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Give Acceptance — Even when people don't deserve it

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in Quiet Power

A female vice president once told me, "I try to add value to and bring the best out of others even if it's someone who makes my life a living hell."

That is good advice. Keep giving acceptance, even when others seemingly don't deserve it. I know that there are all types of people and some are seemingly more deserving than others, but, who are you and I to judge and categorize? If you were in their hush puppies, you might be doing the very thing that bugs you.

It's surprising how judgmental and critical we can get toward others whom we think are underworking, undermining slough-offs. Then we naively think we can keep those thoughts to ourselves! Those thoughts ooze out of every pore of your body when you're around the person and even when you aren't. No one is a good enough actor to camouflage destructive thoughts, at least over time.

Your thoughts maintain and build, or attack and destroy, the esteem of others. You don't have to go overboard with "He is so wonderful; she is so great." You do have to say, "He is adequate, and she is too."

You can never let down your acceptance giving. Five minutes of mismanaged behavior sets you back five months of effectively managed behavior.

Think back to how a harsh word affected you when you were young (or last week) - and how you remember it still. You could be the deliverer of such a negatively remembered message just because you let your guard down. And that momentary letdown can last a lifetime.

To give acceptance is not to forget or dismiss how others think, act, and relate. It still means that you remain vigilantly aware of how others help or harm you. You can be "wisely paranoid" to uncover potential problems so that you can deal with them and still be "accepting" of those who cause the problem.

Now if someone's character, motive, or behavior is proved harmful and destructive, you must not tolerate it when it affects you and yours. Instead of your first response being to judge and criticize though, it must be to address, clear up, and redirect. If you started out the relationship with straightforward full disclosure, you smoothly continue with this approach when a problem pops up. If you haven't already demonstrated that this is how you deal with problems, then you should start now.

Despite your good intent and effort, some will be suspicious of your giving acceptance. A lot in life is done out of ignorance and innocence, not arrogance. Assuming someone's actions around you stem from a conspiracy to "get you" is wrong. It's just ignorance from lack of experience with you.

"Come from a position of goodness" one executive says. Don't retain obsessive thoughts that people are full of falsehoods, phoniness, hypocrisy, put-ons. They are no more so than you are.

Lynn Canterbury, CEO of Horsetooth Traders tells me, "I always treat people based on how they deal with me, not based on how others say they treated them." That is good advice. In truth, people's attitudes and actions around you stem from their own form of self-protection or incompetence or even ignorance.

There are enough problems in the world; don't make more problems by not giving people acceptance. Until proven guilty, give others the benefit of the doubt.

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