Growing in Acceptance

We all have unique relationship needs—the distinct ways that we feel cared for and loved in relationships. In this article, we will learn how to give and receive acceptance.

ACCEPTANCE–What is it?

Acceptance means that someone likes you even though you're different from them. They don't try to change you or fix you. It's when someone loves you even when you mess up. They might even give you a second chance.

It sounds like, "I love you just the way you are! I'm glad I'm your friend even when you mess up."

The opposite of acceptance is: Rejection

Here's how to grow in ACCEPTANCE–Do it!

In order to become more accepting, we need to know and understand the unique aspects of acceptance, and then we must put them into practice.
Becoming more accepting includes five unique aspects.
  1. Going out of my way to welcome those whose physical appearance, lifestyle, and/or beliefs differ from my own

  2. When you're in a group of people, try to spot those who seem to be uneasy or alone and take steps to help them feel welcome.

  3. Look beyond people's faults and meeting their needs.

  4. Welcoming people not only when they are up but also when they are down.

  5. When others blow it, mess up, or offend, we are quick to forgive them.
Suggestions for practicing acceptance:
  • Personal relationships:
    • Recreate one of your first dates with you partner or fun times with a friend. While you are reminiscing, start the following conversation—make it fun!

      "Remember when we discovered how we were different in the way we _____?"

    • Schedule a night out to celebrate your differences.

  • Business relationships:
    • When there are disagreements between you and a team member, express these words of acceptance:

      "I want to let you know that I like working with you whether we agree or not, and I'm committed to working on our relationship."

    • As you read the sentence above, is there someone who came to your mind? Have an intentionally accepting conversation with that person in the next 24 hours.

    • When you have to address a person's performance that has been less than perfect you might begin your conversation with words like:

      "I've noticed that you are really great at…and we need you on our team." Then follow that with something along the lines of, "I'd like to see you grow in…and I'm committed to your success."

  • Parent-Child relationships:
    • Plan a family time to read The Sneetches by Dr. Seuss. Talk about the way each of you had felt left out or different, and how you tried to change in order to fit in. Be sure you share first! Reassure your kids that you love them just the way they are.

    • Talk about ways your family can be more welcoming and accepting of others.
  • Social relationships:
    • Intentionally look for the person who seems most uneasy, alone, or reluctant to participate and proactively include them.

    • Who needs to feel included?

  • In any relationship you want to deepen:
    • Ask, "What things do you wish people knew about you?"

Gratitude empowers you to give ACCEPTANCE!

We are motivated to accept others when we are grateful for how we have been accepted by others.

Reflect on a person in your life who frequently exhibits acceptance.
Who is the most accepting person you know? Is there a family member, colleague, fellow employee, or previous mentor who offers unconditional acceptance to others?

One of the most accepting people I know is _____.

I see this attribute in him/her when _____.

Now plan to communicate your gratitude to this person. Call, write, text, or visit this person and share your gratitude for what you have learned about acceptance from them.

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