For as long as I have known Jim, he has worn orange clothing. When you are an athlete who runs from dawn to dusk in all weather, you need to wear super bright colours to caution vehicles to slow down or give you a wide berth.

All his friends tease him about his orange sneakers, jackets, vests and T-shirts. Even his car is orange!

“Do you own anything that isn’t neon orange?”

“Have you tried blue? I am sure it would flatter your complexion!”

“Do they have an orange section just for you at the Sports Outlet?”

Jim takes it all in with a good-natured shrug.

This fall, he met a lovely woman and was sharing with me how Kim went from girlfriend to fiancée in a few short months. I was congratulating him on his good fortune and asked what had made him propose after so many years as a confirmed bachelor.

With a catch in his voice, he said: “Well, it was the orange jacket”. He then relayed how he had asked Kim what she wanted for Christmas.  Her answer: An orange jacket, to match his! He took her shopping and helped her into a jacket in a vibrant orange hue. The colour couldn’t have been less becoming on her, but she was grinning from ear to ear, happy to be wearing his colours.

She won his heart that day with a simple gesture of acceptance. No one had done this before her.

Do you practice acceptance?

How many times do we roll our eyes at the quirks of the people in our office or in our life:

“If I hear one more story about her pet…”

“What’s with the yoga gear every day? “

“Here he goes again reminiscing about the old country…..”

When we think about it, we tend to feel truly appreciated when someone accepts us, quirks and all. We flourish when we work or live with people who show they care about what we care about.  So why not return the favour?

Acceptance leads to unexpected reward

  • Show genuine interest for his or her interests. If you can’t find it in you to endorse their practice in a big way, maybe do it in a small way. A friend of mine collects flashy fridge magnets. Not my cup of tea, but I take pleasure in bringing him fridge magnets from my trips. He beams every time.
  • Learn more about a colleague’s traditions and start enquiring respectfully about the customs she cherishes. The benefit? You can take a trip to another place without ever leaving your office!
  • Enquire about the latest developments in the area he loves and notice how he comes alive. You may be surprised by how much you will learn from him. You may even learn a thing or two about an unfamiliar hobby that will feed your small talk at the next office function.

As a coach, I like to look for what is fueling a person’s interest. Why is it so important to that individual? There is often a strongly held value behind their quirky habit or their favourite sport. Knowing this may serve you well, if and when you have to navigate choppy waters in your relationship in the future.

Stepping into someone’s world may open their mind and heart to you and may also open your heart to them.

What have you done lately to accept or welcome someone, quirks and all? I look forward to reading your comments.

6 thoughts on “From Annoyance to Acceptance (or the Tale of the Orange Jacket)”

  1. I love this. Truly, until we let go of our familiar points of view, perpetuated and reinforced over time, to the contrary, we can never know the enlivening impact our deep acceptance can have in the lives of others… and, ultimately, our own. Thank you for this, Dominique!

    1. Dominique Dennery

      Very true Sheila. Deep acceptance does have an “enlivening” impact on another human being. I find myself able to relax and also give the best of myself when I meet with acceptance rather than judgement. I want to remember that the next time someone close to me annoys me! And, acceptance doesn’t mean I won’t speak up if a boundary is crossed, but it will affect how I speak up. Thanks for the opportunity to muse about this!

  2. I am smiling and was taken back to when I was just friends with my ex, who was dating or seeing a number of women but in the end I won his heart from a similar gesture. Every night he would walk his dog Jessica at about 10 pm and I would be sitting on my front porch having a evening smoke or just enjoying being outside the safety of my home. He eventually asked me to join him andJessica … Jessica was trained to stop at intersections and look before crossing, so I would wait with her, look both ways and when she crossed then i crossed with her. This small gesture was what won the heart of my ex-husband. No other woman cared to stop and wait with his beloved dog … we went on to have first 3 dogs followed by 3 girls … then a 4th dog and eventually a 4th girl … (p.s. it is ok we are ex’s, our journeys branched off in different directions) … #LifeIsGood … Wish Jim and Kim a lovely journey in an awesome color … Orange is all about FUN … how #Awesome is that.:o)

    1. Dominique Dennery

      Thank you for this wonderful personal story Alexis. Acceptance does lead to long-term complicity. Awesome indeed!

  3. I will admit I find myself ‘rolling my eyes’ sometimes when colleagues start re-telling stories of their past travel, hobbies, pets, etc. After reading your blog, I realized you are spot on. We tell those stories at work so we can connect on a personal level. By being present and engaged in those stories we show we care about and accept who our colleagues are not just what they do. This allows us to continue a different conversation. Thanks for the poke. I will remember this when the stories begin, including mine! 🙂

    1. Dominique Dennery

      Nicely said Tannis. There are a few situations where I have to work harder at patience and acceptance. We are human after all! I like your idea of reminding ourselves of the times our friends have had to listen to our stories. Puts it in perspective 🙂

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top