Acceptance is the ability to see that others have a right to be their own unique persons. It means having a right to their own feelings, thoughts and opinions. It means leaving them alone to live their lives the way that they wish to live without persecution or judgment. When I accept people for who they are, I let go of my desire to change them. I let them feel the way they want to feel, I let them be different and think differently from me. Acceptance of others' feelings is not easy when people act differently than I do. This makes it difficult to accept the people that we come in contact with. By learning the skill of empathy, I can better understand myself and those who choose to live differently than I do. Should they choose to be cruel rather than kind, I need to accept that is their feelings and I do not need to be involved.
When you think about it, how boring would this world be if everyone was exactly the same? If they looked the same, had the same personality, the same interests, the same life experiences, I believe we would lose interest quickly. Each one of us has an unique set of qualities, talents, and characteristics that make us different. Even though we realize that those characteristics are the best, they can be difficult to live with. Being empathetic means having an open mind and accepting unique differences. Of course, it is much easier to look at another person and point out their flaws. There are some who judge and criticize whether intentional or not realizing that it is happening. It is a challenging and empathetic response to point out the good in a person but it can be done. When I accept others as they are, it means that I understand that that person is doing the best they can do at this time. If they could do better, they would.
My experience has been on the cruel side of a person. No matter what is said or done, bitterness, unhappiness, and ridicule comes to me. It has become okay as I have found other resources to avoid and think good things from a distance. This is a sign of maturity and growth. Compassion is practiced when I begin to understand why a person is acting the way that they are and life experiences may have triggered resentment and anger.
It is important to begin each day with an attitude of love and empathy for those that we meet. There are great lessons to be learned from all people and their unique characteristics.