It’s a term coined by the late Dr. Albert Ellis. To me, it’s means choosing to see whatever others think, feel, say or do as being understandable given what their life experiences have been. That doesn’t mean we have to like, agree with or tolerate what they do. There are a lot of things others think, feel, say and do I don’t agree with. I'm hearing a lot of it from neo-Nazis and white supremists lately. However, I strongly suspect that if any of us had walked a mile in their shoes, grown up in the environments they did, had the life experiences they did, we might very well have turned out the same way.

I like to use a formula to explain: NATURE + NURTURE = PERSONALITY. Where NATURE is all those constants about human development and psychology, NURTURE is a person’s life experiences, and PERSONALITY is their pattern of thoughts, feelings and behaviors. It’s like a + b = c, where a is a constant, and b is a variable. If a stays the same, and you change b, c changes. Likewise, a person’s PERSONALITY is greatly influenced by their life experiences.

The opposite of UOA is what Dr. Ellis called Label and Damning. It’s “blatant overgeneralization” – calling an apple bad simply because it has a bruise, or a barrel bad because it has a few bad apples. It's what neo-Nazis and white supremists do. It's what racists do. But it's what a lot of others do as well regarding those folks. It’s human nature to attend more to differences between us and others, and to attach undue and unhelpful importance to those differences. I've always believed we're hardwired to do so from our distant past when it meant life or death more than it does today. But that’s also what has always driven and sustained conflicts, and why it’s irrational. It only makes peoples’ lives worse than they need to be. That never makes sense. There’s a lot of that going on today. The conflict in Charlottesville was an acute example of it. But it's generally true of our political and ideological discourse in this country. It has been forever, but it's worse than ever today, probably because of the effect of having more media than ever.

There’s nothing wrong with tactfully challenging others. It’s often important we do. Like when they have racist beliefs and expouse them openly. But we never can control what others think, feel, say or do, and labeling and damning those we disagree with won’t get them to consider changing. They usually just irrationally double down on their beliefs in self-defense. Neo-Nazis have some quite irrational demands, i.e. that races should be separated. It's irrational because it's never going to happen, they don't have the power to make it happen, and it just inflames them to cling to such demands. That needs to be challenged, for all our sakes.

But we're never going to agree on everything, and if we’re ever going to find a way to live side by side when we disagree, choosing to have UOA is step we need to take, even if others are unwilling. Perhaps if we do, they might be more likely to follow. The other route is to become "antifa", and that's just going to make an already bad situation even worse for all of us.

Images

This nation (and world) needs a big dose of Unconditional Other Acceptance

Comments

Alberto Ceras 2's picture
Alberto Ceras 2 4 weeks 4 days ago
#1

Damn all the "there's good in everybody" cowards. You're going to tell me about the good in Hitler? The good in Stalin? The good in James Fields? The good in the driver that killed 13 people and wounded many others in Barcelona? The good in those who killed three of our co-workers in Mississippi? The good in the lunatic president Trump? You want to reason with them, naturesmasterpieces? You want to "accept them"? Perhaps I should have given Michael Schwerner's wife that advice instead of holding her in my arms.

Get your goddam heads straight, fence straddlers.

naturesmasterpieces's picture
naturesmasterpieces 4 weeks 4 days ago
#2

Alberto, an ounce of prevention is always worth a pound or more of cure. Nowhere is that more true than in preventing all the examples you provided. In each case, the person in question started out as an infant and progressed through life like we all do. They may have had some dysfunctional thoughts, attitudes and beliefs along the way, and those may have fathered some aberrant behaviors. What I do know from being in education for over 40 years is that there were hundreds, maybe thousands of points where others had to decide what to think, feel, say or do in response to these people. And my guess is that it was handled like it's usually handled. Someone said or did something that didn't help, and only made the person in question worse; caused them to get defensive instead of reflective, to double down on their irrational thoughts or behavior rather than consider modifying them. IOW, they were labeled and damned rather than being greeted with Unconditional Other Acceptance. Do that hundreds and thousands of times and you have the recipe for a really disturbed individual. Choosing to have UOA doesn't make me or anyone else a coward. It makes us pragmatists. The other way isn't working. What's your solution? Imprison or kill off all those people with belief systems or behaviors you don't like? That sounds like Trump and Sessions, and the neo-Nazis and white Supremists. Isn't that what ISIS and the Taliban do? Joe Madison run an ad where a former white supremists says he's changed and is sorry for what he did. That didn't happen because someone got in his face, or kicked his ass. It happened because reason won out. I would never urge anyone to turn the other cheek. But if your only move is to label and damn those you disagree with, and get in their face like some did in Charlottesville, you're going to have more Charlottesville in the future.

