This is a rant.
Can you think of someone in your life who has accepted you as you are? If not, do you think you will ever meet this person? What someone thinks of you influences their acceptance or lack of acceptance of who you are.
You have probably heard the widely told advice not to care what people think. Well, sometimes you should care what people think. But there is a balance to both sides. Do not exaggerate one side over the other.
Being accepted gives you a sense of belonging. It matters what some people think of you because that is part of healthy human relationships.
We want to be with people whom we like, and we like them because of certain things they do or the qualities they possess. Belongingness is a psychological need that when you don’t belong, you may experience despair or suicidal thoughts.
You may notice that most people what you to change to fit a version of you that makes them comfortable. It’s like you are an object to be fixed or a program to be updated. They expect perfection from you, and a slight error (according to them) on your part makes you fall short of what they want you to be, or rather what they expect you to be for them.
I had a friend who was embarrassed by my ethnicity because of hearsay from other people. I would wonder why I was right there, and yet I was being judged because of others people’s words, rather than myself as a case study, someone with firsthand experience that he had access to.
We had to attend a social event and introduce ourselves. He asked me to lie about who I was and pretend to be in another tribe for that moment, in fear of what people would say and so I could be welcomed.
I introduced myself because I am proud of who I am, and if someone else isn’t proud of me, that is their problem. I respected his different opinions, lifestyle, and world views. I had no problem with our differences; I cared about him all the same. Unfortunately, on that day I realised he had a problem with me. He did not accept me for who I was.
Your acceptance of another as they are doesn’t guarantee that it will be reciprocated the same way. However, you will find peace in giving people unconditional acceptance because it gives them a support system.
Ask psychologists and social scientists if social support and being accepted by your circle helps you stay out of trouble, and they will answer in the affirmative.
Having a support system made of non-judgemental people, who are not overly critical and are accepting of the person you are, is essential for your mental and spiritual healing. No wonder, in behaviour therapies, the therapist must show ‘unconditional positive regard’ for the client.
Well, there is a difference between being accepted as you are, and being enabled with harmful behaviour. People who accept you might be critical of you sometimes, but they do not exaggerate it. Since they genuinely care about you, they will not help you to fall deeper into problems. They will patiently lift you up instead of tearing you down further.
Some of us have the privilege of being accepted as we are by a few special people. With our weak points and our strengths, they love us and guide us respectfully to improve in areas that we can improve. Although to appreciate such ones, we probably have been through times when we felt unaccepted by people whose acceptance of us meant the world.
Yes, it is possible to receive unconditional love and acceptance from other people. However, not everybody will see your worth. And if they do not see it, all efforts of trying to prove yourself to them will be wasted. There are over billions people on earth, walk away from vain pursuits. If you are worthy to them, they will learn your worth better in your absence rather than in your persistence to prove it.
People accepting you as you are may seem like a rare phenomenon if you do not practise it yourself.
Is there a loved one in your life whose situation you have not accepted? Perhaps you try to mould them into your own image and it frustrates you every time they do not comply with your expectations.
Maybe they have a medical condition that they have to live with for the rest of their lives, but you have not accepted the reality. Or maybe they are aggressive in their pursuits, and you feel they should be less so.
How many people in your life have you accepted them as they are? Do you think you are that person to them?
Self-acceptance is vital. With a healthy level of self-acceptance your life and decisions will not be controlled by the pursuits of people’s acceptance of you. Can someone accept you as you are? Yes. It starts with self-acceptance. YOU.
Have you accepted yourself as you are? Or does your self-acceptance need a boost?
Life is for living. Keep living. Don’t give up.