The Value in Being Different and Accepting Yourself
Contributor
Written by
Terri Kozlowski
February 2020
Blogging
Contributor
Written by
Terri Kozlowski
February 2020
Blogging

We’re all distinct individuals.  We know this is true, but let’s examine why we’re different.  We’re all going through similar experiences, but have filters we see things through based on our personality and background.  Our perspective allows for unique manifestations that we call our lives, even if we have similar experiences.  Our singular consciousness is the mysterious component that enables us to show our individuality, the talents we have, and our unique perspective.  Valuing this difference in ourselves and one another is the definition of acceptance. 

 

We seem to understand that each of us has a different mindset, and our view of the world is incomplete as we don’t ever have all the information based on everyone else's viewpoint.  Despite this knowledge, we still allow differences to produce conflict amongst ourselves as we tend to lack acceptance for differing perspectives.  Yet, we desire that others hear our opinions and try to see our point of view, even when we are unwilling to give them the same courtesy. 

 

There is immense value in our differences, but we have to be willing to accept the individual person as they are, differences included, to make authentic, loving connections.  To foster acceptance of other distinctive personalities, as well as ourselves, we need to incorporate the following techniques.

 

Diversity is about all of us, and about us having to figure out how to walk through this world together. ~ Jacqueline Woodson

 

 Be Mindful of Your Thoughts

 

Are you aware of the thoughts you have?  You have to be conscious of the egoic mind and how it influences our thinking of ourselves and others.  Out internal voice can be judgmental and mean towards those along our path, but especially to us.  We need to realize that this voice is not telling us the truth, but is trying to keep us separate from others and in a state of fear.

 

We need to be intentional in our thought processes.  For us to be accepting, we need to pivot away from our pattern of fear in which we blame, doubt, and shame ourselves and others for what is going on in our lives.  Instead, we need to see the world through the lens of love, where we are non-judgmental, trusting, and accept everyone, including ourselves, as they are.

 

If we wouldn’t say the things we speak to ourselves to another person, then we need to change this internal dialogue. We need to understand that the inner voice isn’t always telling us the truth and that we can choose to see a different viewpoint.  Changing how our internal voice speaks to us is the first step in self-acceptance.  It allows us to move away from self-hatred into a peaceful state of being.  

 

Our task must be to free ourselves by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature and its beauty.  ~ Albert Einstein

 

Value the Good Around you

 

We know that focusing on the negative doesn’t permit us to live a fulfilling life.  However, we tend to focus on faults instead of strengths.  We see the differences in others, instead of seeing the similarities.  Everyone along our path has something good to share with us, even if it's their smile. 

 

Be conscious of the positive aspects of your life, the beauty of the sunrise despite the traffic on your drive to work.  Notice the kindness of the salesperson, who when above and beyond to help you with your issue.  Perceiving the goodness that is permeating your life helps you to see that you are doing well and can accept yourself as you are. 

 

Accepting others means that we acknowledge the good in them.  We all can be kind to others, and unless we engage with people, we cannot determine their creativity or other strengths and talents they possess.  We shouldn’t allow the ego to keep us fearful of people, even though it is trying to protect us.  Connections with others are vital for our health and happiness.

 

We all live with the objective of being happy; our lives are all different and yet the same. ~ Anne Frank

 

Reject Separatism caused by Converses

 

We hit the easy button when we choose to view the world in which we only see black and white.  But the reality is that there are many shades of grey between the two opposite colors, as there is in all aspects of life.  Labeling is an act of fear caused by the ego to keep us small and separated from others.  The state of things is as we accept them, neither right nor wrong. 

 

Just as our emotions are neither right nor wrong, they are how we feel.  It gives you information about yourself and how the situation is affecting you.   Don’t suppress these feelings, as you don’t want them to come out in unforeseen ways.  Once you allow yourself to feel the emotion, we are to let it go and choose to feel something better.  We aren’t trying to control the feelings but consciously choose our response.  This ability to let go enables us to feel empathy and compassion for others. 

 

All situations have many views, perspectives, and solutions, depending on the personality involved.  Therefore we cannot look at the dichotomies in absolutes.  We must be open to seeing as many different sides of the situation as we can. By doing this, we allow ourselves to be available to receive more enlighten decisions, opinions, and ideas from others. They are helping us to grow and develop into better human beings. 

 

Diversity is not about how we differ. Diversity is about embracing one another's uniqueness. ~ Ola Joseph

 

Avoid Judgment for Acceptance

 

When we judge others, we are criticizing those aspects we don’t like in ourselves.  People are a mirror for us to see ourselves.  We need to see judgment as a signpost to help us grow in certain areas and to be more accepting of the imperfections we see in ourselves. 

