television host.
(Attributed)
Added on 8-Jun-16 | Last updated 8-Jun-16
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To act with common sense according to the moment, is the best wisdom I know; and the best philosophy, to do one’s duties, take the world as it comes, submit respectfully to one’s lot; bless the Goodness that has given so much happiness with it, whatever it is; and despise affectation.

Horace Walpole (1717-1797) English novelist, letter writer
Letter to Horace Mann (27 May 1776)
Added on 5-Feb-16 | Last updated 5-Feb-16
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Doesn’t matter how pretty you are. What’s important is how pretty you feel. No one feels pretty when they hear “no” often enough.

Jim Butcher (b. 1971) American author
Skin Game (2014)
Added on 30-Nov-15 | Last updated 30-Nov-15
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Even a feeble-minded man wants to be like other men.

Daniel F. Keyes (1927-2014) American author
Flowers for Algernon (novel) (1966)
Added on 9-Nov-15 | Last updated 9-Nov-15
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The main idea in golf as in life, I suppose, is to learn to accept what cannot be altered, and to keep on doing one’s own reasoned and resolute best whether the prospect be bleak or rosy.

Robert Tyre "Bobby" Jones, Jr. (1902-1971) American amateur golfer, lawyer
Golf Is My Game (1960)
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Added on 4-Sep-15 | Last updated 4-Sep-15
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Always expecting this and expecting that. May I recommend serenity to you? A life that is burdened with expectations is a heavy life. Its fruit is sorrow and disappointment. Learn to be one with the joy of the moment.

Douglas Adams (1952-2001) English writer
The Long Dark Tea-Time of the Soul, ch. 4 (1988)
Added on 15-Jun-15 | Last updated 15-Jun-15
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It’s a funny thing about life; if you refuse to accept anything but the best, you very often get it.

W. Somerset Maugham (1874-1965) English novelist and playwright [William Somerset Maugham]
“The Treasure,” The Mixture as Before (1940)
Added on 24-Mar-15 | Last updated 24-Mar-15
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I’ll not willingly offend,
Nor be easily offended;
What’s amiss I’ll strive to mend,
And endure what can’t be mended.

Isaac Watts (1674-1748) English theologian and hymnodist
Poems, “Moral Songs: #6 Good Resolutions”
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In Samuel Johnson, Works of English Poets, vol. 46 (1779)
Added on 17-Mar-15 | Last updated 17-Mar-15
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Happy is he who learns to bear what he cannot change!

Friedrich Schiller (1759-1805) German poet, playwright, critic [Johann Christoph Friedrich von Schiller]
“On the Sublime”
Added on 1-Dec-14 | Last updated 1-Dec-14
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Things past redress are now with me past care.

William Shakespeare (1564-1616) English dramatist and poet
Richard II, Act 2, sc. 3 (1595)
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Added on 24-Nov-14 | Last updated 24-Nov-14
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Things cannot always go your way. Learn to accept in silence the minor aggravations, cultivate the gift of taciturnity and consume your own smoke with an extra draught of hard work, so that those about you may not be annoyed with the dust and soot of your complaints.

Sir William Osler (1849-1919) Canadian physician
Counsels and Ideals from the Writings of William Osler (1905)
Added on 17-Nov-14 | Last updated 17-Nov-14
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Life has no other discipline to impose, if we would but realize it, than to accept life unquestioningly. Everything we shut our eyes to, everything we run away from, everything we deny, denigrate, or despise, serves to defeat us in the end. What seems nasty, painful, evil, can become a source of beauty, joy, and strength, if faced with an open mind. Every moment is a golden one for him who has the vision to recognize it as such.

Henry Miller (1891-1980) American novelist
The World of Sex (1940)
Added on 10-Nov-14 | Last updated 10-Nov-14
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For after all, the best thing one can do
When it is raining, is to let it rain.

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1807-1882) American poet
Tales of a Wayside Inn, “The Poet’s Tale; The Birds of Killingworth” (1863)
Added on 3-Nov-14 | Last updated 3-Nov-14
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We cannot change anything unless we accept it. Condemnation does not liberate, it oppresses. I am the oppressor of the person I condemn, not his friend and fellow-sufferer. I do not in the least mean to say that we must never pass judgment in the case of persons whom we desire to help and improve. But if the doctor wishes to help a human being he must be able to accept him as he is. And he can do this in reality only when he has already seen and accepted himself as he is.

Carl Jung (1875-1961) Swiss psychologist
Modern Man In Search of a Soul (1933)
Added on 20-Oct-14 | Last updated 20-Oct-14
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I suppose the process of acceptance will pass through the usual four stages:
1. This is worthless nonsense,
2. This is an interesting, but perverse, point of view,
3. This is true, but quite unimportant,
4. I always said so.

J.B.S. Haldane (1892-1964) English geneticist [John Burden Sanderson Haldane]
“The Truth About Death,” Journal of Genetics, Vol. 58, page 464 (1963)
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Review of The Chester Beatty Research Institute Serially Abridged Life Tables, England and Wales, 1841-1960. Referring to the stages a scientific theory goes through.
Added on 6-Oct-14 | Last updated 6-Oct-14
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Make the best of what is in our power, and take the rest as it naturally happens.

