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Thread: What does it mean to accept people as they are and still be myself?

  1. #1

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    What does it mean to accept people as they are and still be myself?

    Hello all. I have a question that deals with how we treat one another when we are different. I think perhaps I don't already know the answer because I have always struggled to understand social nuances. (My daughter has high functioning autism, and is just like me. Perhaps I do, too, looking back at it, but was never tested. My theory, anyways). My question is:

    They always say, "accept people as they are". Of course I aspire to do this. I understand we don't always have to understand or even agree with what someone else does in order to accept them or to respect them. And I am great at accepting and respecting people. But I totally don't understand how this is supposed to play out in real life when you are in the presence of someone who is behaving in a way you disagree with and is expecting you to do the same. How do I simultaneously bow-out of participating in things I disagree with, while at the same time trying to assure he person doing them that I accept their behavior? For example, imagine two brothers: one marries a girl who loves guns, and shooting and killing animals as trophies on the wall, and the other brother marries a girl who is anti-gun. She's terrified of them. She hates that they were ever invented and doesn't agree with killing any living thing. They're opposites. Pacifist girl loves and accept her brother and sister-in-law. But the brother and sister in-law keep inviting her to join them on their hunting trips. They keep taking her in to view their newest dead animal. And when her kids are born the brother and sister in law keep pulling out the guns and offering lessons and trying to take the kids along on hunting trips with their own kids. She's told them how she feels, but they have made it clear that if she doesn't go along with the hunting trips she's being judgemental and is not accepting them for who they are. But is she? Does a person have to participate in someone else's way of living when it's offered to show acceptance of them, or is it okay to expect them to respect your choice as well, and to accept you for who you are, and not to make you do things you're against? I would like to believe that both sides can be accepting of each-other but still refuse to participate in the things they disagree with. I would like to believe that I can refuse to be involved in what soe of my fmaily does, and to have them still feel that I accept them. I think we should respect that we're different, accept that we're different and stick to doing things together that overlap. But I am getting strong feedback that acceptance is doing as they do when at their home. But it's hard when it's the opposite of what I am comfortable doing. Am I not accepting them as they are if I refuse to participate?
    Last edited by Lyssa; 01-24-2019 at 01:43 PM. Reason: spelling mistake

  2. #2
    Platinum Member Wiseman2's Avatar
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    Accepting means tolerating, not necessarily liking. Accepting is also not being manipulated and standing up for oneself without stepping on the tastes, rights, feelings, of others. It's all about boundaries and knowing where you end and someone else begins.

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    Platinum Member DancingFool's Avatar
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    Acceptance and respect in your example would simply mean that you don't lecture them about how bad hunting is and they don't show you their latest trophy and demand you go hunting with them. Acceptance also means that when at their house, if they have guns hanging on walls or whatever, you politely turn a blind eye to it and that they don't bring their guns to your house.

    What seems to be happening here is that you are respecting what they do, but they absolutely do not respect your beliefs and are trying to push their interests and hobbies onto you and your children. That's actually wrong. Since they are in-laws, all you can really do is stay polite and firm, no means no. "I appreciate that you guys are big hunting enthusiasts, but this doesn't interest me and never will. Thanks for being understanding."

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    Platinum Member melancholy123's Avatar
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    In your example, this goes both ways. The gun haters should not be harassed about going hunting and killing animals when they've already told the gun lovers they are not interested. Both should respect the other person's decision and then lay off of them! I hate guns and I would never let anyone bully me into going hunting, I'd tell them that, in plain words, so there's no misunderstanding.

    We all have the right to go along with others or not. Sometimes you have to tell the other person many times that you are not interested in what they are wanting you to do.

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  6. #5
    Gold Member thisisrichey's Avatar
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    you are confusing yourself because you're trying to combine 2 separate concepts unrelated to each other.
    1. accepting another person as they are - is exactly what it sounds like. accepting them for what they are. This is an objective, factual exercise. "Richey is a jerk.. that's just how he is" is accepting the fact that i'm just a jerk - its' stating a fact. Nothing more, nothing less.
    2. being who you are - is also exactly as it sounds. Just be you and true to yourself- whatever that may be.

    "so how do you handle somebody who is trying to force you to be like them" (given these 2 concepts)?
    1. you accept that they have a certain vision on how things should be, and are inflexible about this particular thing. you accept that they feel everybody should follow this rule (whatever it is). That's it. That's accepting them for who they are on this.
    2. but you don't agree and it doesn't fit your life's philosophy to do what this person is trying to force you to do. So you resist doing it. Thats is you being "true to yourself".

    Compliance has nothing to do with these 2 concepts. Just because you disagree or don't comply doesn't mean you're not accepting them - it just means that is not being true to yourself.

    Hopefully that helps.

  7. #6

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    Thanks all! I think I sort of get it. You can express to someone that you just can't BE like them, but as long as you say you're OKAY with THEM doing it/being who they are, it's still accepting them. I'm on the right track? I can stand against an idea, and that conviction has nothing to do with acceptance.

  8. #7
    Gold Member thisisrichey's Avatar
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    well no.. you're getting hung up on "having to be okay with it" or "come to agreement on it" - which has nothign to do with it. Yo don't have to be OKAY with anything they do.. just as long as you ACCEPT they are what they are - whether you like it or not.
    I ACCEPT that Barry Bonds is an SOB and cheated in baseball. i dont' have to LIKE it, or be OKAY that he did it or was like that. I just have to ACCEPT that he is that and did that.

    there is NO need to like, agree, or anything about what they are - that is not what accepting it means. accepting in this case is more akin to just acknowledging the objetive truth about them regardless of how you feel about it.

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    so if couple A asks couple B to a shooting trip. Wife B declines and counters with an invite to dinner or some activity that is amenable to her.
    Or Wife B agrees to the trip, but partakes in "shooting" animals with her camera. She does what she likes.
    Or Wife B over time listens to couple A to learn about what their views are to get a better understanding of them and finds that they are not scary people at all - they just prefer to shoot a deer and use that as their meat all year instead of Wife B buying 30 chickens at the supermarket.

    BTW, "pacifism" has nothing to do with Hunting, it has to do with war. There were many pioneers who were pacifists, but killed and cleaned their dinner

  10. #9
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    Wife B decides that one interest or issue doesn't define the other person.
    Unless the issue is something like dealing drugs or somethng -- and then they can still love the other couple and set boundaries about their interaction.

    Some of my family hunts, the rest doesn't. If you are not into it, you don't partake, but 90% of the people who don't partake also eat meat in some form - they are just not as sure where it comes from

  11. #10
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    I think you accept people as they are and you then choose whether to interact. If someone is hurting you or disrespecting you you do not have to accept that treatment. That’s about the behavior at that moment not about the person as they are. “I accept that A is late all the time. Therefore I will not lecture him to change and I also choose not to make any time sensitive plans with him because that doesn’t work for me”. That way you are accepting plus being yourself.

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