The Difference Between Accepting and Valuing Matters

A few years ago, I was talking with a friend about the upcoming holidays, and where she would be spending her time. She shared with me that she felt accepted by her family, and valued by her besties, which was something altogether different. Her comment comes to mind each holiday season. The difference between accepting and valuing matters. Googling this topic, as writers often do, accepting and valuing are used interchangeably. The results get mixed in with “values”. Some suggest that accepting and valuing indicate emotional intelligence and empathy. These keywords are also found intertwined with diversity, equity, and inclusion. And yet, there is a difference in their meaning, and I believe it matters.

[For the purposes of this article, these concepts are being considered in light of their present-day meaning, not what these words meant in the 1800s. The meaning is also being considered as it relates practically to accepting versus valuing your fellow humans. If you have any questions as to the author’s intention, see the definition provided by Max Lucado.]

Acceptance – Extrinsic

Accepting someone is the “action or process of being regarded as adequate or suitable”, or “receiving a favorable reception; approval; favor”.  According to Merriam-Webster, the quality or state of being acceptable. The act of accepting someone is dependent upon certain conditions. If you meet the guidelines, if you do the right things, if you act a certain way….  you are deemed accepted or acceptable. It is an “if, then” … conditional situation, where you may or may not receive approval. Your acceptance (worthiness) is decided and agreed upon by others. It is a measure of your extrinsic worth, something that comes from outside of you, that you must earn to belong.

Being Valued – Intrinsic

Being valued, on the other hand, has come to mean being highly regarded or esteemed, appreciated, important, worthwhile, hold dear, even loved, treasured, and cherished. It is your innate worth as a human being without doing anything. It is your admirable qualities that are intrinsic in nature – your uniqueness, coolness, essence, you just being you.  Valuable is who you are to those who see you. Your value is immeasurable. Having value or being valuable is something you just are, without anyone deciding anything (including you). 

Take a moment to think of the people with whom you spend the most time. Think of those you may see at Thanksgiving and during the upcoming holiday season. As humans, we want to be accepted, to fit in, and if we’re lucky, to belong and feel valued.

Consider the difference between accepting and valuing.

  • Do you think people feel accepted or valued by you?
  • What might you be saying or doing that may cause people to feel they don’t belong?
  • How can you demonstrate, to those that matter most, that you cherish and value them?

If you are fortunate enough to share your holidays with others this season, think about the difference between accepting and valuing. How you think about these words, and your resulting actions, will make a difference.  

Kristin Clark is a certified Axiogenics Coach and co-author of Living a Richer Life; It’s All in Your Head. Kristin has coached hundreds of people from a wide range of backgrounds and beliefs, industries, and professions. She teaches Self-Leadership, engaging, empowering, and igniting leaders’ potential to help improve their performance, relationships, and quality of life. |