naturesmasterpieces's picture
naturesmasterpieces 4 weeks 4 days ago
#3

BTW, my head is quite straight, and choosing to have UOA is not straddling the fence. It's an affirmative choice I make. Like Einstein said, doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results is insane. He also said you can't solve a problem with the same thinking that caused it. Then there was my wrestling coach who once broke up a fight I was in and said, "Son, don't ever get into a fight unless you expect to get hurt". I'll fight if I have to, but I'll do everything I can to avoid one first, for my sake and the sake of others.

rs allen 4 weeks 4 days ago
#4

More of the old I'm okay, your okay BS?

And you claim you've been a teacher for how long ? Forty years you say.

If that's true then you should be ashamed of yourself, what you teach? Freshman P.E? What, did everyone in your classes get a participation medal for showing up?

How do you think we've come to the point we are now and probably headed into worse? Because most of white america has been walking around with their heads up their self-indulged collective asses babbling about unconditional acceptance for hundreds of years. And you've added your two cents worth in forty years to that blindness. Congratulations!

You should be ashamed of yourself.

Alberto Ceras 2's picture
Alberto Ceras 2 4 weeks 4 days ago
#5
Quote naturesmasterpieces:

Alberto, an ounce of prevention is always worth a pound or more of cure. Nowhere is that more true than in preventing all the examples you provided.

But no one DID prevent it. It is the finished product, the present evil, that must be confronted.

Forty years in education? Better, by far, forty years in learning.

In another comment you referenced Freud. Read this as an aid to further learning:

https://www.amazon.com/Freud-Making-Illusion-Frederick-Crews/dp/1627797173

Freud: The Making of an Illusion Hardcover – August 22, 2017

by Frederick Crews

From the master of Freud debunkers, the book that definitively puts an end to the myth of psychoanalysis and its creator

As for Albert Ellis, I suggest some further reading and commentary as a guide to learning.

There’s this:

http://www.christiandiscernment.com/Christian%20Discernment/CD%20PDF/Roots%20pdf/08%20Ellis.pdf

and this:

https://abc-counselling.org/albert-elliss-legacy-ten-years-on/

Albert Ellis’s legacy, ten years on

The tenth anniversary of the death of Dr Albert Ellis

Reflection on the Legacy of Albert Ellis

by Dr Jim Byrne – 11th July 2017

and, finally, this:

http://www.rebt.ws/recentarticles.html

SCIENTIST AT WORK | ALBERT ELLIS

From Therapy's Lenny Bruce: Get Over It! Stop Whining!

By DAN HURLEY
Published: May 4, 2004

naturesmasterpieces's picture
naturesmasterpieces 4 weeks 4 days ago
#6

Actually, it's not "I'm okay, you're okay". That's transactional analysis. UOA comes from Rational Emotive Behavioral Therapy or REBT.

RE: being ashamed of myself, luckily, I have USA or Unconditional Self-Acceptance, so shame won't be an issue.

I agree with one thing though, millions of Americans have had their heads up their asses for a long time, and still do, and do a lot of nonsensical babbling, and still are. We just disagree on what that entails.

naturesmasterpieces's picture
naturesmasterpieces 4 weeks 4 days ago
#7

"In another comment you referenced Freud". Doubt it.

What we're really witnessing is irrational thinking - thinking in ways that makes ones own life worse and the lives of others as well. So what's your plan to stamp our irrational thinking? Make it illegal? Tried prohibition before for drinking. The results would be the same for thinking.

When the counter protestors were shouting at the neo-Nazis, what reaction did you see? Did they get reflective and contemplate the error of their ways? That's not how it works.

Did getting physical with them make them go back home and rethink what they believe?

So what's your plan?

In the end, we only ever control what we think, feel, say or do. We never control what others do. Some think, talk and act like they do, but they don't. And trying to control what others think, feel, say and do typically just cause quite the opposite of the desired effect.

So what's your plan? How are you going to eradicate such thinking?

