Accepting People Just the Way They Are

December 26, 2016

Are you capable of accepting people for who they are? Or do you frequently experience anger, resentment, jealousy and other negative feelings towards people who don’t behave the way you want them to?

These negative games reflect manipulative dynamics which contribute to stress, conflict, and definitely to hurting other people’s feelings.

Accepting people’s differences

We are all truly unique, as much in our perspectives about life as in our attitudes, feelings and experiences. There has never been an exact duplicate of you and there never will be. You’re irreplaceable; there’s no one else like you in the entire world. Are you aware of that?

It’s precisely our differences and personal characteristics that make life interesting and challenging. Interacting with people who see life differently is what makes relationships even richer.

What’s regrettable is that, when incorrectly dealt with, these differences can frequently lead to unresolved conflict, stress and disappointment.

We must accept people’s individuality, even though it’s certainly easier said that done. 

When it comes to couple’s relationships, for example, we create an idea of how our “other half” should be and how they should act according to our standards, and we expect them to do as much. Of course, however, this isn’t going to happen and problems will arise each and every time we develop these rigid expectations.

We can’t blame others for not being the way we hoped they would be. The purpose behind having a couple’s relationship or a friendship is to have a good time and achieve mutual enrichment; not to change anyone.

We’re never going to like everything

We must ask ourselves: is the other person’s behavior, which we don’t approve of, incorrect, or is it simply that we would have done it differently?

When we fail to establish this difference, we end up feeling disappointed and frustrated with others. We shouldn’t insist that other people act, think or work the way we do, because that attitude is going to cause problems every time.

When we’re constantly watching what other people are doing, we lose the opportunity to enjoy the present with them.

What should we do if we think someone’s behavior is undesirable?

At this point, it’s no longer about accepting people the way they are, but about a behavior that you don’t accept, based on your own code of conduct. In these cases, it’s important to talk about the subject and discuss the person’s attitude with them, directly.

Your approach is very important when it comes to asking someone to change, because we can throw it all away and achieve exactly the opposite of what we were hoping for.

Nobody changes just like that, simply because they are now aware your desires; that’s not how it works. And if that’s what you expect to happen, then you’re just going to get more irritated every day, until one day you simply “explode.”

It’s much more productive and effective to talk with the other person about what’s bothering you, explain how it affects you and how it makes you feel. This way the other person doesn’t feel insulted or attacked, and it’s more likely that they’ll change their attitude.

In a similar way, we must be open to feedback from other people when we are suggested they change something, with the end goal of getting along better and more comfortably.

Who do you want to change? If the list is  long, maybe it’s time that you reflect on this subject. It probably means that you have a lot of work to do on yourself before you’ll be able to find true happiness.

Image courtesy of Jeremy Blanchard