• Home
  • Health
  • Navigating the Journey from Acquiescence to Acceptance

Navigating the Journey from Acquiescence to Acceptance

By Virgil Roberson, L.P., M. Div., NCPsyA, Executive Director

Apr. 28, 2021: During the past year, all of us have been forced to reckon with life as it is, rather than as we would like it to be.  Some people have dealt more successfully with that challenge than others.  

At The Counseling Center, some clients have been able to adjust to their new circumstances, even when it has involved significant loss; they’ve struggled through their emotions, whether grief, anger, or resentment, and have found acceptance.  Many have shown admirable resilience by reinventing their business models, finding inventive ways to remain in touch with family and friends, and seeking creative outlets despite social distancing.

Other clients have continued to struggle in their new circumstances.  Some remain focused on the job they lost, the increased financial strains they face, or the restrictions placed on their movements.  Some have resisted the protocols or denied the toll the virus is taking. Some have found their views hardening despite new, contradictory evidence.  Such clients may eventually acquiesce to their situation, when their circumstances become too overwhelming to be denied, but the outcome is rarely a positive one for their mental health.

Another way to look at it: some clients find acceptance and others acquiesce.  

Acquiescence is passive, submissive; it is often a quiet, desperate defeat, a repression of one’s emotions, which can lead to resentment and passive aggressive behavior. 

Acceptance, on the other hand, can be described as a surrender to reality that, in turn, empowers us to remain true to who we are.  In finding acceptance, we allow change to enter our lives rather than trying to deny its power over us.

In acquiescing, one submits to the power—in this case, the power of Covid—and is dominated and defeated by it; in acceptance, one surrenders to the power in a way that allows for release, freedom, and self-empowerment.

Some simple examples might show how this dynamic can play out. A couple might desperately want their son to go to a particular college but eventually accept that he will go to a college of his choice that is within their financial means.  A family member might want everyone to agree on politics but eventually accept that they just need to get along well enough to enjoy each other’s company.  Similarly, an individual might want a perfectly trim body that impresses other people, but come to accept the need to be simply healthy. 

In a recent issue of Psychology Today, editor Kaja Perina describes her husband’s desire for a villa on the Amalfi coast with a Porsche and Ferrari in the garage.  Once her husband was able to admit he didn’t need that particular house, and wouldn’t want to deal with its upkeep in any case, he was released from his need.  Perina concludes that “acceptance sheds the need. Acquiescence is not wanting to let go of the need and doing so only reluctantly.”

During Covid, some people who have had a hard time adjusting may be resisting reality in an attempt to regain control.  But humans aren’t in control of this situation; the virus is. Once you accept that reality, liberation becomes possible.

Only then can you shift your focus, open up, and become empowered.  As Melodie Beattie writes in The Language of Letting Go, “By accepting the facts of our own lives, we mature into feelings of joy and pleasure alongside griefs.”

Acceptance and acquiescence stand as stark contrasts to each other. But most people’s lives are not so clearly defined. Rather than finding full acceptance or submitting to full acquiescence, most of us live instead in a complex, ever changing combination of the two states. In some areas of our lives, we’re able to find acceptance and move on; in other areas, we continue to resist and become resentful, or we become stuck and depressed.  

Acceptance is a worthy goal, but the journey to reach it looks different for each of us. Often that path is an uneven one, with bumps and pitfalls, advances and retreats. The process of finding acceptance takes time and can arouse a variety of emotions—anger, anxiety, depression--but its goal is release rather than repression. 

Often reaching acceptance requires getting past strong emotions enough to be able to explore the situation with a calm thoughtfulness. But some people find it impossible to move forward at all.  It helps to acknowledge that we’re each doing the best we can under trying circumstances, when many of our usual support systems are not available.  In these times especially, perhaps we can give each other, and ourselves, a little slack and more than an ounce of compassion. 

There can be a beneficial tension between acceptance and acquiescence.  A client can say, “I want to care for other people, to give my time and talent to them, but I also want time to pursue my own desires, in my own way.”  Or people might express a desire to care for the environment, and work to build a healthier ecosystem, yet also cling to a desire to buy the products they want and do what they want, despite the environmental cost.  Living in this paradox, and being willing to explore its contradictions, can open us up to opportunities for growth.  When we can acknowledge our resistance, we can be present in the moment and possibly find a temporary place of peace and contentment.

