The dictionary gives six definitions. My intention is the first: "to receive willingly." The key here is willingly. Such as "I will accept this gift."
I will accept the children that I teach, just as they are, in all their diversity. I will help them to grow, but I will not try to make them different than who they are. I will accept my colleagues and recognize that we are going to be different and disagree about some things, and I will receive those differences willingly. The same is true in my family.
This year I want to remind myself of the line from the prayer by Reinhold Niebuhr, "O God, give us the serenity to accept what cannot be changed." There are always events and situations, such as changes in administration, traffic jams, people not doing what I expected, and weather, that I also want to accept. It's all a part of life.
But probably the one who I need to accept the most is myself. I'm not a project that needs to be worked on. I don't need to be "fixed." This year I hope to remind myself over and over to accept the wild, beautiful, irritating, capable, critical, controlling, creative mix that makes me, me. It's not that I can't be changed. It's that I don't need to be. I can grow, I will grow, but it will no longer be driven by my need to become more "acceptable."