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holding mala beadsI’m not a very accepting person naturally. (Did I just write that?)

But I’m really not.  It takes work and effort on my part to be accepting of situations, people, things, you name it.

I do my best to put in all the effort to be accepting because I believe that acceptance makes us better people.

And “better” people make better families, communities, cities, states, and nations.

So what am I talking about when I say acceptance?

I’m talking about three main areas.  1) Self acceptance, 2) Acceptance of others, and 3) Acceptance of situations.

1.How self acceptance makes us better.

More often than not we are our own worse enemies.  Yes that sounds cliché and it is.  But it’s TRUE.

How many times in your life have you come down on yourself so hard, while your friends and family tried to convince you that the situation wasn’t all that bad?

I’m a “recovering perfectionist” so I am all too familiar with that kind of situation.

But what if practicing self acceptance was a tool that will help us learn acceptance of others?

Think about it.

If you can allow yourself to fail, (and we ALL fail sometimes).

If you can allow yourself not to parent perfectly or be the perfect spouse or employee etc.  If you can accept yourself for who and what you are RIGHT NOW, with the understanding that you will grow and mature and get better in time, wouldn’t you be more compassionate towards others who have weaknesses too?

In other words, if you can accept your own weaknesses and shortcomings graciously then you are more able to accept others with the same grace.

In short, self acceptance leads us to be more accepting of others.

2.How acceptance of others makes us better.

Let’s start close to home.  Many of us take issue (or have taken issue at some point) with who and what our family members are.

I know I have.

My childhood was certainly not the “traditional” Cosby Show family upbringing.  I had a single mom that worked full time.  A father whom I saw only on occasion and a brother who had his own life.

For many years I prayed and wished on stars that my family was “normal”.  That it was the ideal family that I thought they should be.

But as I grew and matured I realized something very significant.

Although my family was not who I wanted them to be, they were exactly what I needed them to be at that time.

Long and short of it, EVERYONE you meet contributes something to your life.

Every person has valuable teachings that you can draw from.

Admittedly those lessons don’t always come packaged in the pretty box we had hoped.

But I am certain that I would not be THIS woman had it not been for exactly who my family was at that time.

Accepting others reminds us to see the value in all people.  To be a witness to the Divine purpose of us all.

3.How acceptance of situations make us better.

So what about people who have been in abusive relationships or have experienced a death of a loved one that seemed unfair or untimely?

The situations of our lives can turn our world up-side-down.

I’ve had two people in my life who have just “up and died” who I thought would be around for much longer.

I could grieve.  I could be angry.  I actually was angry at myself for a while after my father passed away unexpectedly.

But that is life.

Through accepting the situation surrounding my dad’s death for exactly what it was, I learned how to rely on the Divine.

As the Law/Principle/Cause of all things, The Divine’s reach is not limited to human bodies.

It manifests itself in the situations of our lives NOT just the people in our lives.

So if this is true, then every situation, no matter how painful, is a “God send”.  I don’t mean that “bad” situations are sent by God to torture us.

What I am saying is that we can learn (and we do learn) and grow through painful experiences. In the pain of losing my dad I learned some valuable lessons.

I learned forgiveness. Sure it was a sucky way to learn that lesson. But maybe that’s the way I NEEDED to learn it. And I accept that.

In short, acceptance of situations reminds us to rely on a Source higher than ourselves.

How has acceptance made you better?