Accepting People Where They Are So You Can Be Free

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Note: I updated this post in 2018 for clarity and additional resources.

I recently had a bit of a conflict with a friend that kind of pissed me off. I felt like I was being attacked, and when I walked away from the conversation I was feeling super defensive.

My fierce Scorpio instincts kicked in strong. I had this urge to be like, “Okay, screw you, this is over.”

Thankfully, I knew that wasn’t the voice of my highest self. So I did what I always do: I leaned on my tools.

A message came through…

I began meditating and a message came through:

Accept people where they are. Even if they’re not showing up the way you want them to or treating you the way you want.

When you can accept someone where they are, you can let go and forgive. That might mean you repair the relationship. Or it might mean you walk away, but with a sense of peace instead of anger.

Watch the video for more on this, or keep reading below the video for additional guidance.

What it means to accept people where they are

When you can accept someone where they are, in the experience that they’re having, then you can let go. You can forgive. You can release. Accepting someone where they are doesn’t necessarily mean you stick around, especially if it’s an abusive situation or something that is not serving your highest good. It’s about giving you the freedom to walk away with grace instead of anger.

Tweet: When you accept someone where they are, we can experience grace in all relationships @gabbybernstein #spiritjunkie

What does this mean? It means we look at these relationships without getting defensive defensive and feeling like we need to be right. We let go of the need to prove that we have no part in the situation. When we accept someone for who they are, we take ownership of our own happiness and choose to see that the other person is not necessarily well, happy or fully complete. We accept that’s where they’re at.

The practice of accepting

The practice is really simple. Take an honest account of the situation. Witness your own judgment. If you have been seeing yourself as a victim, no matter how right that feels, take it out of the story. Look at the other person in whatever is up for them and say, “I accept you where you are.”

the other person doesn't need correction from you gabby bernstein judgment detox quoteYou can say these words to the person you want to accept, or you can say them to yourself. You can send them this energy in a meditation or prayer, trusting that they will feel it. If you are struggling to accept someone, try the practice of EFT tapping to release judgment. (Check out my free Judgment Detox Mini Course for video and audio guidance through these practices.)

Dr. Wayne Dyer had a beautiful way of talking about what it means to accept everyone, even the people who have done horrible things. Including people you don’t want in your life. He said, “You are not loving the hostile act, but you are loving the spirit that is blocked in those who are harmful and unloving.”

You can accept someone but not keep them in your life

Once you have accepted someone where they are, you can make a decision of how you want to move forward. You can decide, “I’m done. I’ve got to take care of myself. I need to take some space.” Or you can make a decision to say, “You know what? I’d like to clear this. Let’s talk it through. I want to hear what’s up for you.”

When you accept someone where they are, you empower yourself. You create the opportunity for freedom and healing.

Deepen your acceptance practice with my free mini course!

Free Judgment Detox Mini Course by Gabby Bernstein

In my free Judgment Detox Mini Course, I guide you through some of the core practices of my six-step Judgment Detox method.

The mini course is delivered via email, with video and audio to guide you through the practices. It takes just a few minutes a day, and you’ll experience fast relief.

Check out my free mini course here!

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  1. Hi Gabby,

    I had a difficult conversation with a friend and this is really helpful. I was wondering if you thought in order to forgive or accept someone one, if you need to reach out to them? I do have things I could apologize for but I’m not sure if my fear or ego is preventing me from reaching out or if I can love and accept them from afar without needing to reconcile. Do you have advice?

  2. Hi Gabby,

    Great video as always. It’s much easier of course, to accept someone else for who they are and where they are than to accept myself for sttooping to react inappropriately. I have a hard time, sometimes, forgiving myself for opening my mouth when it should have remained closed. The good thing is that I am here right now, corresponding with you about it instead of wondering all of the thoughts and pondering some of them, that have been marching through my head all morning.

    1. Beautiful Kim. Yes, an amazing step is showing up like you did here and witnessing your patterns. Have you read and practiced the steps in my book Judgement Detox? I’ve used the steps to work on forgiving myself, not just others. Sending you lots of love and healing. XOX

  3. Hi Gabby,

    I found this at the perfect time, I google’d something about releasing judgement on myself and others after a small prayer of yours and I was led to this article. Thank you so much for what you do, it’s truly a gift to touch people in the way that you do. Don’t ever stop being how you are! The world needs more people like you!

  4. Dear Gabby…. I have read your last 2 books many many times, presently I am re-listening to Judgement Detox for maybe 4th time. I practice all the suggestions most daily. I feel like something is missing IN me, and have often thought bout writing you. I am 70, a young 70 I think but 70 no less. I have been married to same man 51 years, last year about this time he served me with divorce papers. He dropped the case just before deadline. I never wanted it myself mostly financial reasons but also environment & family. Addressing age and emotional separation would be welcomed. I get that you are not “age’ed” yet but hoped maybe you & your mom or someone u know older might address this sometime. Thanks for being and being youthfully wise.