 

Keep in mind that what we see as imperfections is an illusion caused by the ego.  Comparing ourselves to others is an act of fear. Our differences are part of our authenticity.  We all can paint, but some people are passionate about painting, and you can see the difference in the piece of art.  That doesn’t mean we all shouldn’t paint if we enjoy it, some are more talented in an area then we are, so praise them for their talent.

 

Forgive yourself for feeling unworthy, and lovingly accept the differences.  Understand that you can choose better in the future as you are learning and growing each day.  Also, remember to forgive others for their missteps, as they are too developing as they go.  This way, you can move forward with compassion for yourself and others. 

 

Our differences do matter, but our common humanity matters more. ~ Bill Clinton

 

Acceptance comes only in the Present Moment

 

The present moment is all that we have.  It is where we live and experience life, therefore acceptance of ourselves and others can only occur in the now.  When we choose to be unaccepting because of past events, we are not living in the present moment. 

 

Here again, being fully present allows us to display love and compassion through the acceptance of the present moment.  By doing so, we enable ourselves to connect with another and accept them as they are.  This acceptance of our true natures is what we all desire.  This acceptance is what agape love is.

 

So, to fully accept ourselves and others, we need to stay present.  We need to fully aware of this moment.  We aren’t looking at the past, nor imagining of the future, but truly conscious of the time we are experiencing. 

 

It is time for parents to teach young people early on that in diversity, there is beauty, and there is strength. ~ Maya Angelou

 

Value all Perspectives

 

Can you put yourself in another’s place and potentially see their viewpoint?  For us to value another’s perspective, we have to try to understand their perception.  Remember, our views may be strange to others because they don’t see things the way we do; they don’t have the same filters and lens. 

 

We cannot listen to the different tactics to solve issues and be open to all the creative solutions.  We must be open-minded and willing to hear other’s opinions, especially if they are different then our own.  Disagreeing doesn’t mean anyone is incorrect.  We can confront the problems if we can open a dialogue with compassion for all involved.  We all want to live in a peaceful world, does it matter whose idea it is, as long as we get there?

 

Being open-minded doesn’t mean that you disvalue your perspective.  I have many times in my life vaulted another person's opinion over my own.  Or, I was trying to impress others instead of following my heart.  Many times this caused me more harm than good, as they didn’t have the unique lens to see all that I was dealing with at the time.  There is a balance of considering other’s viewpoints without rejecting our own. 

 

Though a sea of difference may divide us, an entire world of commonality lies beneath. ~ James Rozoff

 

Realize we’re all Changing

 

When we go to visit family and friends, especially when we moved away, there’s always a time of catching up.  This time is needed because they aren’t a part of our everyday life; therefore, they don’t know how we have changed since we last saw one another.  Some of these changes are subtle, and others can be quite dramatic.  We can see this when adult children visit their parents, and everyone realizes that the adult child is grown and very different than when they left.

 

Do we understand that the same thing happens with everyone we aren’t around regularly?  Every day we grow and develop as we have new experiences as we encounter new people.  This growth is a part of life.  Change is a constant that we all are subject.  The decisions we made alter how we view things now.  As we develop, we are willing to take more risks to live the life we desire instead of feeling we are missing out on the adventure. 

 

We also need to remember that everyone else is growing too.  Therefore, people aren’t the same as we remember them to be.  Let them know that you see the evolution of their person.  Acknowledge their willingness to learn from missteps and obstacles that they have overcome.  Accept the changes in others and ourselves as the passage of time develops each of us. 

 

Peace is not unity in similarity but unity in diversity, the comparison, and conciliation of differences.  ~ Mikhail Gorbachev

 

Release Control for Acceptance

 

Trying to control others' perception of you isn’t loving yourself as you are.  We have to release the notion that we can alter someone’s opinion of ourselves because we can’t.  All we can do is to be responsible for our intentions and responses.  How others see us is based on their filters.  We’re to be accepting of them and show them compassion. 

 

Trying to control or change another person is not accepting them as their authentic self.  We tend to do this more with family members then with other people, but why?  We love our families, so why are we trying to change them?  What in them is causing us to react in a way that we are trying to alter who they are?  Most often, it’s the mirror of ourselves we are seeing.  Therefore, accept them and learn to love this part of yourself or change this part of yourself.  In choosing to change yourself, you may influence the other as they see you overcome this trait. 

 

Finally, you need to release control of the past.  Many of us hold onto the past, not realizing that doing so keeps us from living fully in the present.  We must accept the past as it occurred, and we cannot change it.  We can choose to change the story we tell about it, but the events occurred.  By letting go of the past, you empower yourself to live a fabulous life. 