My way, I'll get to have a conversation with others, and get the chance to challenge them tactfully but assertively. It may or may not work, but it's better than the alternatives others contemplate or suggest.

Alberto Ceras 2's picture
Alberto Ceras 2 4 weeks 4 days ago
#8
Quote naturesmasterpieces:

"In another comment you referenced Freud". Doubt it.

In the end, we only ever control what we think, feel, say or do. We never control what others do.

Yes, someone else referenced Freud - my error and please accept my apology.

It is possible, in many instances, to control what others do. The German people, to their shame, did not control Hitler although they could have. The u.S.A.'s people could control (and could have controlled) Trump just as they ultimately controlled Nixon. Control of others, under law, is one - a major - responsibility of elected, hired and appointed government officials. Laws themselves surely have control of others as a primary purpose. Trump, in this instance, gave encouragement and effective permission to the white supremists to parade in Charlottesville. He exercised control of a sort. The Charlottesville police, had they acted in a timely and appropriate manner, might have - almost certainly could have - controlled certain events and prevented much of the violence. Their primary purpose surely was crowd control. The u.S.A. could have controlled, could still control others and prevent, much of the sickness, death and suffering that daily occurs in Yemen by failing to supply the Saudis with the lethal means.

I don't need to go on. Decent people will understand.

naturesmasterpieces's picture
naturesmasterpieces 4 weeks 4 days ago
#9

Alberto, technically, you don't control others. You can control what you say or do in ways that can influence them into complying, but ultimately, no one can make another person think, feel, say or do anything. Congress could have impeached Nixon, but they couldn't have made him resign. He chose to resign rather than face the consequences. Thoughts and behavior are always the product of choices made deep in someone's brain - the product of signals generated within specific neurons. How could anyone really control what neurons fire in someone's brain. Many choices people make are quite automatic from practice and rehearsal. That can be a good or bad thing depending on what thoughts and behavior they give rise to. The fact that so many choices are automatic is why so many people don't see that they have choices, including as to how they want to feel (that's one most people really miss). It's why many believe others are controlling them, but that's not how it really works. We can try to influence the way others make such choices, but no one can get inside someone's head and actually control how they make such choices. That's actually a good thing, and can be very empowering if people are taught how to use it to their advantage. For example, I teach kids to respond to bullying with "You can think, feel, say or do whatevver you want to about me. That's YOUR choice. But it's MY choice how I look at myself, and how I feel about myself. And you don't get to make that choice for me, unless I let you. And I choose not to". Eleanor Roosevelt once said "No one can make you feel bad about yourself without your consent". She was right. Dr. Victor Frankl, a holocaust survivor said, "Everything can be taken from us but the last of human freedoms. To choose one's own attitude in any given set of circumstances - to choose one's own way". He was right too. That said, hearing the same thing over and over again has the same effect as repeating or rehearsing a thought. It creates a "rut" in someone's brain that's easy to slip into, and hard to stay out of and get out of, just like real ruts on dirt roads. People often succumb to repetition - we call it brainwashing. Lots of that going on, i.e. Fox News listeners. But no one can ever really control what others think, feel, say or do. I could put a gun to someone's head and threaten to blow their brains out and they could still say "F--- you!". Then I have a choice whether to follow through, or not. If they comply, it's technically because they choose to comply rather than risk the consequences. Unfortunately, because people do sometimes comply, others get the false impression that they were in control. Not really.

rs allen 4 weeks 3 days ago
#10

If the patient has cancer you cut it out,, irradicated any traces of it and then throw poison at it in case theres any cells hiding in the shadows.And likewise you don't screw around with talking to evil. You give no space for it to grow. There is no pacts of peace to be made, you give no quarter.

Once again, america has had for 300 and stilling counting years an over abundance of your wonderful REBT.

Take it to the bank. No justice, no peace.

naturesmasterpieces's picture
naturesmasterpieces 4 weeks 3 days ago
#11

Actually, REBT was developed in the early 1950's.

So what's your plan to eradicate this "cancer" or "evil" and make sure it never comes back? How you going to do it? Imprison or kill every person who has such beliefs, and expounds on them publicly? Tough talk is cheap.

Human beings have tried to eradicate thoughts and behavior they haven't liked in the kind of ways you're advocating, at the family, societal, and international level. And it's never worked, and more often than not just exacerbated the beliefs and behaviors in those who engage in them. Because you never have control over how people are going to think or behave after you do things to them, and they often get worse.

