Sheela Raja, a clinical psychologist and assistant professor at the University of Illinois at Chicago, said in an email that you have to keep in mind all the circumstances that influence the way people act in order to tackle the challenge of accepting others.
“We tend to think that someone is behaving a certain way because of 1) their personality and 2) how they feel toward us,” Raja said. “In reality, people are also highly influenced by what is going on around them and their recent experiences.”
Therefore, work on thinking about other peoples’ behavior in a new light.
“Instead of ‘personalizing’ and thinking that someone's behavior is targeted to you, consider that they might have had a bad day or have other things going on,” Raja said. “This approach goes a long way toward understanding and accepting other people.”
Kim Leatherdale, a licensed professional counselor, said in an email that it is necessary to start with your own self-esteem in order to accept others, and it’s vital to see people as equal no matter what they do.
“Accepting others starts by accepting yourself through healthy self esteem,” Leatherdale. “Healthy self esteem recognizes we all have successes and failings. In addition, everyone has intrinsic worth which is not increased nor decreased by actions, words, or thoughts. It just exists.”
Don’t let disagreements change your acceptance of others.
“When you wrap your head around intrinsic worth of self and realize everyone has it, than acceptance becomes easier,” Leatherdale said. “No one is better or less than another. We can be upset or pleased by someone's behavior, but it doesn't change the fact that they are a human being with worth.”
Phyllis Quinlan, a registered nurse and personal coach, said in an email that one way of accepting others at a greater level is to think not in terms of people being “bad” or “good,” but as “different.”
“One’s ability to accept another person is closely linked with one’s ability to let go of judgments about that person,” Quinlan said. “The need for judgment is usually rooted in the need to assign a value to that person when you compare them to yourself.