I have a family member who is slow to overwhelm, which is both good and bad…it’s good because she can handle a lot, but it’s bad because when she finally does get to the edge it has become bigger and meaner than it needs to be. And she has never been comfortable apologizing when she is wrong.
And here is where acceptance comes in—in accepting her as she is I don’t add any meaning to her moods or beliefs. This frees me to just love her. But I will not accept meanness from her. I don’t have to accept her behavior when she gets upset and raises her voice over something trivial.
One evening, she became very angry with me over something that was truly meaningless. She misunderstood me and then quit listening. I had to ask her to stop yelling at me.
When I left, we were upset with one another. I ranted to myself about the injustice of it all, especially since I am trying to be available to everyone at the same time—my family members, my dying dad, and my clients.
And here is where acceptance comes in again—in accepting her as she is, once I let go of my frustration with what happened, I can once again just love her. So after a couple of hours I checked on her to see if she needed anything. I kissed her goodnight and felt no attitude or anger whatsoever.
A side effect of acceptance is that you no longer feel the need to blame yourself when someone is upset with you. If you are blameless or the person is overreacting, then realizing that their attitude has nothing to do with you keeps you from taking it personally.