You can't eradicate thoughts by banning them, shaming people, or locking them up. Was South Africa able to stop Mandela's beliefs? Our best hope is always going to be to challenge them tactfully but assertively. And part of making that possible is allowing them to surface rather than go underground. So is having and demonstrating UOA.

naturesmasterpieces's picture
naturesmasterpieces 4 weeks 3 days ago
#12

The hate beliefs and speech we're seeing today are not new, and didn't go away, and then come back. They've always been there, festering beneath the surface. The fact that they have surfaced may be the best thing that has happened, and we may owe Trump for encouraging it to. It's like the immune response in our bodies. Some viruses and cancers never get detected by our immune response until it's too late. The more detectable they are by the body, the better immune response the body can mount. That's analogous to what will happen here. As hate beliefs and speech become more public, populations will respond with the equivalent of a robust immune response. Of course, if we don't address the underlying causes, or contributing factors that allow such beliefs to get a foothold, or that foster their growth, there will always be "illness". i.e. poverty.

rs allen 4 weeks 2 days ago
#13

Ellis didn't invent anything. At best he codified a coping system. It's pretty much the same coping machinism most people seem to naturally fall to in an attempt to buffer themselves against all the injustices they personally suffer daily as well as all the injustices they witness writ both large and small all around them. And I say almost naturally because it's not natural at all but a rewiring that starts at a very young age both at home and within the institutional structure. Matters of wrong become a mere differing of opinions, injustice becomes a back burner issue to be debated farther on down the road and self-reflection about any complicity becomes non-existant because, after all, one has to go along to get along.......that's just the way it is.

Do I have the idea teach?

rs allen 4 weeks 2 days ago
#14
Quote naturesmasterpieces:

The hate beliefs and speech we're seeing today are not new, and didn't go away, and then come back. They've always been there, festering beneath the surface. The fact that they have surfaced may be the best thing that has happened, and we may owe Trump for encouraging it to. It's like the immune response in our bodies. Some viruses and cancers never get detected by our immune response until it's too late. The more detectable they are by the body, the better immune response the body can mount. That's analogous to what will happen here. As hate beliefs and speech become more public, populations will respond with the equivalent of a robust immune response. Of course, if we don't address the underlying causes, or contributing factors that allow such beliefs to get a foothold, or that foster their growth, there will always be "illness". i.e. poverty.

Well do tell!

Did you just tumble to that? Have you ever taught any of that in your classes? And just what kind of addressing have you put into the underlying causes? And when you speak of poverty, of what sort might that be?

naturesmasterpieces's picture
naturesmasterpieces 4 weeks 1 day ago
#15

rs allen: you're right, Ellis didn't INVENT anything. It's like that saying "Genius is looking atg what everyone else has looked at, and seeing what no one else has seen". He borrowed much of what he developed from ancient philosophers. Epictetus I believe was one of his favorites - a stoic philosopher. That's why REBT can be so effective. It's really just what some people already get on their own, and something anyone can learn and adopt for themselves.

Actually, what I taught in my classes was the "tools" from REBT, toward teaching kids to better manage what goes on inside their own head in response to their life events, be it poverty or anything else. Helping them do that is one of the most important things any of us could teach kids in our lives, and might even be one of their best shots at getting past poverty early in their lives - poverty that often does understandably otherwise take a toll on kids. But we can never do it for them. It's something only they can do for themselves. However, we can get pretty good at showing them the way, and providing guided practice.

rs allen 4 weeks 12 hours ago
#16

it's not natural at all but a rewiring that starts at a young age both at home and WITHIN the institutional structure. Matters of wrong become a mere differing of opinions, injustices become a back burner issue to be debated farther on down the road and self-reflection about any complicity becomes non-existant because, after all, one has to go along to get along.......that's just the way it is. Be a good corprate citizen or be a loser.

Sorry jack, you speak of banks accounts while I speak about the povery of spirit and soul.

Perhaps there wouldn't be so many heads that needed to be rewired and screwed back on if from the beginning children were taught real history instead of a whitewashed fairy tale, if in social studies they were taught the truth instead of some utopian paradise, if in civics they were taught the honest story of how government is done and decided; then perhaps instead of the huge disconnect between what they think they know as it's been demanded they regurgitate and what the world actually is and experienced around them after they walk out of the class room every day they wouldn't need any interdiction at all.

