A few weeks ago, I talked about a strategy I share with my clients for managing anger. This was to respond instead of react. Today, I wanted to share a tip that can be used to manage anger and/or stress (the two often occur hand in hand). It’s about recognizing the difference between acceptance vs. agreement.
Acceptance vs. Agreement
I don’t agree with everything that everyone says, and by the same token, not everyone agrees with what I say. However, even though I do not agree with some people, I can still accept what they have to say.
I remember getting into an argument with someone over a topic that I was passionate about. Within the first few minutes, it was obvious to me that this person did not share my point of view.
I was fine with that. In fact, I’m grateful that we all see things differently, as different viewpoints often help to strengthen our own perspective.
Despite our differences, I was able to continue having a conversation with this person. In my own mind, I did not agree with anything the person was saying, but I was able to accept their opinion.
You see, when we accept something that someone says, we are NOT telling them that we agree. We are only telling them that we accept the fact that their opinion is different than ours.
Accepting does not involve defeat. In fact, I think it involves strength and wisdom. You demonstrate personal strength when you are able to hold your beliefs, while honouring the other person’s beliefs. You demonstrate wisdom when you recognize that you are not trying to control or change the other person, but are instead accepting them for what they believe is true.
Pick your battles, accept the rest
In life, there are many battles. We will have serious conflicts with our partners, children, friends, parents, co-workers, and many other significant people, over some important events. Knowing this, it’s important to ask oneself, “Do I really need to win this battle? Is the energy I’m going to devote to this argument really necessary? Can I just accept the fact that I disagree with them?”
If you are able to accept another’s person’s perspective, and accept the fact that you disagree with them, then you are taking a big step towards eliminating stress from your life. Recognize that everyone sees things and experiences things differently than you do. It doesn’t mean that they have a better opinion, or that they’re ‘right’ about something. It just means they have an opinion that is different than yours.
For example, you may not agree with anything I’ve said in this post. But, if you want to avoid feeling stressed, just accept the fact that I have a right to say it. By choosing to accept rather than agree, you are avoiding conflict and promoting personal well-being.
Hoping this strategy helps in reducing stress in your life…
Links in this post
- Manage anger by remembering to respond instead of reacting.
- Here is someone’s post on a similar concept, agreement versus approval, and how it relates to family.