A number of books, articles and seminars have taken on the role of educating people on the different ways of associating with other people and building lasting relationships with them. There are several things that you can do when associating with other people.
One of these is to make them feel accepted. According to Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, one of man’s basic needs is to feel a sense of belonging to a group. Man feels the sense of belonging in either small groups like a family and small circle of friends, or big groups like clubs, teams, associations, departments and parties.
People have to feel they belong and are needed. One way to convey acceptance of people’s ideas is by simply listening. Listening communicates the message that their thoughts are valued and their inputs are significant. It answers the very basic need to belong and provides a sense of importance.
Have you ever been in any of the following situations?
- While sharing an important insight, somebody would finish the sentence for you.
- While narrating what happened over the weekend, somebody would butt in and narrate a similar story.
- In a meeting, the boss would cut you short while you are still explaining your side.
- You ask your child about his day in school and he runs straight to his room.
- You wanted to discuss something with your spouse but he is busy watching football.
How did you feel? Not good, right? It’s as if you are taken for granted. It’s as if no one is listening to you and that you do not matter. It signifies that your thoughts, concerns, and ideas are not accepted.
At the onset of life, an infant can feel this sense of acceptance from a mother who touches and caresses him in a loving way. As he grows older, his sense of acceptance and importance now comes from other family members, friends, teachers, peers, bosses, office mates, spouse, children, etc. Every person needs to be accepted. It puts meaning to a person’s existence.
Imagine a life with total absence of acceptance. Envision the life of babies who were abandoned by their mothers. Imagine the effect this will have on the babies’ emotional well-being. It is very possible that these kids will grow up dejected and feeling discriminated. The effects of discrimination can result to resentment and, if uncontrolled, can result to violent tendencies.
The feeling of resentment that is harbored overtime can escalate to anger and hostility. When a person becomes hostile, violence erupts. The mere civil act of accepting a person “can make or break them,” as the saying goes.
Unconditional acceptance of other people’s thoughts, ideas, and concerns can yield favorable outcomes. Acceptance elicits cooperation and this leads to working towards a common goal. Acceptance yields positive and fruitful results. At the same time, you have raised the esteem, importance, and morale of the person to whom you have accorded respect and acceptance.
Acceptance must be done unconditionally. The giver should not expect anything in return. There should be “no strings attached” or no commitments to fulfill. To expect something in return defeats the purpose of making others like you. In fact, this may only breed resentment, for it would appear that you are manipulating people by forcing them into a situation they may not like in the future.
Be willing to accept other people’s ideas, thoughts, and inputs. You will harvest not only good results, but also the admiration and appreciation of others, as well.