I had an epiphany years ago. Instead of my long-held belief that we should all be “equal”, I learned that gracious acceptance of our differences in abilities and status can not only be the key to interpersonal harmony, but ironically, the key to personal advancement as well. Only from this peaceful place can we implement an upward strategy with maximum cooperation and minimum pushback. My dog, Nellie, knew this and was my sage.
Nellie was a dog in my “pack” of four and not at all “the boss.” She was well down the hierarchy. Instead of fighting for a higher position to get what she wanted, however, Nellie accepted her position and from that place she proceeded to foster friendships with the other dogs, especially those with higher status. She earned the trust of the more superior dogs and as a result, they willingly gave her what she requested, whether it was sharing a coveted toy or space on the sofa.
Anger, argument, resentment, indignation, entitlement – all work against us, since no successful negotiation or willing cooperation can happen in an atmosphere of conflict.
Acceptance might be easily accomplished for those lucky few already in a position of authority to command what they desire. Acceptance of a lower status position may not be as easy for the rest of us, needing willing cooperation from others whom we cannot “command.” We might want more advancement at work or greater cooperation from our spouse, but only from a place of acceptance of the way things are now can we change the future. Anger, argument, resentment, indignation, entitlement – all work against us, since no successful negotiation or willing cooperation can happen in an atmosphere of conflict. On the other hand, Acceptance of your present position, even if you hope to change it in the future, creates a calm and rational platform for change through cooperation!
The concept of Acceptance is not a new discovery. It has been taught since the most ancient of days by the deepest thinkers and practitioners. Even then, they reminded us that even water, in its flow, can go through stone if it chooses the right path. Acceptance is your path.
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