Acceptance - when a person agrees to experience a situation, to follow a process or condition without attempting to change it, protest, or exit.
For many of us, acceptance can be a challenging concept. It means relinquishing control over a belief or an idea we have and allowing a situation or a person to simply exist as they are without attempting to change them and to sit without judgment.
We are complicated creatures and all of us crave acceptance from loved ones and peers. Within this sphere of acceptance, we feel safe to explore ourselves, to try new things, to realize truths...
Most importantly, true acceptance means giving someone permission to fail without fear of retribution or ridicule. It is only through failure that we are able to become our most authentic selves.
So, what is radical acceptance and how do we implement it in our lives?
For Caya, radical acceptance is one of our core tenants.
To us, it means trusting each individual to know what's best for them. It means welcoming failure with open arms and providing support as people try, try, and try again. It means acknowledging the wisdom that lives within all of us and nurturing the potential each of us has in our hearts.
We understand that to be accepted exactly as you are now, imperfections and all, leads to liberation and empowerment. When someone feels "seen", they gain a sense of importance and confidence which leads to innovation, adventure, a bold willingness to seek truth and joy...and this kind of positivity reaps immense benefits.
Here are a few things to consider if you'd like to practice radical acceptance within your community and relationships:
- Give people a chance to talk and really, truly, actively listen. Take in their words, soak in their tone, study their body language, listen for things going unsaid, and breathe in what they're sharing with you. Don't start preparing for what you're going to say in response, don't let your mind wander to your grocery list or make mental notes about things you don't want to forget to say...these are all symptoms of NOT listening and don't convey a feeling of safety.
- Welcome new ideas instead of challenging others to acknowledge that you're right. Encourage dialog. Share something about yourself that leaves you vulnerable to inspire confidence in others to do the same. You'll be surprised at the beauty you find.
- Leave judgment at the door. It's okay to disagree or have completely different outlooks on life. By giving someone the freedom to express themselves without fear of attack, you give them permission to explore and dig a little deeper. You might just help them uncover a new truth or idea!
- Love without expecting anything in return. Love isn't about what you get. It's about what you give and how you give it. Simply love people for where they are (however flawed) and they will enjoy spending time with you because they feel nurtured and cared for. They'll feel safe.
- Instead of hoping for change and pushing for self-improvement, focus on self-awareness and lending a kind ear as people peel back the layers to discover what's inside their hearts. Their journey might just spark something within you.
- When someone rejects you for any reason (not everyone is ready for acceptance, kindness, or love without strings attached), don't take it personally. Remember that you can only control your reaction to a situation and you can never control anyone else. As long as you remain genuine, authentic, and kind, life with always find a way to shower you with blessings. Life isn't a competition. It's a journey that we share together.
What other things might we do to inspire acceptance and safety within our relationships and community?
This past weekend was the annual Washington, DC Capital Gay Pride celebration. At the Pride Parade, I had the immense pleasure of seeing PFLAG (Parents, Family & Friends of Lesbians and Gays) come through.
If you want to talk about radical acceptance, this is a perfect example of where to find it. In the face of discrimination, these people shout their love from the rooftops. Pure inspiration.
Imagine how much more balanced and kind all of us would be if our parents and friends marched in a parade declaring their love and acceptance for our differences?
Wouldn't it be a beautiful world indeed?