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!

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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.

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  1. I am currently going through a divorce and getting out of a very verbally abusive relationship. I hit a point in October of 2016 where I just knew it was’t healthy anymore for myself, and for my children. I have two boys ages 5 and 3 who have been struggling emotionally with the changes in the home. There are days where I feel defeated and allow their dad to effect me, but with the help of your book, I have been spending more time caring for my health. Spiritually I was missing something that I could not reach fully in this relationship and felt held back. You are truly an inspiration for me during this time and I feel like I will be ok despite everything going on. Thank you!!!!!!

    1. I am sorry this is happening and grateful that this work serves you.
      Thank you for sharing your story. Big love and blessings to you on your journey <3
      g
      xo

  2. I know I am late in discovering this video, I found you by way of one of my yoga teachers. This message hits so close to me right now. After ending a recent relationship I have been left hurt, confused, and emotionally stuck. You help me realize that I can’t change his cruelness or what challenges he is going through but that I can accept it as it is and wipe my hands of emotions that don’t serve me. The only thing is to accept who he is as a person (not a good one) at this time and move on. Thank you for adding a little goodness to my day!

  3. Hi Gabby, I am a Miracle member. Your guidance really helps, to accept people where they are, will help avoid some of the hurt and disappointment with people.
    Do you have any tips on how to excercize this concept with family or friends, in order to protect your own feeling and self esteem. Not what you would call “abusive” relationships… because when were together it is a very nice time, but more… flaky, just not showing up how you thought they would, inconsistent, level of interest…doesnt always invite me to occasions, causing hurt and disappointment, which leaves you feeling confused and less than. Any tips on how to keep this type of relationship in the right perspective, without walking away, but not letting it make me feel upset?

  4. My sister has had a problem with me and I don’t understand or know why, I have been really devastated , I was looking at all your words of wisdom and this popped up, You are amazing and you are right, I need to find peace inside and project love and peace to her.
    Thankyou and I’m going to watch it again.
    Also, the addiction, does that include tobacco, as I am a year smoke free , I wish I had found you ages ago.
    Big hugs
    Xx

  5. Thanks for this video. It’s brought new light to how I was interpreting the situation with the person I am always having a conflict with. I will try to make this sink and resonate with my heart.

  6. I logged in today and this was the first thing I saw (even though it is not a recent post). I have been asking my Ing for help all day and this is it! I found my biological family a few months ago and I have been having a hard time dealing with this. I am supposed to speak with them on the phone today, so the timing was incredible. I need to just accept them for where they are and move on…amazing that I found this right when I needed it. I just had to listen for my Ing to do her thing 🙂

  7. Hi, Gabby. Thank you for being you. I am so grateful to have found you. I have a question…Like many I’ve been on this spiritual path for years, and I’ve made great leaps and bounds, overcome many past obstacles…my question is this, I get the idea of seeing the mirror in a negative relationship aspect, and I understand I have the power to forgive, and walk away if need be…but how do we do the work for ourselves or how do we take back our power in relationships when the other person is a child or parent of ours? I am experiencing both in different ways right now and some of it is extreme, causing me great sadness…I struggle with letting go maybe because I have a need, or feel I do, to make sense of why this person is suddenly being so cruel to me when he has always been my rock, my go-to for support and encouragement…how do I move forward and let go of this need while honoring myself, the relationship, and the other person?
    Namaste,
    Lisa

  8. Hi Gabby!

    Thank you for this video and for all that you do.

    How do you know when you should stay & work forward or walk away when this is a continuous struggle in a relationship? For instance, when I am not accepted for my interest in spirituality & growth (where this is not well perceived in the culture I’m living in & well as from my partner who is from this culture).

    Sending love from Europe,

    Jessica

  9. I am a bit delayed in listening to this video but I needed it so much after a difficult conversation with a friend involving other people last weekend. I felt very hurt and attacked and being a Scorpio too I really thought forget it and have been moving away from people all week. (Just this point was a major revelation for me as my family always think Im wrong in acting this way – it could be but its great to understand its a natural Scorpio response so I can be gentler with myself and not take on board others judgements). I am about to give one friend a call and listen to their perspective as I feel distanced and judged by them….. and very hurt. I feel they valued others thoughts and feelings over mine because they are ‘sensitive’ and I come across as probably stronger but deep down the situation really hurt me and I struggled to interact with anyone the day after and cried so much….. It all makes me feel sad but your video has really helped so thank you Gabby xoxo

  10. Perfect timing. I am currently dealing with some significant issues with a business partner and my (also Scorpio) instinct is the same as yours. I feel taken advantage of and stepped on. It may be time to part ways, but this meditation will give me the opportunity to remove myself from the frustration and assess the situation rationally.