You want to be a teach? Try that little idea instead being a snake oil salesman.

Alberto Ceras 2's picture
Alberto Ceras 2 4 weeks 10 hours ago
#17

Irrational numbers:

https://www.blackagendareport.com/social-justice-quiz-2017-children-ten-questions

Social Justice Quiz 2017: Children – Ten Questions by Bill Quigley

Question One. The U.S. Census Bureau reports that 14.8 percent or 46 million people are living in poverty in the US. How many of those people living in poverty are children?

A. 4 million
B. 8 million
C. 12 million
D. 14 million

Question Two. What percentage of children live in a poor family in the US?

A. 5 percent
B. 10 percent
C. 15 percent
D. 20 percent

Question Three. How does poverty rate compare for children under 18 and people over 65?

A. People over 65 are twice as likely to be poor compared to children.
B. The poverty rate of people over 65 is about the same as that for children.
C. Children are more than twice as likely to be poor as people over 65.

Question Four. On any given night, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development reports over half a million people are homeless in the US. How many of those are children?

A. 10,000
B. 50,000
C. 80,000
D. 120,000

Question Five. On any given night, how many children are in foster care?

A. 50,000
B. 100,000
C. 200,000
D. 425,000

Question Six. On any given night, how many children are incarcerated?

A. 7,500
B. 20,000
C. 35,000
D. 50,000

Question Seven. About 1,900 children die of cancer each year. How many die from gun injuries?

A. 400
B. 600
C. 1000
D. 1200

Question Eight. The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (formerly Food Stamps) helps about 20 million children each month for an annual cost of about $30 billion for the children each year. The Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children under 5 (WIC) provides food and healthcare referrals to 8 million people, for an annual budget of about $6 billion. The National School Lunch program feeds about 30 million children each school day and the School Breakfast Program feeds 14 million as well for an annual budget of about $16 billion. Together, these programs for children spend about $52 billion dollars. How does the spending on these programs for food for kids compare to what people in the US spend on pets?

A. These programs spend ten times as much on children as the country spends on pets.
B. These programs spend five times as much on children as the country spends on pets.
C. These programs spend twice as much on children as the country spends on pets.
D. The country spends more on pets than it does on these nutrition programs for kids.

Question Nine. Of the thirty five countries in the world which are part of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, OECD, where do you think the US ranks in terms of child poverty?

A. The US ranks first and has the least amount of child poverty.

B. The US ranks tenth out of thirty five.
C. The US ranks twentieth out of thirty five.
D. The US ranks thirty third out of thirty five.

Question Ten. The United States spends more money on healthcare than any country in the world. Where does the US rank in the death rate of infants within the first year of life among the top 35 countries in the OECD?

A. The US ranks first and has the least deaths among infants.
B. The US ranks tenth out of thirty five.
C. The US ranks twentieth out of thirty five.
D. The US ranks twenty ninth out of thirty five.

Answers.

One. Answer to Question about children in poverty is 14 million. See Census report.

Two. Answer to question about percentage of children in poverty is 20 percent. See National Center for Children in Poverty.

Three. Answer to comparison between the poverty rate of children and people over 65 is that children are more than twice as likely to be poor as people over 65. Kaiser Family Foundation.

Four. Answer to Question about homeless children is 120,000. See HUD.

Five. Answer to Question about children in foster care is 425,000. See US Department of Health and Human Services.

Six. Answer to Question about children incarcerated is 50,000. See Youth First Initiative.

Seven. Answer to Question about children dying from gun injuries is 1,297.

Eight. Answer to Question comparing government spending on child nutrition with spending on pets is that the country spends more on pets, over $61 billion per year according to the U.S. Bureau Labor Statistics.

Nine. Answer to Question about infant mortality is 29th. See Bloomberg News.

Ten. Answer to Question about rank of children in poverty in top 35 countries, which is the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, OECD, is 33rd. Bill teaches law at Loyola University New Orleans. Quigley77@gmail.com

rs allen 4 weeks 6 hours ago
#18

This really isn't for you Alberto because I know from where your heart comes, but for context.............

those questions and anwers that could be and would be far different if there wasn't such a provery in the spirit and soul of this country.

Thanks for the exclamation mark!

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