How often have we heard through various discourses, practices, books, people that we should Accept People As They Are and For What They Are?
Let us pause for a moment and think what this really is – Does it mean we should accept actions without a reaction? Does it mean that we should just move on without asking questions? Does it mean that we just accept certain situations with the person(s) in questions and not accept the ones that are deemed unacceptable (either because of society or our own value/belief/thought system or boundaries)?
What happens if in a course of a day, you just feel like narrating the sequence of events (that are bothering you) to somebody, somebody who claims to be your friend and is always ready to listen? What happens if that person thinks that you are justifying yourself/your actions? What happens if that person thinks that you are being whiny….when you are, in reality, scared as hell, unsure about how things might pan out?
The reason I ask these questions is because I have been asking the same questions to myself without any answers. What happens if someone tells you that they have accepted you for who you are and will love you for who you are but some of your action(s) or word(s) irk them? What happens if that person judged you based on what you opened up and throws it back at your face the next day with a statement that goes along these lines – just by putting positive quotes or images (image in question below) on social media sites, you don’t become positive , you are one of the most -ve, immature and unsuccessful people that I have met and you should do some introspection and try exuding positive energy.
- Was I angry after this statement? NO.
- Did I care about whether I was (a) successful/unsuccessful or (b) -ve/+ve or (c) mature/immature? Not really, as I have a fairly good idea of what I am.
- Was i hurt by this statement?To a certain extent.
- Did I feel betrayed after the things I shared in confidence were thrown back at me? HELL YES!
- Will i ever be able to open up and trust w/o ever having that “when is this going to get thrown back at me” feeling? I really DONT KNOW.
Wikipedia defines Introspection as the self-examination of one’s conscious thoughts and feelings. So when does a person become introspective, rather, what triggers introspection? I do it from time to time and that usually coincides with some significant happening in my life, be it good or bad.
So where is the introspection portion of this post, you ask – here’s where it comes: I know i am not perfect, in fact I am far from it but I don’t make it my business to capture a fault list of people (u really have to see in my mind to actually know what I am thinking about all the time – I am very selfish that way 🙂 i am usually thinking about what to make for the next meal, how will my career shape up esp. with all these major changes that i have made, what do i need to prepare for the kid’s misc activities and most importantly how to work on improving my health, that does not seem to get better, not matter what I do or why i am in pain all the time). I don’t judge people based on their looks, dresses, money, career, lifestyle, their health or if they are from a dual income or single income family (believe me, I have been judged based on all the above). It really doesn’t matter to me as it is your life.
But when you are critical about my health, why i am not getting better (esp. if it exceeds the time period that you hv in ur mind), why i look a certain way, why I color my hair, why i go into a shell when i am hurt or why I am doing the work that I am doing (I know it is in an unrelated field when i am trained to be an urban planner and designer, but I like what I am doing), it does affect me cos I have put my trust in you, the trust that you are a good friend to me. It just shows that (1) you have not listened to a word of what i told you, (2) you are not even trying to make an effort to understand me (esp. since you had asked me what is wrong with my health/mood) and finally (3) you are trying to stereotype me.
All of us have a belief system or have been wired to interpreting/fitting people into boxes based on their actions/words because we are used to that system and societal norms(and we are creatures that get comfortable with routine/ritual/familiar actions or words). Does that mean there is no other interpretation? Does it mean that another approach is wrong or there needs to be some kind of explanation offered? Best part is when we don’t fit in any of these said boxes, we are automatically labeled as a ‘Rebel.’ Why?
So where is the concept of Accepting people as they are? This might come off as going off track but don’t the differences in our actions/words/thoughts make us unique? Don’t they make us the individuals that we are supposed to be?What is the point in even fitting in with everything or with everybody? If everybody has the same way of talking/writing/singing/doing whatever-else-that-might-come-into-your mind, won’t we all be manufactured robots or dolls?
I understand that following/trying to follow the teachings of a leader might open up our mind and make our thought process clear but they don’t necessarily make us any different than the person who has not undergone that experience. Maybe we apply the things that we have learned to some situations but sometimes we don’t because we are too emotionally attached or maybe our perception or perspective is different.
I think that is what we should accept. Instead of accepting people as they are, we should accept that perceptions & perspectives to life and situations will be different and we should accept those differences and not fit people into square or circle (metaphorically speaking) boxes.
To quote an article in TOI by Speaking Tree :
In our relationship with God, the basic question is: “Who am I in the eyes of God?” I am after all, his precious creation, fashioned and designed to be nothing and nobody else but me. When others are judgmental, unforgiving and unkind, God is still smiling on me. If God is for us, who can be against us? Therefore, go ahead, tell the whole world who you really are~ Janina Gomes.