 

Difference in opinion doesn’t imply a difference in principle. ~ Mike Klepper

 

Move out of your Comfort Zone

 

We all know what our comfort zone is, and we like to stay in it.  It’s safe, and we are familiar with what occurs in this environment.   Most people operate in a comfortable rut that limits their possibilities, their thinking, and their achievements. If you want a more exciting life, then you have to take some risks. If you're going to be more adventurous in your thinking, then you should be more adventurous in your activities. Deliberately push yourself out of your routine. It’s by trying new things that we gain new experiences and skills. If we keep doing the same things, we learn very little.

 

So, what are you allowing fear to hold you back?  Having the courage to move out of your comfort zone is something we can strengthen, like a muscle.  As we flex it, we gain more bravery, and proof that we can overcome, to go on the next daring adventure.  By doing this process, we overcome fear instead of allowing it to define you.

 

In our work and our living, we must recognize that difference is a reason for celebration and growth, rather than a reason for destruction. ~ Audre Lorde

 

Make Authentic Connections with Others

 

When we are unwilling to accept ourselves, we believe that others won’t either, so we hide from others instead of making authentic connections.  But we all need a support system, and we can only have the support we desire if we reach out and connect with others.  To do so, we need to show our real selves. Otherwise, who are they accepting? 

 

Yes, it will be hard to show your vulnerability with another person, but you will be surprised to see that we all want to be accepted as we are.  The only way to do so, it for both parties to show their vulnerable sides, and since neither party wants to be hurt, both sides are gentle with the other.  In this way, we can see that we aren’t alone, that there is someone to support us. 

 

We also have to make time to have fun with others.  In this way, we can enjoy one another’s company as we accept the commonalities we share.  It also allows the relationship to expand and blossom into more in-depth connections.  Here is where we can genuinely share what the link means to one another as well as ask for help in understanding ourselves.  Furthermore, it enables us the opportunity to support and encourage one another and sharing the love. 

 

An individual has not started living until he can rise above the narrow confines of his individualistic concerns to the broader concerns of all humanity.  ~ Martin Luther King

 

Compile evidence of Loving Acceptance

 

Often we have trouble focusing on the good things about ourselves and others. An excellent way of noting the positive aspects of yourself and others is through journaling.  In your daily journal is a fabulous place to document e evidence of the loving acceptance of yourself and humanity.  Each day, jot down those areas that you witnessed throughout the day that prove that you are worthy, people are kind, and gratitude abounds

 

When you are feeling downhearted, pick up your journal and review the evidence you compiled proving your worth.  By documenting these thoughts and comments, you reassure and help yourself to be accepting. 

 

We all should know that diversity makes for a rich tapestry, and we must understand that all the threads of the tapestry are equal in value no matter what their color. ~ Maya Angelou

 

Be Kind

 

Kindness is a great connector, as it is contagious.  When you smile at another, that person smiles back at you.  When you hold the door open for someone, they, in turn, keep it open for someone else.  By giving to others, even in small ways, you have a positive influence and raise everyone’s expectancy to that of an encouraging nature. 

 

We also must show kindness to ourselves.  This kindness is part of the self-care we give to ourselves to live fulfilled lives.  For us to offer compassion to others, we must first give it to ourselves.  We have to lovingly accept who we are, along with our frailties, to practice self-compassion. 

 

Love is a snowflake, for no two are ever the same. ~ Kamand Kojouri

 

Moving Forward

 

When we accept ourselves, many things happen.  We become empowered when we lovingly accept ourselves because we show that we recognize that our path is different from other people’s, so we no longer need to compare ourselves.  We become free when we tenderly accept ourselves because we realize that our missteps are part of the journey.   We become happy when we accept ourselves and allow us to give ourselves compassion and self-care as all happiness comes from within. 

 

In this internet age, where the people think genuine connections are made, and differences are to be avoided, learning to accept ourselves and others is the way we show value and love to one another.  Don’t’ let the monologues of one loud voice to diminish the dialogues we are meant to have with one another.  We all have a place to connect, but we aren’t bonding in meaningful ways. 

 

We are all human beings, so we have a shared experience. Let’s put our focus on the things we have in common, value the differences, and lovingly accepts everyone.  By doing so, we open ourselves up to allowing us to complement one another and construct a harmonious society by not forcing our views on others but by listening to other perspectives to understand one another. 

 

Celebrate diversity, practice acceptance, and may we all choose peaceful options to conflict.  ~ Donzella Michele Malone

 

As you decide to values our differences, accepting one another, and becoming conscious about your mindset, you can alter the course of your life.   To receive more enlightening articles right into your email, fill this out now.

Do you need help in lovingly accepting yourself?  Do you need support in making authentic and loving connections with others?  Do you want a strategy to help you create a remarkable life?  If so, please contact me, and we can put together an action plan for you to be authentically you and for you to know that you are enough.

 

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