Everyone wants to be accepted for who they are, yet don’t really know who they are to begin with. They really just take on cyclical habits imposed upon them by past experiences. I myself have a hard time accepting people for who they are. I know that sounds harsh but let me explain..
To accept someone as they are is actually doing that person a huge disservice. When we accept others are they are, we create the space and essentially allow them to continue on as they are. You may be thinking, ‘how is this a bad thing Chris?’
Think of it this way: have you ever found yourself using protective phrases such as, “oh that’s just (name) being (name). Or, “well that’s just who they are.” If you have, then you may be guilty of protecting your friends limitations.
You see, by using this type of language, we actually become breathing justifications for our friends bad habits or tendencies. We’re not helping the people closest to us when we accept them “as they are.” We’re actually hindering their growth.
“But shouldn’t I be there for my friends?”
Absolutely, you should always be there to support your friends no matter what. However, there’s a big difference between being their and helping your friend versus actually supporting them.
For example: your girlfriend keeps going through drama with her off-and-on relationship and tends to come crying to you more often than you’d like. Being the good friend that you are, you tell her that everything is going to be ok and that if she ever needs anything, that she can always count on you. While this may seem like the right thing to do, it’s actually counter intuitive and isn’t supporting at all.
The girlfriend will just continue to come back for comfort because she’s allowed to be herself. A truly great friend would be raw and upfront with her friend. She would give her honest––and possibly painful––but necessary truth because she cares about her friend and wants the very best for her.
Maybe you have a friend like this or know someone who does. Haven’t you ever had a friend whom you wanted to shake and scream, “WAKE THE FUCK UP!” We may have been on the giving end but often times we’re on the receiving end because our friends and the people who care most about us choose not to give us the reality. We all owe it to our friends and family members, so why don’t we and why don’t others do the same for us? The answer comes in the four-letter word of fear.
We fear judgement and fear losing the people in our lives that matter most. Of course there’s a time and place to be raw and up front, we don’t want a free for all of constant yelling and bluntness––although maybe necessary––it would be a scary environment.
But instead of losing the people closest to us, we’re actually losing something much greater, and that’s the greatest version of our friends and loved ones. By you not calling these people out on their shit, you allow them to stay trapped in whatever stupid fucking bubble they’ve grown accustomed to living in.
Not only are you missing out but their other friends, family members, colleagues and humanity as a whole are missing out because you were too scared to take a stand for their possibilities. So in actuality, every time you give them that sweet pat on the back, reassurance that everything is going to be ok, or even by listening to them gossip––you’re actually taking a stand and are supporting their limitations.
“But Chris, I have really good friends who have a good life, a good job, a good family, and they have their head on straight. My friends and family aren’t fuck ups by any definition of the phrase, isn’t this a bit excessive?”
I totally get it. When things are good, they’re good. But what if it could be more than just good? What if your friends and family members showed up as amazing? Imagine what it would feel like if they were all fulfilled physically, spiritually, mentally, emotionally, financially, culturally, etc. Wouldn’t that be worth fighting for?
Growth for ourselves and for our loved ones, requires unreasonable measures. It’s going to be uncomfortable to call them out but it’s necessary. Call your friends out on limiting gossip, binge drinking, smoking, fucking random strangers, waking up listening to mindless music, doing drugs on the daily, not exercising, eating like shit, keeping toxic relationships, not feeding their mind with books, etc.
Not because you believe they’re a horrible person but because you believe they’re already an amazing person and the world deserves to see them at their very best. You are going to risk losing people in your life by stepping into your authenticity but if they can realize that your coming from a place of love––which isn’t always going to come off as love––then they’re going to show up much greater to the world and life will become much more fulfilling for both you and them.
So stop accepting people as they are and instead challenge them. Fight for the possibilities instead of allowing them to fight for their limitations. Begin to see them not as they are but as they could be. The more you fight for their possibilities, the greater life will be. And last but not least, this process of transformation doesn’t happen over night. Patience will be your greatest asset, use it and watch your loved ones transform into who you already knew them to be. The world will be a greater place because of it.