Monthly Theme: Intimacy
This week’s word is Accept
I have a friend who absolutely hates cucumbers. She can't stand to even be around them; to see or smell them makes her gag. In her mind, they are slimy and gross. Yet, in my house cucumbers don't last long. My husband and I love them unashamedly. They aren't even in the frig long enough to make it in a dish most of the time. We eat them straight up, maybe stopping long enough to add a little salt and pepper. My friend and I could argue about cucumbers. We could spend an hour or more saying how the other person is crazy for liking or not liking them. We don't understand what initiated such an unreasonable opinion in each other's mind. Yes, we could do that, but it won't change the fact that some of us like cucumbers and some of us don't. It's actually a good thing that not everyone likes them. Could you imagine how hard it would be for farmers to keep up with the production demand if everyone liked cucumbers?
Keeping in mind the image of the cucumber, what if conflict and negativity are symptoms of limited perspective? We can't see past the tip of our own nose. We react to people, circumstances and challenges based on what we feel about that person, what we think about the circumstances, and how the challenges affects us personally. We get upset and unsettled. Is it possible that the intensity of our own reaction causes a temporary blindness to seeing the bigger picture? Undoubtedly there is more to the story than meets the eye. Most people have good intentions, work hard, and make a difference in the lives of the people around them. When we experience negative feelings towards a person, we often are unable to see that side of them - or perhaps we don't want to see it because we want to nurse our hurt feelings, our right to be right, our tightly held beliefs.
The reality is that everyone is unique. We all see the world differently and our view is based on a myriad of factors. It can be hard to accept the fact that there is no one who is in perfect agreement with you about everything and there is nothing you can do to make other people think like you, believe the way you believe, and adhere to your way of doing things. If you can begin to see these differences as a gift instead of a challenge, then relationships just might become fun. It's like looking for buried treasure. What's still down in there inside that other person's heart and mind that you have not yet discovered? Let's dig it out! Diversity can be energizing if you can see it as a blessing instead of a hurdle, not just as relates to a diversity of types of people but the same concept also is true of a diversity of viewpoints.
Experiment this week a bit with acceptance. The next time you have a conflict or experience negative thoughts towards another person, see if you can reframe your perspective using the cucumber story, substituting the topic of conflict (difference of opinion, challenging circumstance, etc.) with the image of the cucumber. Ask yourself if there is room in your world for the other person not to like your "cucumber". Consider the implications if the answer to your question is yes and the consequences if the answer is no. If it is helpful, recite the serenity prayer to expresses your desire to accept the things you cannot change, to find the courage to change the things you can, and to seek the wisdom to know the difference between the two.
Quote of the Week
Seach for the topic of Acceptance on Pinterest. Notice which ones motivate you towards greater acceptance and which ones evoke a negative reaction within you. Below are a some of my favorites.
To explore how Acceptance Allows you to Let Go of Conflict, check out this video from The Mindful Movement.
For a deeper dive on how to nurture curiosity in your primary relationships, check out the 7-A steps suggested in this article from Healthy.net.
Have a GREAT week!