This understanding has been present in our culture for several decades; it’s been tested by time and experience.  One of AA’s Twelve Steps speaks about the need to “accept life on life’s terms.”  A bestselling book of a couple decades ago, Who Moved My Cheese by Spencer Johnson, suggests that “the quicker we adapt to change, the more satisfied we will be.”

Or, as Gabrielle Bernstein says in a slightly different way in The Universe Has Your Back, “When you return to focus on what you already embody and enjoy in your life, you can let go of what you think you need.”

In this way, despite living through a world-wide pandemic, we can find acceptance, surrendering to the circumstances so that we become empowered to claim our gifts, our identity, and our life in this moment.

If you feel stuck in acquiescence in some aspect of your life, and seek guidance toward acceptance, the Counseling Center is here for you. Our therapists have years of experience helping people to regain the equilibrium they need to see a situation clearly and find their way to a healthy resolution. 

Photo courtesy The Counseling Center


Editor's note: As a public service, MyhometownBronxville publishes articles from local institutions, officeholders, and individuals. MyhometownBronxville does not fact-check statements therein, and any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect the thinking of its staff.



Health Directory

Assisted Living Facilities

Sunrise Senior Living

500 North Columbus Avenue
Mount Vernon, New York 10552


The Osborn

101 Theall Road
Rye, New York 10580


The Bereavement Center of Westchester

670 White Plains Road
Scarsdale, New York 10707 
(914) 787-6158

Chemical Dependency Services

The Maxwell Institute

The Maxwell Institute of St. Vincent's Westchester offers outpatient chemical dependency treatment and education services for adults, adolescents and their families. Treatment includes individual and group psychotherapy, couples counseling, and psychiatric evaluation and medication management when indicated. The Institute welcomes individuals and family members who are experiencing marital and/or work-related distress as a result of alcoholism and other forms of chemical dependency.

The Maxwell Institute also offers community education services through its programs in drug and alcohol prevention in the schools. For persons wishing to become credentialed alcoholism and substance abuse counselors (CASACS) in New York State, the "Maxtrain" program provides the 350 classroom education hours that are an important part of the credentialing requirements.

The Maxwell Institute is grateful for the support of The Community Fund of Bronxville-Eastchester-Tuckahoe.

92 Yonkers Ave
Tuckahoe, NY 10707
(914) 337-6033


Counseling Services

Counseling Center

Founded in 1971, the mission of the Counseling Center “is to provide a wide range of psychotherapeutic and counseling services to individuals, couples and families by a staff of highly trained, experience and dedicated psychotherapists.
Director: Virgil Roberson

The Counseling Center
180 Pondfield Road Bronxville,
New York 10708


Dr. Henry A. Blom

10 Studio Arcade
Bronxville, New York 10708


Bronxville Dental Care

Jenny A.  Kanganis, D.D.S.

Guy N. Minoli, D.D.S.

Since 1994, Dr. Kanganis and Dr. Minoli of Bronxville Dental Care have been leaders in the dental community, providing exceptional dentistry to generations of Bronxville families. They have a long history of excellence and have earned a reputation built on trust, compassion, and dedication. Drs. Kanganis and Minoli believe in a conservative, holistic, and minimally invasive approach to dentistry. Bronxville Dental Care welcomes patients of all ages and offers a comprehensive range of services, including cosmetic and restorative dentistry, implants, and pediatric dentistry. Dr. Kanganis especially loves treating children. As a mother herself of two recent Bronxville High School grads, she understands the importance of helping children to feel comfortable during their visits, while earning their trust and teaching them to become active participants in their oral health.

