Judgment, Discernment, and Accepting Others

Fully and unconditionally accepting others is the surest path to fulfilling and meaningful relationships – and truly effective leadership. So, why is it so hard?

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Judgment, Discernment, and Accepting Others

Fully and unconditionally accepting others is the surest path to fulfilling and meaningful relationships – and truly effective leadership.

So, why is it so hard?

Because people disappoint us. They fail to meet our spoken or unspoken expectations. They fail to treat us as we want to be treated. They have different opinions, values, and beliefs.

In short, they are not us and they are not perfect.

But neither are we.

Earlier in the month, I wrote an article about radical self-acceptance (Why You Don’t Have To Be A New You In the New Year), and that, my friends, is the first step.

“Those who love others grandly are those who love themselves grandly.
Those who have a high toleration and acceptance of others are those who have a high toleration and acceptance of themselves.”

 ~ Neale Donald Walsch

Why? Because when we accept and love ourselves despite our imperfections, we are much more capable of accepting and loving others.

That doesn’t mean that we let people off the hook for bad behavior – any more than we let ourselves off the hook. (See part two in the Acceptance Series: Radical Self-Acceptance Doesn’t Mean Abdicating Responsibility)

Acceptance means not judging, but it doesn’t mean not discerning. In leadership and life, that’s a critical distinction.

Judging is assigning poor behavior to the person as a label, as who they are. For example: “Mary is lazy.” By labeling Mary as lazy, you are essentially rejecting her and any value she may have.

Discerning is seeing that the person’s behavior was poor but doesn’t label the person. “Mary hasn’t finished her assignments on time.” That’s discerning Mary’s behavior. It doesn’t negate any other positive behaviors and characteristics Mary might have.

Discerning still accepts that person for who they are. Judging is a form of rejecting them.

And by the way… the same principle applies to yourself!!!

When you say that you are lazy, you are defining yourself by that word. When you say that you haven’t finished your assignment on time, you are observing your behavior and taking responsibility for it, without making up a story about how bad a person that makes you.

When we monitor and modulate our own self-talk, it’s much easier to be aware of how we are talking to others.

Discernment leaves the door open for discussion, negotiation, and improved relationships. Judgment pretty much closes the door.

Let’s not close the door on ourselves or others. Let’s practice radical acceptance – together.

Radical acceptance of yourself, your circumstances, and others is an important part of experiencing a life fully lived.

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As leaders, especially women leaders, we’re usually taught to mask our negative emotions and be positive, upbeat, and energetic. After all, we’re setting an example for our teams and colleagues.

But what if you don’t FEEL positive and upbeat?

We’re supposed to power through, use our willpower to paste that smile on our face and maintain that “can do” attitude, right? How does that work for you?