Throughout my life, I have learned the power that comes from an attitude of acceptance.
Having an attitude of acceptance can change almost any circumstance and neutralize tough situations.
For example, when I am sitting in traffic, I can get upset, or I can accept what is and listen to a good podcast or look at the scene around me.
Similarly, I can get upset when my flight is delayed at the airport, or I can accept what is and find people to talk to. This is actually one of my favorite things to do. I love learning people’s stories.
Our circumstances are often defined by our mindset.
There are so many circumstances we find ourselves in that can be made positive or negative based on our mindset and our willingness to simply accept what is.
Now, don’t get me wrong—there are certainly circumstances where acceptance is the wrong way to go. If you are in an abusive situation or you are being treated unfairly, that is not something you should freely accept.
There will always be times when you need to stand up for what you believe and not accept the words, actions, or beliefs of others.
But the opposite is also true.
There are situations in life where acceptance is key to greater joy and peace.
For me, this is particularly true in my relationship with my children.
When I was a younger mom, I remember saying to my kids that they could only date someone that I would like.
Obviously, that’s not a reasonable expectation—and even slightly ridiculous. Especially since I’m not the one dating the person.
But what I really meant to say was, “Make sure you date someone who respects you and cares for you.”
Within the last couple of months, I’ve met my son’s girlfriend and my daughter’s boyfriend.
Before we actually met the people they were dating, my youngest daughter said to me, “What if you don’t like them? What are you going to do?”
Thankfully, I’ve grown up over the years, so my response was simple, “I’m going to like them because that’s the person they’ve chosen, and it’s not for me to decide.”
Acceptance is important in our relationship with our children.
When our kids are young, it’s our responsibility to teach them how to be good humans. And if we have done our job to the best of our ability, we should be able to trust them and accept the choices they make.
I think I’ve raised my kids well enough to trust that when they are looking for their person, they will choose someone who is kind, compassionate, and caring. I can trust them to choose someone who truly cares about them and who shows it in how they treat them.
Fortunately, that has been the case so far.
I’ve learned that my ability to trust and accept my children’s choices has brought a deeper connection with them. And they know they can trust me, too.
Acceptance allows us to see things as they really are.
My daughter has spent the last two weeks at home with her boyfriend. And I have to say—he’s a really nice guy.
I think that as parents, we have always had an idea inside our head of how things are going to be for our children—how their life is going to turn out.
But sometimes, the most important thing is to accept how things really are. Through this acceptance of what is, we are able to see things from a clearer perspective.
I like her boyfriend. He is kind and caring. I see him doing the little things that she may not even notice. He fills her water bottle before it’s empty and helps her fold her laundry. It’s those little things that show me who he really is.
What matters most to me is that my children pick someone who respects them and cares for them. And it’s a bonus if they’re also fun to hang out with. Because as parents, we are going to spend time with our children’s significant other.
The more accepting we are of the person they choose, the better our relationship will be with our children.
Acceptance helps us to stay in a positive mindset.
In any situation, we have two choices—we can look for the things we don’t love about the situation, or we can accept what is and see all the good things those circumstances have to offer.
By accepting what is, our heart is no longer in conflict, and we can lead from a more positive frame of mind.
When it comes to our children, it’s important that we keep an open mind and try to understand their choices.
This helps us see things from a more positive mindset.
Even still, there will be times when you can see things they may not see themselves.
Acceptance does not mean condoning.
Acceptance also doesn’t mean you can’t voice your honest concerns.
Sometimes it’s important to voice your concerns with sincerity and love.
There may be a situation where someone doesn’t choose a person who is kind and respectful. And in that case, I may speak up.
After all, when I was a teenager, I dated someone who was not kind to me. And I can speak from experience of the challenges that came from that.
But in the end, my children are now adults, and my acceptance of their choices is an important part of our relationship.
I’m not going to tell them what to do. And I’m not going to tell them what not to do.
But I am hoping that by telling my children the stories of the struggles I went through, they will choose people who truly care about them.
After spending two weeks with my daughter’s boyfriend, I believe this is exactly what she has done.
I have no idea if this is her one-and-forever relationship. But I am so proud of her for being with someone who respects her above all else.
I love my children. And my acceptance of them and their choices has made all the difference.
If we want to make the world a better place, we can begin by simply accepting what is.