Last Updated 21 Mar 2021

The Meaning of Acceptance

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Human beings are social animals.  That means that they interact with each other apart from reasons of propagation.  One of the ways human beings interact is through communication.  However, not all communication is successful.  Oftentimes, communication between two or more individuals may cause misunderstandings and conflicts to occur.  In this paper, Rogers present his outlook towards acceptance and understanding, its importance and the benefits of achieving this.

The Meaning of Acceptance and Understanding

In a lecture given by Rogers (2007) in 1956, the premise of his lecture was that he firmly believed that all individuals have an inert tendency to grow, mature and be responsible for their lives.  His ideas with regards to the meanings of acceptance and understanding were influenced by both religion and philosophy.  Throughout his lecture, he emphasized that an individual would only be able to understand one self and others only if they have embraced the acceptance of one self and others.

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Rogers (2007) focused his lecture on a number of key points.  The first is that he discovered that in the long run, it would benefit the individual to accept himself or herself and to refrain from acting as though they were someone else.  This is because when an individual lives a fallacious life and portrays an identity that is other from his or her own, that individual would not be able to act in a calm and pleasant manner.  This would also lead to the failure of the individuals in keeping and maintaining personal relationships with others.  As a result, he believed that it is extremely imperative that an individual must learn to accept who and what he or she is.

Once an individual is able to accept himself or herself for who and what they are, it is only then that they will be able to begin to accept other people.  This process is more difficult than the acceptance of one self.  Because human beings are social beings, they interact with each other.  However, there are instances when it becomes difficult to accept the words, thoughts, expression and especially suggestions of others.  This is because it is the nature of the individual to become judgmental about the statement and reactions received from another individual.  In fact, it is on very rare occasions that individuals accept criticism and suggestions given by other people, particularly if they view these people are inferior to them.  Some examples of these relationships are between parent and child, professor and student, or employer and employee (Rogers 2007).

Rogers (2007) stressed the importance of accepting other people for who and what they are with regards to not only the development of deeper and more meaningful relationships with each other, but also this would become a valuable experience for the individual as well.  This is because once the individual has come to accept who he or she is; it will be easier for the individual to accept other people for who they are.

As such, it will make the individual understand certain behaviors that another individual exhibits and would be able to understand and be more patient with one another.  Furthermore, because individuals are accepted and understood by others, they are more comfortable in exposing their true colors, instead of living behind a façade, deepening further the relationship between two individuals.


Although human beings are social animals, human beings are also known to be judgmental towards other people.  This attitude has been seen long throughout mankind’s history.  For instance, unexplainable occurrences that happen in the environment have long been associated to gods, goddesses and deities.  When explorers from the West discovered various lands, they referred to the inhabitants of the land as savages or barbarians simply because they look different and their way of living is different.

Even today, individuals from certain cultures are stereotyped by others.  Most of these stereotyping are degrading on the part of the individual being address.  As such, they are extremely apprehensive to accept who and what they are.  Instead, they acculturate themselves and become somebody that they are not.

However, no matter how hard a person tries to change, certain behaviors and attitudes would still come across other people because these are part of the person and would often be expressed unconsciously.  As such, this would confuse other people or would cause them to shame him or her further because they are not being true towards himself or herself, but towards other people as well.

Only when the individual is able to accept who he or she really is deep down, from gender preference to his or her cultural ancestry, this individual would not only be able to be more comfortable in expressing himself or herself in society because they are not worried on how they should act to please other people but also they will be able to establish stronger, more fruitful and deeper relationships with other people since only those who are willing to accept them for who and what they are will be those who are worth having a relationship with.


  1. Rogers, C. (2007). What understanding and acceptance mean to me. In H. S. Friedman & M.
  2. W. Schustack (Eds.), The personality reader (pp. 241-49).  Needham Heights, MA: Allyn & Bacon.

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