Acceptance versus forgiveness









Brains Get Mis-wired

I was recently given the gift of meeting a potential NeuroCoaching client, and we got into a long talk about the misfortunes and traumas that she’d suffered throughout her life.
It was a very sad story, and it helped to remind me just how lucky so many us of us are that we don’t have to suffer the abuses of others.

But it also reminded me that we can get stuck and end up abusing ourselves. We can remain caught permanently in the drama triangle.  And we can be conditioned to repeat the same self abusing behavior.

There’s a saying in my field, “Neurons that fire together wire together.”  Some behaviors become so deeply rooted that the brain connections become heavily trodden and almost permanent.  Abuse can do this to a person.

So we got into a discussion about the idea that expressing gratitude and forgiveness could help her to break out of the drama triangle.  That there are certain Brain-Building strategies that would elevate her from a level of low energy to high energy.  And that these strategies would move her from a place of victimhood to a place of creation.

And this potential client, who had every reason to be a victim in life, realized that, over time, she had come to accept a sad set of circumstances.  She clearly wanted to change! She wished for a better job and better relationships.  She yearned for a more outgoing personality and a better financial position.  But the obstacles were many, and the pain from past events had evolved into very real suffering.  And this prompted her question: “What’s the difference between acceptance and forgiveness?


  • Acceptance is a combination of awareness, sadness, and resignation.
  • It is a state of low brain energy.
  • Accepting our circumstances means living in the drama triangle, a place of disempowerment.
  • There is a villain.  You are the victim.  Maybe a hero tries to bail you out.  Maybe the hero becomes a villain by failing to succeed in changing your circumstances.
  • Obviously, there are some things in life we cannot change.
  • But acceptance guarantees that we will not try to change circumstances or our mindset.


  • Forgiveness means letting go of the suffering over circumstances.
  • It means giving up the grip on our victim status.
  • It means deciding to change our thinking about what has done harm to us.
  • It allows us to see obstacles as challenges.
  • It allows us to stop seeking heros and instead look for coaches and mentors.
  • Forgiveness turns on the same set of brain circuits that are activated by gratitude.
  • Forgiveness and gratitude disable the adrenaline-pumping fight-or-flight circuits.
  • They allow our field of vision to expand, so that we may see more opportunities in front of us.
  • And forgiveness and gratitude allow us to grow and expand, rather than wither and contract.

Accept the things you cannot change… But realize that you can change almost anything if you change your mindset.
And that starts with forgiving yourself.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s