Acceptance

In Creating Happiness by Barbara Jacoby

When the word “acceptance” is mentioned, it is usually associated with religious or racial tolerance of those that may be “different” than you.  However, there is a much larger scope that I believe needs investigation.

 

Each person is an individual and has a separate set of experiences in which they were raised.  Most of our beliefs are what we were taught by out parents, teachers and other authority figures as we grew up.  For some people, these teachings have become infallible and there is no way that there will be an acceptance of any other tenets in their lives.  And if you look at the reason that wars are fought, it is because of people’s steadfastness in their personal beliefs that they are right and anything that does not fit into their teachings is wrong and the holders of those opposing beliefs are a threat and should be eliminated.

 

If you look at the underlying reasons for such steadfastness, I believe that you will find that such beliefs are based upon fear of the unknown and/or a struggle for power by those who believe that they are better than others.  I was raised as a Catholic and do believe in the basic teachings of the religion.  However, when I went to Catholic school, I was taught fear of God and that I had to behave in a certain way or God would punish me.  I was also taught that every other religion was wrong and that it was a sin to enter their places of worship and to investigate anything about those religions.

 

Thank heavens I was also taught to think for myself.  My God is a loving God, not a God to fear.  And if other people believed differently than me, that didn’t make them bad people as I would have been led to believe.  So I decided to explore not only my religion but everyone else’s as well.  As I studied, I determined that there was no reason for me to believe that my religion was right which meant that all other religions were wrong and ultimately I decided for myself to not participate in any organized religion.  Such organizations represented to me only that certain people had chosen to have power over other people and they were using religion in order to make that happen.

 

I believe that all of us have the right to believe as we choose and that no one has the right to judge those beliefs.  This does not only apply to religion but also to every other choice that we make in life.  I may not always believe that a decision that someone else makes is the best one but I am in no position to judge that that decision is not the best for that person.  I accept people exactly as they are and have no desire to attempt to change anyone in any way.  After all, I need all the time and information that I have to make my own decisions and can’t begin to think about those of anyone else.  As a result, I would hope that others would accept me for who I am and what I do just as I accept them on the same basis.  Now if everyone would accept everyone else in that same way then we would have no more conflict on any level.  What a prospect!