The Difference Between Knowing And Accepting

Knowing something and accepting something are two distinctly different things. I know this, because I've accepted this (see what I did there?). But clever turns of phrase aside, I just recently contemplated and then experienced the difference for myself.

It's one of those moments you go through when you experience something really hard or really great. You get a rejection letter in the mail from a publication that you worked very hard to submit an article to, or you find out you've been accepted to a prestigious university (which itself is really a waste of time, but hey, some people think that's a really great thing, so it's a fine example for these purposes). You know you are holding the letter in your hand, but it's not quite in your gut yet. You know it, but you haven't accepted it.

The difference, at least to me, is literally this: You can look at a clock and know it's 6:00AM. You know the sun is coming up, but you're in your room, head down, working on something. You take it on faith. You understand the fact.

But then you go outside, and there's the sun rising over the horizon, peeking out from behind a few clouds in vibrant yellows and reds and oranges. And stand there a moment and truly experience the fact that the sun is, in fact, coming up. Because there it is, clear as day. You don't just know it, you are experiencing it and are in the moment with it. It's not just data. It's real.

Knowing and accepting are two different things, and they rarely if ever happen at the same time. And we like to pretend we've accepted stuff we merely know, just to say we're past it. Don't do that. Hold on to your moments. Know them. Explore them. Don't shut them out, dig deep and let them get into you and affect you. That is the road to acceptance.

The sooner you accept -- not know -- this, the better your life will be.