    1. Thank you for this gorgeous share Judy. I would love to recommend a beautiful book by Marianne Williamson called “The Age of Miracles”. <3

  5. Dear Gabby,
    My husband and I are and have been going through a period of conflict which has resulted in us becoming very detached. This morning an uneccessery situation of conflict arose and I fell into the victim role, i felt i was being accused of creating a bad situation involving my son. This was so not my intention becausr I was not even angry or cross just trying to talk something through that I wanted so badly to clarify my intention. This lead to more conflict with both my son and my husband. I walked away and decided to do something different tiday. I came on your website and searched for exactly this.. After watching your online training on Sunday 15th April my mindset has completely changed and I am feeling so much more positive and confident. I have already began taking spiritually aligned action and it feels good! Thank you for your support and your guidance and your love, satnam.

    1. I cannot tell you what a miracle this is. You can tune into this feeling anytime through prayer and meditation. Sat Nam. xoxo

  6. Yes acceptance is a choice and a hard one most definitely. This is very important in every relationship and that is acceptance.There are two ways to get out of a problem first is accept what’s happening and see the positive and choose a peaceful state of mind and second fight against it be miserable and struggle against the universe. There are a lot of things we fail to accept like rejection. Because the concept of acceptance is easier came across a girl with an eyesight problem and how she faced rejection with her marriage proposals because of it.

  7. Hi Gabby,

    I just went through what I refer to as a friendship “divorce”. I was blindsided and didn’t know what hit me. It is still quite raw and I actually am a psychotherapist and often find I teach what I also need to learn–humbling and true. I help many clients with all sorts of relationship issues and I want to thank you for your concise and heartfelt and wise advise around making peace within myself over what has been quite painful. I look forward to hearing you in Toronto in May 2018. You are a bright light and I am blessed to have found your book on the shelf last week. Thank you for sharing your light with this world so in need of healing. ox Kim

  8. I should also maybe mention that if she doesn’t bring it up I don’t really want to start a conversation around it especially around her wedding so I want to mostly
    Just do this work internally and know that her higher self will see the light in projecting. So my q is really how do you love someone unconditionally, seeing there light and not care and not feel threatened if it is not seen in return.

  9. I also am dealing with sister stress. My step sisters wedding is in 2 weeks where she’s asked me to a do a reading. She was rediagnosed with cancer back in March and this is where the wedding thing came from as a displacement of all the energy attached as they sat in the hospital. When I called to chat with her and touch base and tell her I love her after I heard about the diagnosis she took the call to a FaceTime and went on an hour plus convo about all the ways I’ve sucked as a sister through the years, how she is now enlightened, and how I should get to know her again giving me tips for this and that and that or other sister won’t be able to have this kind of talk. I have had genuine non attacking talks with this other sister more than once… so I knew this was a sad hung for her to say. Anyway. This -needless to say -stressed me the f out and made me feel like WHA?! luckily I had the awareness to realize in the moment that she was likely just angry/displacing the cancer news on me and trying in her own way to clear the air so I didn’t provoke or fight or anything mostly testy nodding my head. I also know that she does not keep many friends for a long time, as she often gives people lists of things they need to improve. Like her friend a New Years resolutions list. So Any way, I am having anxiety dreams about this wedding, trying to feel all the love and happiness to her that I really truly do feel for her but I do not feel emotionally safe around this side of my family especially this sister. I know this goes beyond the wedding and that I really do want to love her as a sister but know that she is not a healthy uplifting person. It brings tears to my eyes as I want to see the light in her unconditionally but I’m struggling to let it go out of wanting to protect myself. I know I control my own energy and self but it feels scary. Any mantra tips or meditations I can do during the day of and leading up to to prepare and strengthen my inner love and strength? So much love for all you do Gabby. You’ve helped me immensely many times and I’ve seen you speak once and you complimented my outfit after which made my little heart sing lol!! Xoxox all love.

    1. Continue to practice acceptance and forgiveness, both of your sister and yourself. My next book, Judgment Detox, will help you repair your relationship with your sister and heal your judgment. That comes out January 2nd. 🙂 For now, there is a lot you can do:

      -Practice the Kundalini meditation for oneness
      -Strengthen your compassion
      -Practice forgiveness
      -Cultivate compassion toward your sister and everyone else with the affirmation, “The light in you is all I see.” You can repeat this to yourself whenever you interact with someone or even pass someone on the street. You can repeat it when your sister or anyone else triggers you with their words or actions. “The light in you is all I see.” Remembering that your sister is likely dealing with a lot of fear and physical symptoms will help you to see her in her innocence and see the light in her.
      -On the day of the wedding, protect your energy.
      -Have some tools on hand to handle family drama when it pops up.

  10. I have been searching for an answer. To walk away with grace speaks to me. It is difficult for me to accept that my highest self is not choosing to clear a painful situation with my sisters. But am I? I feel like walking away and taking care of myself is not clearing the years and years of pain, yet clearing a path that I have never chosen…and that is a path without them in my life. I ultimately feel our parting is best for the greater good of all, but I fear my choice to not respond to texts and e-mails comes across as passive aggressive and not healing. However, I also fear that opening a line of communication with them is blocking me from my new chosen path. I think the universe is telling me to trust my gut and keep going, but my painful fear based relationship patterns are trying to pull me back in. But I will walk away with grace…

  11. Thank You Gabby,

    I truly needed this today. I am struggling with a toxic relationship with my step father and it trickles down to a huge strain with my mom. I am going to put this into practice and just keep trying. I am so thankful to have found you and your wonderful community of love. xoxo

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