You can be right, or you can be happy…, or so the saying goes. While there may be some truth in that adage, it’s not about being right. It doesn’t have to be an ‘either/or situation. In fact, if you’re looking for better relationships and better connections with your loved ones, it’s more about acceptance than being right. When you learn to accept yourself and accept others as they are, you’ll find it a lot easier to live the road better traveled!
It’s Not Me; It’s You
We’re human. It’s normal to believe what we believe, know what we know, and feel what we feel. It’s normal to believe that knowledge and those feelings are true and correct; otherwise, why would we even have them?
The thing is, it’s because we’re human that we are simply unable to be right all the time. If we’re honest, it’s hard to be right even half of the time, especially in this world where there are so many unique and individual values and belief systems. That’s where we lose connection–connection to ourselves and connection to others.
We wish others would be different–see things our way because it’s THE way, and if they did, we’d have more harmony. Actually, we’re often guilty of doing that even within ourselves–if we were just smarter/richer/thinner/kinder/etc.…then we’d be living better lives.
The problem occurs when we strive so much for ‘better’ or what we believe is the best/most correct idea on a topic; we become angry and find fault in our friends and loved ones. We find ourselves in situations where both people are defensive, and neither are genuinely heard or understood because we try to be right instead of finding acceptance. While the original intent of the interaction may have been to explain and be heard and accepted, it gets lost, and relationships suffer. No one is happy, and no one feels good.
Accepting Yourself Allows You To Accept Others
We’re a world full of ‘fixers,’ aren’t we? At least that’s the case for many of the women and men I meet along my journey as a forgiveness coach. We want the best lives for ourselves and for our loved ones, but for many of us, we feel we have to ‘fix’ things first. That usually starts inside. We believe that we need to fix ourselves for others to accept us. Like I said earlier…we want to be thinner or smarter or whatever the case may be, so that we feel like we’re putting out our best versions of ourselves to gain acceptance from others.
Authentic connection with others comes when we’re real. Genuine connection with others comes from a connection to ourselves–the pride in knowing we are kind, caring humans who live messy but beautiful lives. Fulfilling relationships happen when we prioritize self-care and focus on radical forgiveness of ourselves and others. People value relationships with those who are real–and to be real, you must accept yourself, warts and all. Forgive yourself for your past mistakes, and allow yourself to make new ones. Consider self-care not as a luxury but as a form of acceptance for who you are and who you deserve to be. When you do this, you’re allowing yourself to be fully open to deep and meaningful connections because you’ll know how to accept others.
Self Acceptance Allows Acceptance and Connection To Others
Being able to accept ourselves is where full acceptance of others starts. And when we’re able to accept others for who they are, we can travel the better road. We’re not constantly trying to fix the other person but instead choosing to let them be who they are.
The important thing to note is that accepting others does NOT mean that we have to agree with them, approve of them, downplay how their behavior has affected us, or waive our OWN rights to happiness and self-acceptance.
In truth, it’s vital that you know your values and create boundaries so you will always know what you will and will not tolerate–from yourself or from others. Having boundaries that support and protect you in relationships is appropriate, but it’s also essential to having an authentic connection with others. Sometimes, choosing to accept a person for who they really are–without trying to ‘fix’ them or ‘change them’ means that you walk away if having that relationship is contrary to your own well-being.
Hear me when I say this could make you very sad. It could also make you truly angry. It can also bring a peace you may not have expected because, at a deeper level, you’re just accepting people for who they really are. More importantly, you’re accepting yourself and what will allow you to travel the best road ahead.
Acceptance Challenge Accepted!
Are you struggling with relationships? With yourself, or others, or even one person in particular? If so, here’s an exercise you may want to try. It takes some bravery–you really need to be honest and look not only at the other person but deep inside of yourself too. Moreover, you need to accept the outcome of your investigation because you’ll actually be able to feel empowered and free when you do. Talk about PEACE!
Once you’ve examined the list, see where you can make changes in acceptance. Can you accept who the other person is, or are the things that bother you too much? You can accept who the other person is and grow together, or are they deal-breakers? Like I said, don’t shy from the deal-breakers. Not everyone in your life is for you, and if they’re impeding you from being on the road best traveled, accepting that as a fact is the first step to changing course.If you’d like to hear more about what acceptance means and the challenges of creating and maintaining it, check out this episode of The Conscious Coaching Hour!