NO I DON’T just accept you for who you are: Acceptance vs. Commitment

Acceptance vs. Commitment - textgram_1399304043People confuse acceptance and commitment.  They say that when you love someone, you accept them for who they are. While many elements of that is true, something is missing.
As you make relationship decisions in different areas of your life, it’s important to know the different between acceptance and commitment.Acceptance is like doing a favor for another, and favors don’t last for the long haul, neither does it make the recipient better because the recipient is already making peace with the fact that they cannot change or be much better, that’s why they are being “accepted”.

The problem is that when you decide not to accept that “thing…person…job…relationship” anymore, you disconnect. Acceptance allows a relationship to “begin”, but what is merely “accepted” today might not be accepted tomorrow. Acceptance covers NOW and Commitment covers TOMORROW.

Commitment on the other hand, covers acceptance because you accept that thing, person, job relationship…whatever, for what it is now, but in addition to that, the person who is committed is:

1. Sold on the idea that he /she has the ability to positively influence, equip, help, encourage the other to be better and;

2. Sees very clearly, the ability of/in the “accepted” person, relationship, job etc to improve. 

Commitment takes care of the long haul by default. If you accept something today, it doesn’t mean you will accept it tomorrow. If you are committed to something, by default…it means it’s for the long haul. Jesus can ask us to just accept him, because HE is perfect. We can’t help HIM grow. He however, is committed to us and shows us how to do it to/for each other, by (on one hand) loving us when we didn’t even know him, accepting us the way we are as sinners, but (on the other hand) continuously changing us for the better and inspiring us to reach for a higher standard for our lives.

He accepts us the way we are AS A STARTING POINT but then commits to us by dying for us while we were yet sinners (Romans 5:8), and because of that sacrifice, we are expected to commit to making our own lives a living sacrifice (Romans 12:1) He is constantly chipping away at the bad parts of us so that we can be better. He is not taking our excuses for self-defeat and self-destruction. He doesn’t just accept our view of ourselves that we can’t change, or that our negatives characteristics is “JUST the way we are”. No. He is constantly reminding us and showing us that it CAN be done…that IT IS possible to change and that in fact, we MUST.

“Just because someone accepts you for who you are doesn’t mean that they don’t expect you to grow and be better. It just means they are OK starting from where you are” Tobi Atte  (CLICK TO TWEET THAT)

Take a college athlete on scholarship for example. The Acceptance had to be there in order for that student to attend school. Acceptance “kick started” the relationship. HOWEVER, what matters now is commitment. That means for example, that the college sees that athlete not just as who they are now but who they could be. They commit to helping that athlete achieve his/her personal best because that personal best is profitable to the college.

That commitment is not a bed of roses. It means that most times, while other students sleep, the athlete practices. That means that while others can pig out in the cafeteria, the athlete has to be disciplined to watch what he/she eats. That means that the school invests in trainers, coaches and equipment to create the environment needed to excel. Because of that investment of commitment, the school has a right to check on the athlete’s grades and has a say. The school has a right to challenge any habits, behaviors that will jeopardize the athlete’s personal best.Curfews, diet restrictions, etc. It also means that when the athlete is injured …or when there are legitimate issues, the college comes in and uses its power to step in on behalf of the athlete.

Acceptance starts the relationship. Commitment keeps it going. So why would you want someone to simply accept you for who you are? Get out of that mindset. Look for someone who is willing to commit to the process of helping you achieve your best. That said, you should enter relationships with the intention of doing that for someone else too. Don’t just enter a relationship and cross your legs waiting for that person to show their commitment skill to you. It’s BOTH ways and you both have to be accountable to each other.

That means you have to be willing to let someone help you. You both have to be willing to accept constructive criticism and you must both know how to give it (I have actually written on both. For How to give constructive criticism, click HERE and for How to receive constructive criticism, click HERE) Relationships that are successful aren’t ones where there is just acceptance. It’s ones where there is commitment…commitment to bringing out the best in each other, and help each other grow.

The truth is that some people use the “just accept me for who I am” line as an excuse not to change. Don’t do that and don’t stand for that.

What is the point of getting into a relationship where you’re just accepted? … Where you don’t see yourself changing and growing in body soul and spirit? BY the same token, what the point of being in a relationship if you don’t feel like giving that to someone…if you don’t feel like making a commitment to constantly helping someone else grow in body soul and spirit? Have you ever been in a relationship where someone asks you to “accept them for who they are really because they didn’t want to change? What was that like? How did you handle it?