    Thank you

  11. It’s amazing, struggled so much with this in last few days and feeling the need to be right. They biggest lesson I learned is not making someone wrong doesn’t mean I am making them right. Tough one to swallow… but if we look like you said and accept them where they are. This is easy, and of course the struggle is not real either ! Just ego LOL thanks ! I can always depend on you to be real and deliver the message needed to breakthrough!!

  12. Hi Gabby, perfect timing! I just had a friend freak out for no reason and end our friendship of 10 years in an angry text. It was so strange. I’m ok with it ending because looking back now I see how toxic it was. But how can I recover from the shock & drama of this. I feel contaminated. She has been in this situation before with lots of other people but I’m not used to this crazy drama. I just need to know how to clear this for myself. I feel tangled. I need peace. Thanks for your advice!!

  13. Thanks for this timely vlog! Recently worked very hard to assure the success of a friend. While I received no “thank you”, others who barely worked on the project were handed personalized thank you cards. It was very disheartening and I was ready to walk away from the friendship. Thanks for reminding me to use my tools and rely on my higher self.

  14. What I would want to clarify is that was the friend someone you care deeply about and want an intimate relationship with outside of this one occurrence? We can easily take this out of context and read into it what we want and then derive our own validation for what we are doing. Getting clear and having an open heart means being open to reconciliation and completing any energetic distancing that happened as a result of our own filter that created our upset with the person.. as nothing anyone does creates our energetic drama or upset. Yes, they are the trigger and catalyst for helping us get clear about what behaviors are acceptable and one that are not, then we work with them to transcend the energy that created the upset! Thanks Gabby for posting this and helping us transcend black & white ideals of right and wrong and asking us to go within and ask for help when we are not clear. xxo

  15. Hi Gabby,

    This is very timely for me because I recently decided to end a 23-yr long friendship. I followed your advice and the person felt I was being “condescending” and dug their heels in and needed me to admit that my position of accepting the situation and her as they are was condescending. It honestly made me want to say “screw you” all over again but I just am going silent and letting go of the relationship.

  16. Hi, I always fight with my brother. I feel that when we are apart I miss him,but it is a vicious cycle. I dont know what to do. Is my brother and I love him but we are like opposites. We just dont get along. Any advice?

  17. Hi Gabrielle, this message came for me at the most Divine timing…I have been arguing with my mother repeatedly this past week. I just finished your MCM’s book for the 4th time on Sunday, I’m doing ACIM at the same time and i felt it was a bit much doing both at the same time, but really needed to go back to basics with the guidance as I was getting a bit off course. I also read all of Spirit Junkie for the first time before redoing MCM the fourth time – I had never been able to finish the whole book previously, but now did so in two days. Had the most beautiful experiences while reading these books – what an inspiration you are/have been. Previous sinisters have been removed – I totally overlooked you in the past as just some PR fluff – but your dedication and turn around has been truly inspirational for me, the simple tools you offer ppl to save their lives in just beautiful :-). This time round i went so deep in ‘shining a light on my egos shadows’ things came up that I feel I had been spiritually bypassing for years. We forget how far we have come when things have been really quite good – I’ve had a temporary dip, but I’m
    sure positive things are on the horizon – I’ve healed from so much it’s almost scary to remember how I used to think & feel. Wow. Commitment is always the way to go to not get sidetracked.

    It’s amazing to see how when we have grown so much, sometimes ppl like mothers are still the same. I keep wanting to help her, I get upset when she doesn’t eat healthily to my standards etc, that I forget that some ppl really just don’t want to change and there is nothing you can do but let it go & accept them right where they are & right where you are too. Amen & thank you. T

  18. This arrived at the perfect time for me as well, Gabby! Thank you. It gave me the nudge I needed just at the right moment. I hope you find peace in your own message. Much love xoxo M

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