Epictetus (c.55-c.135) Greek (Phrygian) Stoic philosopher
The Discourses, 1.1
Added on 22-Sep-14 | Last updated 22-Sep-14
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The secret of health for both mind and body is not to mourn for the past, worry about the future, or anticipate troubles, but to live in the present moment wisely and earnestly.

Buddha (c.563-483 BC) Indian mystic, philosopher [b. Siddharta Gautama]
In Bukkyõ Dendõ Kyõkai, The Teaching of Buddha (1966)

Likely a paraphrase of a variety of the Buddha's teachings.
Added on 15-Sep-14 | Last updated 15-Sep-14
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If you ever drop your keys into a river of molten lava, let ’em go, because man, they’re gone.

Jack Handey (b. 1949) American humorist
Deeper Thoughts (1993)
Added on 11-Sep-14 | Last updated 11-Sep-14
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If a problem has no solution, it may not be a problem, but a fact, not to be solved, but to be coped with over time.

Shimon Peres (b. 1923) Polish-Israeli politician, statesman
(Attributed)

Widely attributed to Peres in different sources. Quoted in the Wall Street Journal (7 Feb 2001). Donald Rumsfeld says that Peres made the observation to him.
Added on 23-Feb-12 | Last updated 24-Nov-14
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To accept passively an unjust system is to cooperate with that system; thereby the oppressed become as evil as the oppressor. Non-cooperation with evil is as much a moral obligation as is cooperation with good. The oppressed must never allow the conscience of the oppressor to slumber. Religion reminds every man that he is his brother’s keeper. To accept injustice or segregation passively is to say to the oppressor that his actions are morally right. It is a way of allowing his conscience to fall asleep. At this moment the oppressed fails to be his brother’s keeper. So acquiescence — while often the easier way — is not the moral way. It is the way of the coward.

Martin Luther King, Jr. (1929-1968) American clergyman, civil rights leader, orator
Stride Toward Freedom, ch. 11 “Three Ways of Meeting Oppression” (1958)
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Added on 6-Dec-11 | Last updated 4-Jul-17
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I do not know many Negroes who are eager to be “accepted” by white people, still less to be loved by them; they, the blacks, simply don’t wish to be beaten over the head by the whites every instant of our brief passage on this planet. White people will have quite enough to do in learning how to accept and love themselves and each other, and when they have achieved this — which will not be tomorrow and may very well be never — the Negro problem will no longer exist, for it will no longer be needed.

James Baldwin (1924-1987) American author [James Arthur Baldwin]
“Letter from a Region of My Mind,” The New Yorker (17 Nov 1962)

Republished as "Down at the Cross: Letter from a Region in My Mind" in The Fire Next Time (1963)
Added on 18-Feb-11 | Last updated 15-Dec-15
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That was excellently observed, say I, when I read a passage in an author, where his opinion agrees with mine. When we differ, there I pronounce him to be mistaken.

Jonathan Swift (1667-1745) English writer and churchman
“Thoughts on Various Subjects” (1706)
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Added on 17-Feb-10 | Last updated 6-Feb-15
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‘Yes, sir,’ said Jeeves in a low, cold voice, as if he had been bitten in the leg by a personal friend.

P. G. Wodehouse (1881-1975) Anglo-American humorist, playwright and lyricist [Pelham Grenville Wodehouse]
Carry On, Jeeves (1925)
Added on 1-Jul-09 | Last updated 5-Sep-19
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You have to accept whatever comes and the only important thing is that you meet it with courage and with the best you have to give.

Eleanor Roosevelt (1884-1962) First Lady of the US (1933-45), politician, diplomat, activist
In Edward P. Morgan (ed.) This I Believe … (1952)
Added on 12-May-04 | Last updated 24-Nov-14
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And this made me remember that common saying everyone in China was raised with: “If you can’t change your fate, change your attitude.”

Amy Tan (b. 1952) American novelist
The Kitchen God’s Wife, ch. 17 (1991)
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Usually quoted without the attribution to a common saying.
Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 1-Dec-14
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God, give us the grace to accept with serenity the things which cannot be changed, courage to change the things which should be changed, and the wisdom to distinguish the one from the other.

Reinhold Niebuhr (1892-1971) American theologian and clergyman
“The Serenity Prayer” (1934)

Niebuhr at one point claimed authorship (and took copyright fees from Hallmark Cards), but later on denied he had written it. It was later adopted by Alcoholics Anonymous. Discussion of the actual authorship here.
Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 14-Nov-15
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Things without all remedy
Should be without regard: what’s done is done.

William Shakespeare (1564-1616) English dramatist and poet
Macbeth, III.ii.11 (1606)
Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 1-Dec-14
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A man dies when he refuses to stand up for that which is right. A man dies when he refuses to stand up for justice. A man dies when he refuses to take a stand for that which is true.

Martin Luther King, Jr. (1929-1968) American clergyman, civil rights leader, orator
Sermon, Selma, Alabama (8 Mar 1965)

Possibly the source of the uncited attributions (or variants) "Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter" and "The day we see the truth and cease to speak is the day we begin to die."
Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 7-Dec-15
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The highest result of education is tolerance. Long ago men fought and died for their faith; but it took ages to teach them the other kind of courage, — the courage to recognize the faiths of their brethren and their rights of conscience. Tolerance is the first principle of community; it is the spirit which conserves the best that all men think.

 

Helen Keller (1880-1968) American author and lecturer
“Optimism” (1903)
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Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 16-Feb-15
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