I have learned that acceptance conversations can be true peacemakers that bridge the current political and social divides. Since the publication of The Gifts of Acceptance (recently awarded “Top 10 Wellness Books of 2018” by Library Journal, for which I am deeply honored)– I have had the opportunity to be interviewed on many talk radio shows throughout the United States.
The hosts represented a broad spectrum of political and social views.
I was quite surprised–and encouraged–that almost all of them acknowledged the importance of accepting people and things as they are. As a result, we engaged in instructive conversations about the benefits and challenges of practicing acceptance in a broad variety of arenas—personal, professional, social, and even political. (You can listen to some of the interviews here)
Acceptance is an important conversation starter.
There are clearly occasions in which we should strongly defend our beliefs and views, and even confront others. However, I believe it behooves us to do so with some manner of civility. One way is to have an “acceptance conversation.”
You might wonder what such a conversation would look like? First, it does not mean that we must condone or approve the contrarian or extreme views of others. Nor that we must be passive or submissive.
Rather, it is one in which we make an effort to truly listen and hear people out–with as little pre-judgment as possible.
It is also a conversation in which we don’t assume that others are out to do us harm, but instead consider that they may simply be acting on their sincerely held beliefs, or self-interests–as we most often do ourselves.
And importantly, it is a conversation in which we are willing to reexamine and sometimes reconsider our own strongly held views, free from our fears and resentments—and unhelpful “know-it-all-ness.”
Acceptance Conversations can be Peacemakers
Challenging? Most certainly. And there of course must be a mutual willingness to have the conversation. Yet, as I demonstrate in The Gifts of Acceptance, even small, incremental steps in practicing acceptance—particularly in our personal relationships and hardships–can result in unexpected, and often profound benefits.
I am certainly not that naïve to believe that such conversations are the solutions to most of our ills. But I strongly believe they are better than the prevalent derisiveness and close mindedness that invariably lead to deeper division and polarization. Acceptance conversations have the potential to find common grounds and interests that can result in meaningful compromise and reconciliation, avoid misinterpreting others, and in some cases, achieve real peace and serenity.
So, in the coming year, I ask: “Why not at least start the conversation?”
In the meantime,
Let It Go–and Accept “What Is!” and,
Let’s Help Make Acceptance Go Viral!
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