As much as I speak on acceptance in my posts, I only recently realized that I should share some tools I learned that enabled me to understand the role of acceptance, and how to actively accept.
Now, if someone asked, "Do you accept yourself?", most of us would answer yes, immediately without hesitation and/or question. Same as if someone asked you if you loved yourself; the automatic response would be "Yes", however, while I understand acceptance is something we all think we are capable of doing without work, I learned the hard way that acceptance is unachievable without 100% effort.
True acceptance, whether trying to accept yourself or others, can not be achieved without active effort. The key in that is "active", because the effort never ends. We have to constantly and consciously make an effort to be accepting. And we have to remember that being accepted requires a level of humility that we should in turn bestow on others.
But many of us fail to understand that, because we can't identify the
similarities of the act of being accepted versus accepting ourselves.
So for most, because we do not yet accept ourselves, we are not able to accept others.
But which one should come first? Should we learn to accept ourselves in order to accept others? Or should we experience being accepted before we can accept ourselves?
Honestly, there's no right or wrong way to learn to be accepting, that's based on you as an individual and how you learn. But for me, I learned from being accepted, to accept myself, and not feel bad about that. So for me being accepted came first...
Imagine trying to take the only person you know, while trying to become comfortable with that very person, while being encouraged to change to be something that everyone else wants you to be, or into someone that makes others comfortable.
Doesn't seem fair right?
But we all battle with this. We all encounter someone, or individuals (typically family) that we value so much, we wouldn't even question changing who we are to make them feel better, or to make their lives easier.
I was always someone who was always wrong, someone who felt she was never understood and very direct/blunt and honest. I was often advised as a child to speak less, because being honest was perceived as not being "thoughtful". So I was taught early on that honestly wasn't always the best policy, when people's feelings were at stake.
Sounds funny now, but that forced me to become quiet, to retreat into myself. And so that I didn't go insane, I chose to find solace in writing. I knew that I wouldn't judge myself so I became the only person I saw fit to communicate with.
WHAT BEING ACCEPTED LOOKS LIKE
At about 25 or 26 years old, I remember having a conversation with a friend of mine, and being told some things/qualities about myself that were admired. But it wasn't until in that moment, that I'd realized someone, somewhere was really capable of appreciating the person that I was/am. I was elated that I was being complimented for the very things (possessed qualities) I was told I shouldn't do (or that I was encouraged to change).
That is the power of acceptance, knowing that you are loved, admired and praised for being you, without changing one thing. It's the thing we yearn for from our parents and partners. It's the thing that we need to give ourselves. But sometimes, we have to be accepted by someone else, to realize it's ok to accept ourselves.
In order to accept ourselves, however, there are certain truths we must face...
I. You aren't perfect!
II. You aren't always considerate.
III. You aren't always RIGHT!
I wish I had a penny for every person who could identify the deficits of others, but fail to acknowledged their own deficits, because even receiving only a penny, I'd probably still be rich!
It's so convenient, however, how we can easily attack someone when you want them to understand how they have wronged us, but when they challenge us with the same, it's perceived as an act of "blasphemy" that we would ever be capable of such a thing. We get defensive. We assume "they just don't understand us"! We refuse to continue to listen. And the conversation concludes...
LOOK it's easy to criticize someone else, but part of learning the power of acceptance, is acknowledging your faults and walking in that truth.
Sometimes you just have to say "I'm not perfect." and/or "I'm not always right." aloud to realize you still have growing to do.
THE ACTIVE EFFORT OF BEING ACCEPTABLE
You have to be committed to continual growth, to truly be able to accept that you are not perfect!
People understand that you are not perfect and that you are not considerate, nor are you always right. But, the people who love you, eventually learn to accept all those things not perfect about you. And often times, they accept it before you accept it about yourself.
So how do you continue to make an "active" effort to be accept and be accepted by others?
Again, we have to remember that being accepted requires a level of humility that we should in turn bestow on others. So I like to think about it like this, if you follow the "golden rule", you are making an active effort.
The most important thing to remember is that you always want to be accepted, so encourage yourself to be mindful of the fact that you have a responsibility to bestow that same courtesy to others.