Recently, I was gifted some wisdom: learn to accept others for who they are, no matter whether you agree with them, or would act the same way in their position.
Even though I’d probably heard this advice or idea in some form hundreds of times, it finally made sense to me. The powerful person is able to accept others, and does not try to change them.
The reality of the world is that we share this space we live in. There is no getting around the fact that other people are a big part of our life. Without other people in our lives, we’d need to grow our own food, make our own clothes and build our own houses. The world we live in the today gives us huge luxuries of convenience simply because we share it with others.
However, while we share the world physically, we do not always share it philosophically.
We have all seen this a lot lately in the political arena, but I also see it very often in business and family life. The way other people operate is always going to feel different than the way you operate. The mistake is to somehow see that difference as wrong.
When you see another person as wrong, and you want them to be more like you, all it does is cause you stress. It actually enables the other person (or group of people) to have more control over you, and it reduces your ability to function well in the world.
The challenge of accepting others, I believe, comes down to habit.
If we habitually practice the acceptance of our differences, no matter how wide, it becomes easier to do it over and over again.
If we habitually search for ways to be righteous, or tell ourselves there is a ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ way, it only causes friction, unhappiness and dissatisfaction.
One more point here: even though it is wise to accept the way others are, it doesn’t mean you must spend all your time around them. You can consciously choose an environment that better matches your worldview and and live within it.
Life is always changing, and so are you. So is everyone else. Who you are today, you won’t be tomorrow, and neither will the people you struggle with.
The best thing you can do is accept them as they are today, and know that it is within your power to create distance if you need to.
Acceptance brings you calm. Acceptance brings you power.
Most of all, acceptance is a habit.
Practice it and watch what happens.
2 thoughts on “The Challenge of Acceptance”
I find myself disagreeing with most of this. It’s not ok to simply accept everything and everyone. And it doesn’t make me feel righteous to say so. Getting along is one thing, blind acceptance, quite another. I do agree that acceptance can be habit forming but again it feels like turning a blind eye to me. If something is unacceptable then it’s ok to disagree and to have an opinion about it. Just because something is “convenient” doesn’t make it agreeable, some conveniences are cruel and wrong. We will never all agree, nor accept just because it would make us feel calm. Some things need to change and it is the agitators that will change them.
Barbara, thank you for being the first person to ever disagree with one of my posts! I should preface this by saying whenever I write something, it is a typically a memo to myself. Therefore this is really for me to remember to stop trying to make others be like me, or think like me.
I feel like what you are saying is absolutely accurate, and after reading over what I wrote perhaps a better way to frame it is to say ‘let go of the opinions and behaviors of others’. By accepting that they are different from you, it somehow reduces the stress you feel. Yes, if something is a perpetration against you, then I agree in needing to take a stand. It is all relative and personal.
Once again, thank you for sharing your view. It is so wonderful to see another perspective and be able to discuss it 🙂