Accepting others as they are

Acceptance is the ability to see that others have a right to be their own unique persons
Accepting others as they are
"The more accepting we are, the more our relationships can flourish. And the more our relationships flourish, the more positive experiences we’ll have with others. There is no case for “my way or highway” attitude."Pixabay [Creative Commons]

Almost every father wants his son to be like him. So does a mother want her daughter to be like her. This is the root cause of many a father-son dispute, friction and spoiled relationship.

We ignore the basic fact of life so remarkably highlighted by Kahlil Gibran when he said: “Your children do not belong to you, they come through you.”

Well, that is at the parental level. In the case of husband-wife relationship, we all have our moments when we struggle to accept each other as we are.

Many a bickering, divorce could have been avoided and suicides averted, if only we recognized that becoming more accepting of each other is one way to make their relationship more positive.

The more accepting we are, the more our relationships can flourish. And the more our relationships flourish, the more positive experiences we’ll have with others. There is no case for “my way or highway” attitude.

In the case of friends and relatives, one would wish one could change everything to one’s liking and convenience before accepting! But none can do it. So, one need to just to have a grateful attitude for whatever is around him or her.

And because you are a conscious soul, you may know about cause and effect…well now there is no question about rejection. Everything gets included in one’s life! One can create magic and the life one would want, simply by having the wisdom to create one’s life by being conscious of one’s actions, thought and words (Mansa, Vacha, Karmana). Then acceptance won’t even be an act. It will just happen thereby reducing friction in one’s life.

Have you ever had a hard time “fitting in” somewhere? Whether it be at school or work, in a new group of friends, or even in your own family, you can all relate to feeling unaccepted at one time or another.

On the other hand, many of us can think of a time that we had trouble accepting someone else. When we accept others as they are, it means that we understand that they are doing the best that they can do at the time. Remember, if they could do any better, they would.

Acceptance is the ability to see that others have a right to be their own unique persons. That means having a right to their own feelings, thoughts and opinions. When you accept people for who they are, you let go of your desire to change them.

You let them feel the way they want to feel, you let them be different and think differently from you. Everyone is different in one way or the other. Once you understand this truth, you can stop trying to change them into the people you want them to be and start accepting them for who they are.

Acceptance of others’ feelings is not easy when people act differently than we do. We all have trouble accepting those who are different. Even so, when it comes to living a positive life, acceptance is the key - particularly acceptance of others.

People sometimes struggle when it comes to accepting others. They have a tendency to think that their way is the best way and when others disagree or act in a way they cannot understand, they are often critical or judgmental.

In what ways do we wish that people were different? Let us think about the people close to us - friends, family, mates - as well as co-workers, drivers on the highway, businesspeople, media types, politicians, and world leaders.

Let us also think about people who are not doing their share of housework, not getting you the health-care you need, promoting political policies that you dislike if not despise, etc.

There are many ways to become more accepting, but here are six things that one may follow to start with, doing to increase acceptance in one’s life: (i) Watching one’s thoughts.

Think about what we are thinking about. More often, we think things about other people, judging them, without even realizing it. We should work on paying more attention to our thoughts and do our best to push them in a non-judgmental and more accepting direction. (ii) Looking for the positive.

Not accepting others is a result of seeing the negative in them. Instead of focusing on why someone is different, we should focus on what’s good about that person and his/her choices and actions. our way is not always the best one. (iii) Avoiding right/wrong dichotomies.

It’s very tempting to see the world in black and white with a right and wrong way to do things, but that’s just not how it is.

Things don’t have to be right or wrong if we choose to accept them as they are. We should stop labelling my way as “right.” (iv) Stopping judging yourself. Our judgments of others are often a result of our personal criticisms.

If we stop putting pressure on ourselves to do things the “right” way, we’ll stop putting pressure on others as well. Not judging oneself or others is a crucial step to acceptance. (v) Sing on the ‘now’. A lack of acceptance can generate from comparing things to the past.

We should not think about what happened before and try to live accordingly. Comparing things to the past always hinders an acceptance of what is. (vi) Reversing the situation.

Let us ask ourselves: What if someone were judging me and not accepting me? How would we feel? We should keep these questions in mind the next time we tend to not accepting others.

If we keep imagining someone constantly telling us to slow down, how annoying that would be!

It’s so easy to abstractly think of ourselves as accepting persons, but when it comes to our daily interactions, let us really pay attention to them and ask ourselves if we are accepting others as they are.

The more we use these six tactics in our lives, the more we find ourselves being much more accepting of others.

Suddenly we are more loving, more forgiving, more kind and we increasingly realise that the only way to live a positive and present life is to accept what is -something we certainly can’t do if we don’t accept others for who they are.

Of course, accepting people for who they are, does not itself mean agreeing with them, approving of them, waiving our own rights, or downplaying their impact upon us.

We can still take appropriate actions to protect or support ourselves or others.

Or we may simply let people be. Either way, we accept the reality of the other person. We may not like it, we may not prefer it, we may feel sad or angry about it, but at a deeper level, we are at peace with it and ourselves. That alone is a blessing. And sometimes, our shift to acceptance can help things get better.

Bhushan Lal Razdan, formerly of the Indian Revenue Service, retired as Director General of Income Tax (Investigation), Chandigarh.

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are the personal opinions of the author.

The facts, analysis, assumptions and perspective appearing in the article do not reflect the views of GK.

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