Photo by Ian Barsby on Unsplash

You hear this a lot.

Parenting: That’s unacceptable, we don’t behave that way.

At work from the boss: This type of work is unacceptable.

At work from the employees: It’s unacceptable that they treat us this way.

You’ve heard it and you’ve likely said it.

But, is it (whatever it is) unacceptable?

I was talking with a colleague the other day, and something had happened at work, and they said, “This is unacceptable.” And I agreed, so I said, “You are right, it is unacceptable…

and that’s why, you shouldn’t accept it.”

Nothing is unacceptable, by definition, until we refuse to accept it.

I’m not trying to be clever here.

It can’t be unacceptable if we accept it.

“That’s unacceptable son, you can’t behave that way.” When son continues to behave that way, then what? I’m not here to tell you what to do or how to handle the unacceptable behavior. But I do know this, if you don’t do something, you can’t call it unacceptable. If you are, in any way, accepting it, it’s not unacceptable.

If you are getting the scroogie at work, and your boss is taking advantage of you to the point that you feel it’s unacceptable, well, you have to quit accepting it. How you do that is up to you. If you don’t care about your job, maybe you go out in a blaze of glory. If you do care about your job, maybe you figure out a professional way to handle it.

But if you simply accept it, with or without complaint, it’s not unacceptable.

No one will know it’s unacceptable until we refuse to accept it.

You may have to accept more than you’d like to, in the name of civility, social norms, or keeping your job to feed your family.

But when it becomes truly unacceptable, I hope you’ll make it so.

I’m pulling for you,




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Bryan Hendley

Coach, Teacher, Author, Encourager. - I write words of encouragement focused on personal growth, parenting, and leadership. www.bryanhendley.com