Tracy Winchell

Kindness: Accept That Whom You Cannot Change

published3 months ago
2 min read

Hello Reader,

Remember that thing you did long ago, and you cringe every time you think about it?

I do.

In the late 1980s I worked with someone who had become a friend. She told me she felt guilty about something she had been doing.

One of the most unkind things I have ever done

I told her exactly what my religion said she should do — immediately.

Unless she stopped, I could no longer be her friend. A perverted sense of religion strikes again.

Today, I have a better grasp of faith, which is nothing like religion.

As it turns out, Jesus loved those who needed him and tolerated those who found him guilty of loving all humans well.

Now I know I should have accepted my friend’s actions.

I could have supported her, no matter what I thought. I lost touch with her years ago.

Now I do my best to make a living amend for my unkindness.

A living amend is about not making the same mistake again. In this case, I accept people where they are and to support them.

True truth: This ain’t always easy, which is why I keep practicing.

A father’s love

When the late actor and funnyman Leslie Jordan was a boy growing up in the South, he preferred twirling batons and playing with dolls.

His mother’s only concern was what Leslie’s LT Col. father would say.

So they kept quiet about young Leslie’s activities. Until the family attended a wedding.

The minute Leslie saw the bride, he imagined being a bride.

His Christmas request was a bride doll. At first, Leslie’s dad refused, even though Leslie persisted.

In the last hours before Santa came to visit, LT Col. Jordan left the house without telling anyone where he was headed. He arrived home with a bride doll for Leslie.

Acceptance, indeed.

Acceptance: Psychological definition

Psychological acceptance isthe active embracing of subjective experience, particularly distressing experiences. The idea is not merely to grudgingly tolerate negative experiences but to embrace them fully and without defense.

You already have someone in mind, don’t you?

Someone(s) who you are desperately afraid of what will happen if they continue down the same path.

We will come to the person in addictive addiction momentarily.

You won’t go from the stage of not accepting to fully embracing them as they are.

In my experience, acceptance comes in 5 phases:

  1. Refusing to accept
  2. Commiting to someone that you will work to accept
  3. Ill at ease
  4. Tolerating — grudgingly
  5. Fully embracing

Time to talk about the “how” of acceptance.

Questions & Answers

1. What should you do when someone you love is destroying their life through addiction?

The pain you’re experiencing seems insurmountable.

In fact, it is impossible to live with a loved one in addiction when you are in isolation.

Your first step is to work on you.

Learn to control what you can, and let go of that which is out of your control. Set boundaries.

The only way I have found to release someone or something, commit to changing me, and setting appropriate boundaries is in a support group.

Check the internet for local support groups in your area.

2. What do I do when someone I love leads a life I disapprove of?

Do not do what I did to my workplace friend thirty years ago.

Instead, commit to loving and respect them as individuals. You can still hold onto your personal standards while supporting someone you love.

If you can’t, distance yourself from them until you can.

Your life — and theirs — will be less stressful, giving you time to work on you, and giving them time away from the tension you’re causing.

3. Should I continue my relationship with someone who abused me?

Do not continue your relationship with someone who has abused you!

Do seek professional help to address the abuse and heal the trauma.

Do connect with people who are – or have been – in similar situations. Support groups work when you work the program.


The recommendations in this edition of our Self-Critic Weekly Kindness Series.

Focus on:

  1. Being kind to you, in order to;
  2. Share the kindness of acceptance.

Is our Kindness Series helpful? Please share with someone else who might find this information to be useful.

Thank you for reading,