This month, we’ve been celebrating independence with a series of posts aimed at helping you free yourself from limiting thoughts, beliefs, and behaviors so that you can move forward with clarity while inviting more love, joy, and fun into your life. I know this might sound counterintuitive, but one of the best ways you can create and nurture a sense of freedom for yourself, is by learning how to accept others exactly as they are.
Loosen Your Grip
It’s very common to want our loved ones, kids, friends, siblings even strangers to say things or behave in ways that we find acceptable and pleasing. However, having those expectations often sets us up for disappointment. If you think about it, what we are saying with this expectancy is, “you have to act this way in order for me to feel ok”. No wonder many of us are upset and frustrated much of the time – with this belief we give our power away, reliant on others to create our state of being. What an emotional roller coaster!
Growing up in a family where my brother was the golden child I got into this habit, very early on, in regards to my mother’s behavior towards me. If she said something sharp or gave me the silent treatment, my entire mood would change and I’d either become quiet and hurt or angry and explosive. I desperately wanted her to treat me with the love and kindness she showed my brother. This created years of conflict.
One day, my mom was upset about something that she refused to discuss. After several frustrating attempts to get her to share what was wrong, I went outside to get some fresh air and cool down. All of a sudden I was inspired to pray with a specific question that came into my mind: What would love do?
It was like I’d gotten this immediate download from God. At that moment, I was able to see and feel what was happening for my mother emotionally; her hurts and disappointments in life. That shift allowed me to stop making it about me and my pain and move into a deep compassion for my mom that filled my heart and soul. When I walked back into the house, not only had this experience shifted me,it had changed her too. She opened up and told me what had been bothering her, and we were finally able to connect. This was the first time EVER and it was the beginning of a beautiful new relationship with my mom.
Tips for Becoming More Accepting of Others
As soon as I started accepting my mom for who she is, no matter what her behavior towards me, our relationship began to evolve. So, the next time you find yourself in that rigid place, working to change or fix another person, I encourage you to use the following tips:
- Take three big breaths. If someone says something that upsets you, take three big breaths before you respond. Breathing interrupts your reactive patterning and calms your central nervous system allowing you to become more neutral and peaceful. This is always a better place to come from when responding 🙂
- Give the other person the benefit of the doubt. Most of the time, when we find ourselves getting angry, it’s because we think something is happening to us, but it’s far more likely that whatever is going on, has nothing to do with you and everything to do with the other person. Try creating a scenario. Maybe that person just got fired, or they found out their child is sick. Imagine as many possible scenarios as you can that have nothing to do with you.
- Bless the other person silently. When you bless somebody, what you’re doing is sending them love, which has the power to dissipate anger energy and allow you to approach the other person with compassion. You don’t need to do this out loud, focus your mind on the blessing and send that loving energy in the other person’s direction.
Remember to ask yourself, “What would love do?” and know that by accepting your friends, partners, and family members exactly as they are, you’re not only freeing yourself from unnecessary stress, but you’re also offering them the opportunity to be authentic and vulnerable with you, which can only benefit your relationship over the long term.
Hi Sherri, I got up very early after having a very restless almost sleepless night and not feeling rested. There is a lot going on in my husbands family and he is the oldest and his mother relies on him, to keep things organized and her wishes followed. They just revised the will, she is only 98 and lives on her own. I guess I am frustrated as I feel I live in a loveless relationship, even though I know they love me in their own ways. When we were visiting yesterday it seemed everything I said they corrected or contradicted. I feel I must feel uneasy or unsecure around them at the same time. I said to myself I am not going to go there anymore or even not even bother to visit. I was going to look up “how to look submissive to my husband and mother in law”. I just read your article and LOVE and understanding does seem to be the best way. Sometimes a person just gets bogged down. Keep up the good work Sherri. Sincerely, MaryAnn – I found your sparkle pen the other day and just happen to be using it the past few days. It is an impressive pen!
I love reading your posts, Sherri.