How to accept others just as they are?

I want to base this topic on the phrase that says: "the more you need someone to change to accept them as they are, the more you need to explore inside yourself to see what is missing." That phrase was a sudden impulse that I had and shared on my social media. After that, I received several questions about it in private messages from people wanting to understand more what I meant by that and how to achieve it.


I want to confess that this issue touches me personally. In the past, I used to have problems accepting my partners and my mother as well, since I considered that they acted in ways that I could not understand and that they were therefore wrong. For example, I used to think that the fact that my mother worried that I was not as organized as she wanted, made her strict, annoying and it bothered me greatly. It also irritated me that she cared about me when I became a vegetarian, or when I broke up with a girlfriend, which usually also came because of acceptance issues on my part. I explained to my mother why it didn’t serve her to worry about me, why telling me how to live was not going to make me do what she wanted, why her happiness could not depend on me, but they were all efforts in vain. It wasn't until I intuitively stopped struggling to change her that I learned the value of acceptance. It was almost like letting go of a branch I was clinging to while a river current tried to carry me away. By releasing the branch and fully letting go, I felt an incredible peace. So, I accepted that she is like that, and I began to appreciate her with all her characteristics. Now we have a much closer relationship with much affection and respect. If I had known the information that I will give you below, my path of acceptance I think it would have been much shorter and easier.


Let's lay the foundations of the acceptance discussion with the teachings of the author of the book "The Work" by Katie Byron, who talks about 3 "businesses": my business, your business, and God's business. My business is all those things that I can change, that concern me and affect me directly, that are under my responsibility, and over which only I have any authority. Your business is yours, that has nothing to do with me, that only you can change, and for which only you are responsible and have authority. Finally, God's businesses are all those matters that are neither in my hands nor in the hands of others but are matters of force majeure, such as earthquakes, pandemics, accidents, catastrophes, economic crises, political situations, etc. The vast majority of the internal chaos that we get to experience in our lives comes from getting out of our own business and getting into someone else's or God's business. When we leave our business, who is left with us? That is why we feel sadness, loneliness, we feel misunderstood, and this generates tension, stress, anxiety, and frustration.


Trying to change someone else, analogically, is like trying to make a dog meow or a cat bark. People are as they are, and situations are as they are as well. If someone wants to change something, they will do it because they want to, period. If it is something that is hurting that person, we can be, through our example and our presence, that environment, that garden where others can change. But if we need that change to be happy or comfortable, that speaks about us and that is the only place where we can work. For example, if something in another person bothers us a lot, this usually indicates that it may be something that we want to change in ourselves, or something that we are repressing, or something that bothers us that we sometimes tend to do and that therefore irritates us to see it in others, etc. In short, something that we reject because we associate a negative meaning to it, learned at some point in our life, and that goes against the way we believe it is correct to live.


Our matter is based on our reality. Thus, whatever expectations we have, they are based on trying to force the reality of others to adjust to our reality. In this way, any defect that we see in others or in the world comes about because we try to make something that is beyond our control adhere to our standards. Standards that in the end were learned from someone else. They are characteristics or ideas that we interpret as adequate and which at some point we appropriate, forming part of our earthly identity.


If we put aside preferences, standards, and learned ideas, a defect is nothing more than a characteristic. It is what it is. Judging that characteristic, either as good or bad, is then what causes internal chaos. If we judge it as adequate, we will judge the opposite as inappropriate, falling into the same trap. And if we judge it as inadequate, we directly fall into the game of resisting what it is. Resistance that returns us to stress and the constant struggle against reality.


Every time we say that someone should be like this, or that a situation should be one way, we are trying to change something mentally, resisting it, and doing nothing about it other than getting angry. Many say that anger is usually the motivator for change, but who says that we cannot achieve the same or much more if we start simply by accepting things as they are? We would avoid that anger that only harms us, and that is not sustainable in the long term.


Thus, acceptance comes to give us back the power over ourselves, the only place where we have true responsibility and any authority. And if there is any reason to implement a change, we can discuss it with the person involved calmly and objectively, e.g .: "This is the situation, these are the damages, what can we do to improve it?" instead of: "because of you I am suffering, etc ...", which entails reproach and unnecessary drama.


I want to illustrate this topic and a fairly practical solution through the inquiry method of the 4 questions by Katie Byron, which I find very successful and useful to help not only realize that all acceptance problems come from something of oneself, but also that the root of the stress comes from believing a thought that is not more than a lie. Before using inquiry, we need one sentence that we can work with. Preferably we look for something from someone else that we find difficult to accept, of the type: it bothers me that ______ does or does not do _____such a thing. Or such a person should do such a thing. Then use the four questions and the final turnaround.


Let's try the phrase: "my mother shouldn't be so exaggerated with cleaning."


1) Is that true?

For me, initially, it is true that she should not be so exaggerated.


It is important to see that many times the phrase is simply something that we interpret or assume about the other person, and what bothers us is not really that. If we look inside, in the silence, we can get closer to reality.


2) Can you be absolutely sure that this is true?

It is recommended here to close your eyes and explore if that is truly true for us.


As I close my eyes, and search for the answers in the calm within me, I realize that it is not true. Why? Because, in my opinion, my mother is over the top with cleanliness. By saying that she shouldn't be like that, I am going against reality, that is, I am living a lie. Therefore, it is not true! The only thing that is true is what is real, and it is those lies that cause us so much suffering, because they force us to force reality to adjust to our own.


3) How do you feel when you believe that thought?


I feel upset, irritated, frustrated, and I walk away from her when I see that she is not how I want her to be.


With this question we try to direct attention to the fact that it is believing the thought itself that causes us discomfort, and not what a person happens or does.


4) Who would you be without that thought?

Let's take for example that I am in a situation with my mother in front, in which she is upset because something is not clean. Without the thought that she should be less strict with cleanliness, he would simply see her as she is, someone who likes cleanliness, and who is annoyed that everything is not clean. I would love her as she is, including that characteristic, which is part of her right now. He would be calm, with peace, and he would even smile when he saw that she was just like that. It's her business.


Turnaround


The turnaround consists of changing the pronouns of the original sentence, or changing the affirmations for negations and vice versa, to discover something that is as true or more true than the original sentence. You can look for a few examples that will make you see that this is true. The turnaround in my case would be:


a) "my mother should be exaggerated with cleaning": it is truer than the original phrase, because she is simply like that.


b) "I should be exaggerated with the cleanliness": it is also truer than the original phrase. While the word exaggerated tends to be confusing, the direction of the phrase is that I should put more focus on cleanliness, which is true. By bothering my mother for being so careful about cleanliness, I am partly annoyed at myself for putting so little importance on it.


I am willing to ...


Finally, you can search for a phrase in which you confirm that you are willing to face that situation again. Let's see the example:


"I'm willing to see my mother being over the top with cleaning."


In this way, you are saying yes to life, yes to what it is, with that new peace that you have found when you realize that your stress came from resisting reality. Even if you want to change something at that moment, you can do it without the reproach and anger that would come with doing it from the perspective that the other person is to blame and that person is wrong. Resolution, cooperation, and harmony are then made much easier!


I hope this information has served you. You can see more about this method of inquiry on The Work website. And if you want help accepting someone, you can write to my email javier.penalba@transmuteyourself.com and we can discuss how I can support you with life coaching services.


See you soon!


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