As a counselor I hear varying points of view. I don’t have to agree with my clients’ interests, world views or beliefs to connect with them. I am not in the business of converting anyone to my way of life. I’m in the business of accepting people where they are. It’s not always easy for me, but it is what I choose to do. I want to be careful this post doesn’t sound like I have it all together and if everyone was like me we wouldn’t have any problems. I know I don’t have it all together, I know I make mistakes and I am certain I have judged people. I simply want to place a challenge out there. What if we just accept people as is?
I am not proposing that we agree with everyone. That would be not only impossible as some beliefs contradict others but also inadvisable. I’m all about encouraging people to see themselves as distinct from those around them not advocating chameleonism. Accepting another person simply for who he is and the ideals he holds, is quite different from agreeing with him. When I accept a person as is I am saying I don’t feel threatened by him. I don’t need to spin wildly to defend what I believe upon discovering my beliefs are different from his. My job is not to change the other person. When I embrace that, I relax. There’s freedom to hear the other’s thoughts, views, and experiences without thinking about what I need to say to convince him he’s wrong and I’m right.
Challenge: When you hear an opinion different from your own, accept that person as is and notice what happens to your thoughts, emotions and body.