Acceptance and Compassion
Acceptance and compassion in relationships are what air and water are for plants. They help us navigate through our differences with others smoothly; showing us how the same word can have different meanings; how the same color can have different shades; and how the same topic can have different perspectives. They give us peace.
When we change our perception and choose to suspend judgment, we become more capable of giving and expressing our acceptance and compassion for others.
We all have rules that govern how we behave.
However, sometimes we are not aware of their significance or impact on our life. It is important to become aware of our own rules because it is something that could be either part of our genes or it could be part of the environment that shaped us.
Either way, we do what we do and say what we say based on their significance for us. So unless we are aware of our rules and manage the emotions attached to them, we become slaves to their unconscious manipulation. It is easily said than done, especially with topics that we get emotional about.
Acceptance and compassion in relationships are what air and water are for plants.
Our brain works to protect us. We think we are rational, but research has proven that we are emotional beings, and acting on our rules gives us a sense of safety. Our brain is very smart in finding short cuts and easy ways, so it reverts to our rules – those things that it knows, and that feel safe to do.
When talking about “hot” topics with parents, many express varying emotions from simple irritations to feelings of disappointment or hurt.
Let’s look at how this impacts relationships.
During conversations, these emotions can turn into bursts of anger, with finger-pointing towards the other with a huge wave of judgment and blame. Accordingly, the other person becomes defensive and tries to find excuses or a way to turn the blame around. Long-term, these small fractures impact the relationship and become more difficult to repair.
This is why self awareness and development is really important: it helps stretch your brain’s muscles and nerve network the same way exercise does to your body. It will help you examine your rules; think and reflect upon them; and improve them.
You become more capable of understanding yourself, managing your emotions, and making appropriate choices. Your neurons will stretch, and like tree branches seeking out light, they will point out new ways of accepting yourself and your loved ones.
Parents explain: “it is really not their refusal of vegetables that worries me, it’s their health,” or “it is not the scattered toys that bother me, but their attitude and value towards tidiness as they grow up” or “I love to see everything in perfect order, and they don’t respect that.”
Acceptance does not mean that we let go of our value for health or cleanliness etc. It simply means understanding our value for something and the emotions attached to it, and managing these emotions during our conversations. It means putting aside our judgment about the other and our disagreement.
Instead, listen to understand the other’s point of view. Parents are amazed at how, during a “hot” topic demonstration in class, they find common grounds on which they can learn to be more accepting.
Here are some simple things to keep in mind that may help you manage your emotions when discussing “hot” topics:
Acknowledge that even identical twins are different. Each human being is unique in how they view the world and process its elements.
We don’t have to agree to be able to live peacefully together.
We don’t have to force our views on others Simply listen with an open mind and heart to understand and express interest in others’ thoughts and feelings. This sends an important message that you respect the other person’s view even if it’s different from yours. Not everything in life is either right or wrong.
Our life experiences shape our mind in a way that helps us filter the million things we see, so it will skip what it thinks is trivial. Sometimes character, circumstances, and needs make people look at a certain angle and stick to it. Showing respect for that (others’ views) releases chemicals that open a channel in the other person’s brain and helps him/her see other angles as well.
You don’t need to change someone to be able to live with them, you just need to understand them and accept the differences. An open conversation helps clarify differences when the intention is to understand rather than change the other.
A colorful painting is beautiful because of the skillful integration of its colors. Differences enrich creativity. Remember life is created for all of us to live in it together.
Find something that you genuinely like about the other person and say it in an encouraging way with a true attitude of acceptance, and with a smile.
There is abundant love and peace for everyone.
Remember to open up and express yourself to allow others to understand you.
You can only change yourself so always work on yourself, ask for feedback from the ones you engage with, and attend to what positive people talk about.