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Acceptance is a concept – a state of mind – a way of looking at life and problems. It is a way of thinking that can be applied to any circumstance. It is a pivotal point that takes us from what we can’t do to possibilities, options and choices.
Problems have a magnetic way of holding us in place. Like an insect caught on fly paper, we get stuck in the mess of it all and can’t see a way out.
Acceptance takes us out of the victim role and puts us in the administrator role.
It keeps us from playing the blame game where everything – from circumstances to people, parents, siblings, religion, God, whatever – are blamed for our inability to do anything.
Acceptance puts us in control of our responses regardless of what life throws at us.
With acceptance we can ask ourselves the following questions:
- What isn’t working and why?
- What am I resisting that requires a change in my thinking and habits?
- What do I really want to have happen?
- What is in my control? What is out of my control?
- Am I making individual personalities the problem versus how I relate and communicate?
- Can I do some creative brainstorming to expand my options so I can develop a plan of action with each step outlined?
Acceptance helps define and articulate any problems we have regardless of what they are.
Acceptance in our relationships
Just as not everyone sees the world as we do, not everyone will see problems the same way. One person might look at a situation and make a snap decision as to what needs to be done.
Another person might think, wait a minute, I need more time to think about this.
Or one person might see a set of circumstances as a huge problem while another doesn’t see any problem at all. If these are people in the same household, it can ignite further problems as the argument now becomes who is right and who is wrong.
When one person remains adamant about their position without a willingness to listen to another’s point of view, problems multiply, and become inflated. Now the other person becomes the problem. It no longer is acceptance of what is happening so you can resolve difficulties but trying to resolve the differences of interpretations.
When you find yourself constantly in conflict, you need to stop and ask, what am I missing here? What are we arguing about? What is the real problem?
Right vs. Wrong = Everyone Loses
Accepting that another’s point of view may be as important as yours is sometimes hard. But when your battle is about who’s right and who’s wrong, you both have lost. Acknowledging that you may have different opinions becomes a starting point.
When you are willing to change your attitude from one of attack/defend to how can we find a way to work together, you are on your way to finding solutions. When you accept the fact that you, your coworkers, neighbors or family members will have a different way of seeing life, it allows you to search for ways to come together instead of immediately doing battle.
With acceptance, you can modify your interpretations and perceptions to include those of others. As you recognize your typical behavior patterns or typical ways of thinking and responding, you can let go of unrealistic expectations and unenforceable rules.
As you admit that neither of you are perfect, you can offer grace to others whose habits can be irritating and who love to argue.
You are able to give grace to yourself as well. You will do stupid things and make mistakes and say hurtful things when you don’t stop and think first. Grace allows you to say I’m sorry, to forgive yourself and others, and find ways to come together.
Conflict creates enormous stress
Non-acceptance will keep you in constant turmoil and anger. And when your anger is directed towards everybody else there are no winners – only losers.
Non-acceptance of differences can keep you in a fighting mood because you insist on being right while everybody else is wrong. Or you never think of yourself as having a valid point of view, which is also destructive.
Conflicts create an enormous amount of stress when they continue over long periods of time. Stop and remind yourself that you are seeing circumstances differently. Stop and listen to what the other person has to say. We want to be heard.
When people are not listened to, they begin to feel disrespected, unwanted, and unworthy of having an opinion.
Accept that you don’t have all the answers.
Accept that you are not perfect, and neither is the other person.
In accepting that you are not the greatest thing in God’s green earth, you acknowledge that you have faults and personality traits that can irritate others. It can be an important first step in learning about who you are in relation to others.
Acceptance can be humbling, but also so very freeing.
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