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If you look up the word acceptance in the dictionary it is actually a very broad term. It could simple be used in terms of “acceptance of a gift”, “acceptance of a person”, or the one I liked was the “acceptance of truth.” Recently, I was listening to a person speak about love and replacing the word love with forgiveness. His argument was that if you truly expressed forgiveness, than you are a loving person. I found that to be a bit broad of a definition because often in order to forgive, there needs to be some sign of remorse. The more I thought about this concept, I started to lean on the idea that acceptance was a better word for me. I felt that if I could accept a person for whom they are, than it would be easier for me to forgive, and thus love. Actually, if we think about it, life can become much clearer if we practice the art or ability to accept. Often our efforts tend to lie in trying to be more controlling than to be accepting. It could be a situation in our life, a person in our life, or it actually could be just ourselves.

I was thinking on all of the present and past relationships in my life and how I would apply the word acceptance. We all have had trouble with relationships and wondering why people act a certain way towards us. I think sometimes we over think the actions other than understanding where they are coming from, or how their past experiences have molded them. Stephen Covey would use the phrase “seek to understand, before trying to be understood.” In other words, accept the person for where they are, before you feel you should be influencing them to be what you perceive is correct. In a bad situation, this would be a big step towards forgiveness if you can understand the person better. Because in reality, we are who we are and you really can’t change people.

The other arena that the term acceptance is important would be situational. Again, it comes down to trying to be too controlling verses understanding of what is happening. I find this so true in my practice life when my patients have some sort of moderate to severe dental issue. Until they accept what is wrong and “take ownership” of the situation, there is very little that I can do to help them. Often, the worst thing you could do is to try to fix a bad situation without the patient having ownership of the problem, because if things go astray, it becomes your fault. I think this is a huge problem in society today. People have trouble or are unwilling to be accepting their life’s problems or situations and try to blame everyone else. Acceptance of who you are, your personal situation, and how those around us are influencing you is a major key in moving forward.

So as we can see, acceptance is a very important concept in relationships that come and go in our lives, the situations surrounding us in the macro sense and the situations we are in on a daily basis. If you can accept where things are presently, then I believe you will then understand what you can to do to move forward on this journey we call life. So, accept, forgive and love.