The Power of Acceptance: A Guide to Minimizing Frustration

Written by Scott July 9, 2010

Accepting Others

“Acceptance is such an important commodity, some have called it the first law of personal growth.”

-Peter McWilliams

Written by: Scott Dinsmore

Average Reading Time: 3.5 minutes

When was the last time your were frustrated by someone around you?

Maybe they’re always late, can’t seem to follow through, missed another deadline, or perhaps you just don’t see eye to eye.

It doesn’t make a difference what it is. The possibilities are endless and we all have a long list. By nature we expect life to just be the way we want it to be. When it’s not, we don’t like it.

Many of us choose to carry this frustration around day to day.

We quickly forget that it is indeed a choice to feel this way.

I am no different. I have carried around a list of expectations turned frustrations for years. With all kinds of people in my life, even those closest to me. Often they are little things, and occasionally big ones. It doesn’t matter. Either way, we seem to have a knack for letting the uncontrollable get to us.

But what’s the point?

These are amazing people. There is nothing wrong with them. It’s actually just the opposite. They are simply being who they are. And that’s why I love them.

It is ok that people don’t approach life exactly like you or I do. That’s what makes it fun!

Life is too short to choose frustration over acceptance.

If you do what you’ve always done, you’ll get what you’ve always gotten. I have always hoped for these little things to be different and I’ve gotten frustration as a result (And I’m sure others have felt the same of me). I’m tired of getting the same outcome, so I think it’s time to change my approach. Why not just accept?

In dealing with others’ actions, we have 3 options:

1. Cut them out of our life. This may work for some of your fringe relationships but not with the people who make your life what it is. If you have some that should be cut out, then by all means cut away. If you realize this is someone who is just too misaligned with you, then you likely don’t have any room for them. But for all the other people we really care about, this option is pretty unrealistic.

2. Be frustrated. This is what many people choose. We get aggravated every time it happens. We let it affect our days and sometimes even the interactions we have with others. You must ask yourself, how much does this really help me or anyone around me?

3. Accept them for who they are and embrace it. This is where we stand to grow. With a simple choice we can add tremendous value to ourselves as well as the world around us. Think of how much simpler and more enjoyable your life would be if you let these little things roll off your back.

“Acceptance is the true thing everyone longs for. The one thing everyone craves. To walk in a room and to be greeted by everyone with hugs and smiles. And in that passing moment, you truly know you’re loved, needed, and accepted.” –Rena Harmon

The only empowering choice is to accept.

Be honest with yourself. Do you really think that after all these years that person is going to change? Who knows. If it’s important enough to them then maybe, but I certainly wouldn’t bet your happiness on it.

I have a firm belief that we can do whatever we want, as long as what we decide is in line with who we really are. That is our own decision. Working on improving and changing yourself to be a better person is one thing (and something I wholly encourage).

But spending energy on expecting someone around you to change (especially if they have no desire to) is unrealistic. And what’s even more ridiculous is being frustrated when your expectations aren’t met.

Why accept others as they are?

Life is too short for frustration. There are plenty of uncontrollable aggravations in life. Acceptance allows you to control what you can.

You are forced to find the good in others. These people are in your life for a reason. You love and cherish them. It’s easy to forget how amazing they are when you’re bathing in negative feelings. Take time to remember what’s great about them.

It creates realistic expectations of others. Expect they will continue to act as they do. Then you’ll be pleasantly surprised anytime something different happens.

You likely do things that are just as frustrating. As sure as someone does something that bothers you, you do something that bothers them. None of us are perfect. Be accepting of others and they will be accepting of you.

It strengthens your relationships. The pent-up aggression will disappear as you start to focus on the best those around you have to offer. In holding nothing back, you will likely grow closer.

It might even cause a change. Sometimes taking the focus off someone’s less-desirable traits raises their standard of themselves and whatever they previously did may disappear. Do not expect this nor accept others just for the hope of it happening. The only way you and those around you will enjoy acceptance is if it’s genuine. There is no hiding this. Either your heart’s behind your intentions or it’s not. The world will notice.

Acceptance starts with yourself.

As you begin to more consciously accept others, realize that acceptance starts with you. Self-acceptance is often the first step in realizing life needs to be different. If you’re in a sales job but you don’t feel you’re meant to be a salesman, then do something about it. Accept yourself for the wonderful things you are and all the things you aren’t, and take action to spend your time in a way that’s more in line with who you are. The world will be a better place as a result.

Acceptance means settling for the best life has to offer.

It’s easy to think, in a world of “don’t settle for less than you can be”, that deciding to accept life and those around you is settling for less. It could not be further from the truth. Accepting is the first step in empowering yourself and others to live life on a much clearer and extraordinary level.

There is no settling in allowing yourself to unconditionally accept and appreciate the people in your life, including yourself. It’s likely the greatest gift you could give.

It is of course easier said than done. The journey of acceptance is one that, no matter when it’s started, will last the rest of your life. I think it’s time to begin.

We can go through each day choosing one of two things: acceptance or frustration. Given that you have the choice, isn’t it a pretty easy one to make?

“Truly loving another means letting go of all expectations. It means full acceptance, even celebration of another’s personhood.” –Karen Casey

What are some things you could accept of others that would allow both of you to live life on a higher level? Share in the comments section below.

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Photo courtesy of seanmcgrath
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