Acceptance is always the answer!
Acceptance is the answer, but what about dealing with other people’s lack of acceptance? Here’s where compassion, lack of judgment and acceptance gets tricky.
One of my closest friends reached out to me this morning. She asked me to remind her about a conversation we recently had regarding accepting other people, whether we agree with their personalities or not. She then proceeded to tell me a story; someone close to her had just verbally attacked her character. I could tell how fresh the wound still was. My poor friend was so distraught and really needed to talk.
So, what do we do when we’re faced with someone else’s lack of acceptance of us?
We accept it. Plain and simple, we don’t judge them or criticize them and we certainly don’t try and defend ourselves. Reacting and trying to defend ourselves closes us off to the lesson, hindering our own personal growth. When we’re talking we cannot hear…
This is where letting go of our own ego comes in.
This person may have been harboring resentments or feelings about my friend for a long time and it just exploded. Maybe there’s some truth in what the person is saying. Or, maybe the person is projecting a personal trait they don’t like in themselves onto my friend. There’s really no way of knowing what’s going on in someone else’s head and when we get defensive we’re just fueling the argument.
My friend is very opinionated (one of my favorite things about her), and sometimes people take strong opinions personally. Maybe this person took my friends opinionated personality as a personal attack, or feel as though they’ve been judged by her. As long as your intentions are good, how someone else receives your message has nothing to do with you.
I suggested that my friend take the emotion out of the argument and look at the situation for what it is.
Taking a minute to hear what the other person is saying can be powerful, even if we disagree. I’m not saying she’s doing this but, sometimes when we defend ourselves so strongly we’re only hearing our point and not what the other person is saying. What if stepping outside the situation and trying to see both points allowed us to accept someone else’s judgements of us? That relief alone would be reason enough for me.
Sometimes the lesson is how pointless engaging in an argument really is. It’s okay to be quiet and just agree to disagree; not responding doesn’t mean we’re admitting we’re wrong. It may be that this person is attacking my friends character is an attempt to control the situation. By reacting and defending herself, she’s engaging in hurtful arguments and wasting precious energy on negativity. What this person said about her in no way changes who she is on a deep level. It’s simply someone else’s perception and feelings being verbalized. Take that last sentence…it doesn’t sound as intimidating when we take the emotion out of it, does it?
If we stop reacting to negative outburst we take the power out of them.
I asked my friend “what would happen if you just didn’t react? If you didn’t defend yourself or give her any ammo to keep the argument going?”
“And acceptance is the answer to all my problems today. When I am disturbed, it is because I find some person, place, think, or situation – some fact of my life – unacceptable to me, and I can find no serenity until I accept that person, place, thing, or situation as being exactly the way it is supposed to be at this moment. Nothing, absolutely nothing, happens in God’s world by mistake.” – The Big Book p.417
And so is life. We deal with people who don’t accept us through accepting their lack of acceptance.
Not everyone is going to like everything about us and that’s ok. We’re unaffected by other peoples judgments by not judging. We don’t know what someone else is dealing with that’s creating their perception of us and, honestly, we don’t need to. A wise man once told me “Dawn, you shouldn’t be concerned with anything beyond your own nose.”
No one has the power to make us unhappy, hurt or feel disrespected. Eckhart Tolle reminds us “The primary cause of unhappiness is never the situation but your thoughts about it.” and that’s the truth. Our minds take a situation and label it. The situation is always neutral.
We need the universe to send us curveballs; it shows us how to grow.
When we accept every person place and thing we have emotional freedom. Every new experience is a lesson and every lesson is growth. Each twist stretches us to learn something new about ourselves, or simply teaches us to follow the guidance that’s being presented. Sometimes just listening and not defending is the lesson. All we have to do is embrace the situation and allow it to be. Life is so much less stressful when it’s not filled with drama. When we get upset we’re trying to control the situation and create our own desired outcome…causing more distress when we don’t get our way.
In conclusion, if someone doesn’t accept something about you it’s okay. Just accept it. What harm ever came in allowing someone else to have an opinion about you? It doesn’t mean you have to stand there and take verbal abuse and their opinion certainly doesn’t define you. If someone is hell bent on getting a reaction out of you politely remove yourself from the situation and let it go. Not reacting or defending yourself is far more empowering than you might think. Besides, what’s the point in making your point if it most likely won’t be heard anyway. Words only affects you if you allow them to.