1. An acknowledgement that an adversity exists;
2. A realization that unfortunately all the conditions are in place for the adversity to exist;
3. An evaluation that the adversity is bad, but not awful, and that you can tolerate it; and
4. A determination to change the adversity if it can be changed, and to deal with it as constructively as possible if it can’t be changed.
It is important to note that acceptance in REBT does not mean resignation. Resignation essentially means an acknowledgement that an adversity exists, but believing that nothing can be done about it, since it cannot be changed. When we are resigned we are likely to also experience hopelessness and depression. REBT teaches that when you have philosophical acceptance about an unchanging negative situation or adversity you have an attitude towards it which allows you to experience some degree of pleasure despite the existence of the ongoing adversity. You philosophically tolerate the adversity and see that demanding that the adversity not exist will only produce emotional upset and self-defeating behavior. With the philosophically elegant solution of REBT you gain emotional leverage over the situation. Although you have not changed the external situation you have changed what you can change. You have changed your attitude towards the situation.
A Rational Credo to rehearse and adopt:
I really want this adversity to pass but for as long as it exists I will acknowledge its existence. I will also acknowledge that all the conditions are in place for this adversity to continue to exist despite my strong desire that it not exist. Having a strong desire that the adversity not exist I will see it as a very bad thing and feel healthy sorrow and healthy displeasure about its existence. Despite these feelings I will continue to seek ways to change this adversity or reduce it in some way. Furthermore, I will acknowledge that despite this adversity and because of my personal philosophy towards it I still am capable of experiencing some pleasure in life. I will gracefully bear the discomfort of living with that which will not pass and will do so without putting myself down for being unable to change the circumstances I face. I will simultaneously not put life itself down and choose to acknowledge that despite the existence of an unrelenting adversity all of life is not bad. This philosophy about my inability to change the adversity and about life continuing to have both good and neutral aspects despite this unrelenting adversity will enable me to continue to have some pleasure despite the existence of the adversity. This shall be my philosophical stance of acceptance or what may be called an elegant philosophical solution for an unrelenting negative situation.
Dryden, W. (2003). The REBT Pocket Companion for Clients. New York: Albert Ellis Institute.