If you can accept something you can celebrate it.
Who among us hasn’t had to interact with a jerk at some point?
A common “virtue” is to accept that person for who he or she is. People aspire to accept what they can’t change and expect frustration, disappointment, impatience, and related emotions to yield to acceptance with enough understanding.
While acceptance isn’t necessarily bad, it isn’t that great either. I’ve come to view it as a sign of complacency — that with more work I can improve my life, but I’m not there yet. To accept something says you don’t like it. If what you are accepting is, say, a person or their behavior, it shouldn’t be hard to realize they don’t merely “accept” themselves. They probably love themselves, as much as anyone loves him or herself, and think their behavior is great. They may have to force themselves just to accept you, whom you appreciate or even love.
I’ve come to see acceptance as a sign of provincial inability to see things from another’s point of view, and concluding therefore one’s view is right. No matter how “unacceptable” you find someone else, they think they are terrific. No matter how terrific you think you are, there is a perspective from which you are a jerk and someone would have to work to accept you.
Who are you to say they were “unacceptable” or that you are virtuous for accepting them?
Much better, in my experience, is to realize the shortcoming of your inability to see their perspective. After all, your judgment of what’s acceptable or not could only make your own life worse — hardly a virtue! To go from frustration or whatever related emotion to acceptance is only a good start. Anything you can accept you can appreciate, though you may have to look at it from such a different perspective it doesn’t seem like the same thing anymore (now that’s a skill!). Anything you can appreciate you can celebrate.
If anyone anywhere can celebrate something, you can too, and your life is better for it.
Learn to make Meaningful Connections
with a simple, effective exercise from my book, Leadership Step by Step.
- Step by step instructions
- Video examples of me and Marshall Goldsmith
- An excerpt from my book