August 1, 2015

Why we are Acceptable as we Are

Why we are Acceptable as we Are

In a perfect world, everybody would feel validated and worthwhile all the time. We would then be able to pass on this feeling of worthiness to others. There would be no need for…
  • Unfounded shame
  • A feeling of not having enough
  • A feeling of not being good enough
  • The constant anticipation of overt judgment from society, or even from loved ones

As it is, the current state of turmoil in the world often teaches us fear. Humans are constantly bombarded with the message of scarcity—in material possessions as well as security. In brief, we can never have enough, or be safe/loved enough. How many reality shows, news outlets, infomercials, and advertisements, attempt to teach us this “truth”?

Why Acceptance Isn’t Freely Given

Here is the challenge that perpetuates the drive to have, and be, “more”: none of us are perfect. Further, some of us have introverted or perfectionist personalities that don’t allow us to compliment anything or anybody outside of the ideal.  If every person had this attitude, almost every single individual on the planet would walk around with an inferiority complex.

How does one live up to millions of unique ideas of perfection? It isn’t possible; nor should it be necessary. We are good enough as we are.

It reminds me of the title character’s words to the self-righteous, infinitely clueless Polonius in Act 2, Scene 2 of Shakespeare’s No Fear Shakespeare--Hamlet. When Polonius confirms that he will treat certain visiting actors as they deserve, Hamlet replies:  Good heavens, man, give them more than that! If you pay everyone what they deserve, would anyone ever escape a whipping?”  How true!

Validation in the Home

Acceptance and approval are synonyms for security. The home is usually where we first learn these crucial attributes—or not. For some, childhood is where they were grounded in a base of loving support, guidance, and affirmation. For others, not so much. Many of us deal with insecurities and limitations of our own that we pass on to our families unknowingly. It’s hard to overcome this natural tendency.

My Family

My whole family is reserved. In fact, we are more likely to correct each other, or criticize each other, than to gush compliments on what the others ARE doing right. Focusing on the negatives is much easier than searching out the positives.

For example, in no way do my kids always do what I want. They rarely do what they’re asked when they’re asked to do it—if at all.  In addition, they aren’t as responsible as they could be. Yet, I have been training myself to concentrate on the positives of each child:
  • Intelligence
  • Determination (when desired)
  • Health
  • Common sense
  • Kindness to others
  • Good friends who aren’t leading them astray

My Conclusion

Society would love us to believe that we must strive for its warped idea of “perfection”, or be labeled as “lesser”. The reality is that excellence ain’t happenin’ soon--anytime, or anywhere. That’s the biggest truth of life.

In the meantime, every person makes his own choice on whether to accept himself, and others, “as is”. Some of us have perfectionist tendencies that hardly allow for acceptance short of the unattainable ideal. This may be manifest as early as childhood. That’s why we need to especially be aware of the subconscious messages we’re sending our families...Are we telling them they aren’t good enough?

Do you accept yourself and others “as is”? 

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