acceptanceI have come to realize lately that I have a wonderful group of friends.  I should rephrase that – I have always known they are wonderful, but I just have begun to realize what is so special about the way we treat each other.  And I’ve figured out that, despite our differences, we all do one thing the same – we let each person be themselves, and accept one another as we are, even though, in many ways, we are very different.

We forgive each others flaws with shrugs and smiles.  You know her, we say, that’s just how she is.  I don’t mean we allow one another to be rude, or mistreat each other.  I’m not talking about accepting truly disrespectful or dangerous behavior; that’s a very different story.  But the small things our loved ones do that, over time, begin to irk us – well, sometimes it’s better to just shrug and smile.

I have plenty of little irksome qualities I can list.  I’m usually running late, for instance, and I’m incredibly absent minded.  Yes, my friends would say.  That’s just you.  I generally need to ask what’s appropriate to wear before dressing for big events, such as showers and weddings.  Yes, my friends would say, no doubt smiling and remembering some previous outfits I’ve sported, that’s just you.  Everything I’ve baked since I’ve had children has been made with whole wheat flour and half the sugar it actually needs. Yes, my friends would nod, that’s just you.  And no thanks, we don’t want any muffins.

Acceptance Of Others

When my friends accept me for who I am – an unpunctual daydreamer with little fashion sense or baking skills – they also help me to realize that I am more than just that.  We are all so, so much more than just our faults, and focusing on or picking on someone for the little quirks in their personality not only brings them down, it brings us down.

When we forgive and accept these things, we allow the best attributes of our loved ones to shine through.   Sometimes even the bad habits that annoy us can be looked at in a different light.

My husband constantly hangs his jackets and sweatshirts on the nearest available projection – chair backs, sofa arms, table corners, light fixtures (I’m not kidding) – anywhere but the closet.  He remembers to try if I remind him and for a few days, his things will be hung up on hooks or hangers.  It must be ingrained in him, though, that his shirts belong slung from the corner of the bookshelf, and pretty soon that’s where they return.  And yet, if he were no longer around to do that, I would miss his odd habit tremendously, and probably think of how silly I was to be so hung up on having his things neatly put away.  It is a kind of a gift we give someone, to love and accept them, warts and all.  And, in turn, it ends up being a gift to ourselves as well.

Acceptance Of Ourselves

When we accept the people we love for the little things they do that bug us, we allow more love into our lives.  When we accept ourselves for the little things we do that bug others, we allow ourselves to not only be human, but to work on these things as well.

When we are scolded or reproofed for our faults, we tend to become defensive or flippant about them.  When we are loved anyway, we feel more empowered to recognize that it’s okay to have faults.  It is easier to work on changing or improving bad habits when we understand that everyone has them and that we have love and support regardless.   I want to work on being on time – it’s respectful to not keep people waiting – and I think my chances of changing this bad habit are greater because I know I’m loved and accepted either way.

And when we offer love and support to others, they can feel comfortable working on whatever they want to improve as well.  And if they never change, that’s okay too – there will have been understanding and love along the way.  Love, and lots of sweatshirts hanging from my lamps.

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