20 Studio Arcade

Bronxville, New York 10708

(914) 337-6536 

Dr. Anthony Fiore

44 Pondfield Road
Bronxville, New York 10708

Dr. Quentin M. Murphy

77 Pondfield Road
Bronxville, New York 10708

Scarsdale Pediatric Dental

777 Post Rd.
Scarsdale, NY 10583-5000 
Phone: 914. 472. 9090 

Dr. Michael J. Vitale

1 Pondfield Road
Bronxville, New York 10708


Dr. Lesa Kelly

77 Quaker Ridge Road
New Rochelle, New York

Dr. Neil Goldberg

77 Pondfield Road Ste 2
Bronxville, New York 10708

Ear, Nose, and Throat

Dr. Mark Fox

ENT and Allergy Associates
1 Elm Street
Tuckahoe, New York 10707

Home Care

Lawrence Home Care of Westchester

670 White Plains Road
Scarsdale, NY 10707
(914) 787-6158


Jansen Hospice and Pallative Care

670 White Plains Road
Scarsdale, New York 10583
(914) 787-6158


NewYork-Presbyterian Lawrence Hospital

In July 2014, Lawrence Hospital and NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital established a new relationship aimed at enhancing care, improving access and lowering health care costs for residents of Bronxville and surrounding communities in Westchester County. Lawrence was renamed NewYork-Presbyterian Lawrence Hospital.

Lawrence Hospital Center was founded in 1909 and is a 291-bed acute care facility with over 1100 employees and 400 physicians. It provides emergency care to approximately 35,000 individuals every year.   It became a designated New York State Stroke Center in 2006.  Its physicians provide expertise in virtually every area of medical specialty and include over 100 primary care physicians. And, Lawrence delivers about 2000 babies every year in the home-like setting of newly designed Labor and Delivery recovery rooms.

Outpatient services include diagnostic testing and laboratory services, ambulatory surgery options, and rehabilitation and sports medicine services. The Hospital has a Women`s Imaging Center where female patients receive diagnostic services in a private setting. Outpatient physical therapy, lymphedema therapy, speech and occupational therapy services are provided both on-site at the Hospital and at Lawrence`s satellite center, The Center for Rehabilitation and Sports Medicine, in Scarsdale.

The Hospital is accredited by the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations. The Hospital is fully licensed by the New York State Department of Health. Lawrence`s laboratory is accredited by the College of American Pathologists.

55 Palmer Avenue
914-787-1000 (main number)

Internal Medicine Physicians

Dr. Anne Galloway

77 Pondfield Road
Bronxville, New York 10708

Dr. Kerrianne Page

14 Studio Arcade

Dr. Raymond Chow

700 White Plains Road
Scarsdale, New York


Dr. Polly Kanganis

4 Studio Arcade, Bronxville, NY 10708
Bronxville, New York 10708

Dr. Thomas J. Rubeo Jr. MD
Bronxville Women's Care, Pllc
One Pondfield Road, Suite 302
Bronxville, NY 10708


Dr. Patricia Halloran

55 Park Avenue
Bronxville, New York 10708

Dr. Joseph Ciccio

1 Pondfield Road
Bronxville, New York 10708


Dr. Peter Rizzo

77 Pondfield Road

Dr. Michael Elia

1 Stone Place
Bronxville, New York 10708


Westchester Health Pediatrics (formerly Children’s Medical Practice of Bronxville)
1 Elm Street
Tuckahoe, New York 10707

Scarsdale Pediatric Associates
2 Overhill Road Suite 220
Scarsdale, New York 10580

Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine
495 Central Avenue
Scarsdale, New York

Health Recent Articles


Sign Up For Our Newsletter

MyhometownBroxnville reserves the right to monitor and remove all comments. For more information on Posting Rules, please review our Rules and Terms of Use, both of which govern the use and access of this site. Thank you.

The information presented here is for informational purposes only. While every effort has been made to present accurate information, myhometownBronxville, LLC, does not in any way accept responsibility for the accuracy of or consequences from the use of this information herein. We urge all users to independently confirm any information provided herein and consult with an appropriate professional concerning any material issue of fact or law. The views and opinions expressed by the writers, event organizers and advertisers do not necessarily represent those of myhometownBronxville, LLC, its officers, staff or contributors. The use of this website is governed by the Terms of Use . No portion of this publication may be reproduced or redistributed, either in whole or part, without the express written consent of the publisher.

Copyright © 2009 myhometownbronxville.com, All rights reserved.