March 24, 2016

Why we are Acceptable Now

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 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 and loved enough. How many reality shows, news outlets, infomercials, and advertisements, attempt to teach us this “truth”?

Why Acceptance Isn’t Freely Given

Perfectionism (We Expect too Much.)
Here is the challenge that drives us 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!
Diversity (We Aren’t all the Same.)
A couple of weeks ago, I saw the Disney movie, Zootopia. I recommend this movie highly. The animation is gorgeous, the acting is great, the plot is suspenseful, and the themes are significant.
One of the main topics was tolerance. The characters were all animals--mammals, actually. They lived in a world full of stereotypes. Society was divided along the lines of size, breed, gender, and occupation. Anyone who tried to break through comfortable labels was scorned, underestimated, or even feared. Yet, there were a few brave souls who broke the mold:
  • The sly, untrustworthy fox actually became a trusted friend and skilled detective.
  • The cute, small bunny grew into a  powerful police officer. She solved crimes and caught criminals through determination and intelligence, not strength.
  • The fox who was a childhood bully became a productive member of society.
  • The short mob boss helped to catch a criminal as a favor.
Comfortable labels were torn away in Zootopia; the residents learned that they were no longer effective.  Predator and prey, small and large, everybody had something unique and unexpected to offer.  All animals contributed to make their world a better place.
My Conclusion

“But the Lord said to Samuel: ‘Do not look at his appearance or at the height of his stature, because I have rejected him; for god sees not as man sees, for man looks at the outward appearance but the Lord looks at the heart.”—1 Samuel 16:7 (NIV)

Some of us have perfectionist tendencies that hardly allow for acceptance short of the unattainable ideal. By this standard, nobody would ever be good enough. We would become a society of only judges and critics. Not healthy!

Whatever our individual strengths and weaknesses, we all have something to contribute. Our differences build a stronger world. It limits our personalities and experiences if we expect everyone to act according to outward appearances, or stereotypes, only.

Do you accept yourself and others without judgment?

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