I remember sitting in a restaurant one afternoon and happened to overhear a conversation going on at the next table. One woman was telling another, “I really don’t care what people think of me, or if they even like me”. She definitely had a tone that carried an attitude with the statement. I smiled to myself at that moment because I knew that I had thought, and even said, the very same thing at one time or another. Usually we say this when there is some sense of lack of acceptance or scorn as to what we do or have done.
Bitterness aside, we tend to lie to ourselves when we make a statement like this. We all know that a basic human need is to be accepted, and it is totally alright to admit we have this as a need in life. Acceptance tends to be blended in with how we feel we are loved and looked upon by others. Our lives were never intended to be lived as an island without those who love, accept, and care for us. In fact to be without the acceptance and love from people we are basically dead or dying from the inside out.
We all like to know that we have value placed upon us by others. We should know we have tremendous value placed upon us and within us by God. We all need a reminder that acceptance is a gift both to receive and to give. We totally cause people to live when we give them unconditional acceptance in life.
The biggest deterrent to acceptance is judgement. (Something none of us are truly qualified to do). We tend to judge quite often, though. It is easy to do when we are filled with so many different opinions, ideas, and beliefs. Sometimes we forget that we can reject an action or belief and still accept the person. I’m inclined to believe this is the high road to take. I know it can be easier said than done. A person is a being of many facets and an accumulation of many life experiences. Surely there can be one or even two things one can like or accept about most people. This does not mean we keep the door open wide for each individual to share our more personal life. Discernment in whom we completely relate to as friends and loved ones can go a long way. Still, this does not keep us from showing all others that they are accepted for their strengths and things that we aspire to as well. We tend to attract to us those we are most like anyway.
It is easier to accept the lives of others when we examine our own need for the same thing. As the Bible says, we really should “do unto others as we would want done to ourselves”. It is always nice to have someone in life who will counteract the lie when we say we don’t care what others think of us or say about us. We really really do care. Maybe as a gift to our empowerment process as women, and as people, we need to think of someone everyday and tell them how accepted they are and for what reasons. Complimenting a person’s attributes can be a very empowering thing.
Can I give you the challenge right now to accept something you like about someone whom you tend to not think highly of? Take a moment, close your eyes, think of that person. Tell yourself, “Instead of judging this person for what I don’t like about them, I am going to accept the great things that I do like about them”. I’m willing to bet your attitude will change about them. Again, this does not mean you need to let someone into your life who will come in and just wreak havoc. I have had to let people go in my life who do this sort of thing. Life comes with enough drama to invite more. Living in chaos is not worth the ride.
But, acceptance in the heart can go a long way in helping us all be a little kinder to one another and to judge less. Do you agree? In the mean time, pray about that times you say that you really don’t care what others think of you and what that really means. You probably need some sort of healing for a wound, or there can be something you are not accepting about yourself!
Rev Jenine Marie Howry
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