Are You Accepting or Tolerating?
Dear Spiritual Partner,

The difference between acceptance and tolerance is the difference between authentic power and pursuing external power. Acceptance is open heartedness. What you accept moves through your life without resistance. You do not withhold your love. You live free in a beautiful open meadow, and what you accept is in the meadow with you, close, cherished, and welcome.

Tolerance is judgment. It is a defensive stance. You think that you will not be able to change someone, and you decide to tolerate him rather than to try to change him. When you decide to be polite in order to preserve peace in your family, for example, you are tolerating a family member. You would prefer not to interact with her, but interactions are unavoidable.

Acceptance comes from loving parts of your personality. Tolerance comes from frightened parts of your personality. Your judgments remain. They are the reasons for your tolerance. When you tolerate others, you tolerate yourself and your life at the same time. When you accept others, you accept yourself yourself and others at the same time. Moving from tolerance of your life to acceptance of it, from judgment of your life to gratitude for it, requires recognizing when frightened parts of your personality are tolerating in fear and when loving parts of your personality are accepting in love, and choosing love.

Acceptance does not mean becoming passive, or living a vanilla flavored life without initiative or creativity. You cannot challenge a frightened part of your personality without experiencing its pain - for example, the pain of not having the last word in a power struggle. Acceptance allows you to experience where you are in the moment, but it does not require you to stay there when you are in fear. It enables you to experience the painful emotions of frightened parts of your personality so that you can challenge them and the blissful emotions of loving parts of your personality so that you can cultivate them.

This creates authentic power.


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Linda Francis
Note From Linda

My Journey from Tolerance to Acceptance

One of the big changes in my life began when I was sixteen and pregnant. I got married to the father of my baby. He was eighteen. It wouldn't be surprising for you to hear that things didn't go very well. We ended up having two children and staying together until I was in my early twenties.

Even though things weren't healthy in my marriage, I had the belief that it was important for children to have a mother and father. The only thing I felt good about in my life was being the mother of my children. My husband was drinking more and more and having affairs and not spending much time at home. I did everything I could to try to create a better relationship, and it wasn't working.

When my children got to the age where they were in school, I realized that I wanted to go back to school also. Because I was pregnant, I had only finished high school in an adult school class. I was really shocked to find out that I was accepted into a nursing program. I felt stupid, inferior, and too old to begin college. However once I started, I could feel my growing excitement about learning again.

As I began to feel better about myself I realized that I didn't want to be in my unhealthy marriage anymore. I wanted to teach my children what a healthy loving relationship was.

My husband did not want to get a divorce. He was very angry and took revenge. As painful as it was I always knew that I made the right decision. After the divorce, our relationship was barely civil. I tolerated him. At the time I didn't know anything about authentic power. I didn't know that I would one day see things very differently.

After I read The Seat of the Soul in 1989 I began to see myself and all my relationships differently. It still took me a while, but I began to accept rather than tolerate him. I could see him as a soul who was controlled by frightened parts of his personality and was not open to seeing himself differently. I felt compassion, and I was grateful he was able to experience love from our granddaughters.

What a huge transformation that was for me. Where in your life do you need to make the transformation from tolerance to acceptance?
"Acceptance is love; tolerance is fear."
Gary Zukav, author  The Seat of the Soul
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