“As you become more clear about who you really are, you’ll be better able to decide what is best for you – the first time around.” Oprah Winfrey
Recently, a Daily Post prompt asked the pivotal question: Where do you find acceptance? It was followed by a series of related questions that tied in self, family, friends, co-workers and other people. Since today is Easter Sunday, a Christian feast/celebration, I felt it would be the perfect question to start the week.
It is common practice for most of us to look for acceptance in our circle of family and friends first, and then to broaden it to include others outside the circle. We seek the approval and support of our loved ones and of our secular affiliations; be they religious, professional, social, or collegial. However, as I carefully considered the question, what resonated more was the importance of self-acceptance. If we don’t accept ourselves, with all our quirks, kinks and even oddities, it becomes hard to feel accepted in our community circle. It becomes even harder to accept others too.
Just like the man at the base of the tree, there are other complex life forms around us, we have people of other faiths and cultures but, if we are not grounded in an appreciation of who we are, how can we see value in who others are?
“A friend is someone who understands your past, believes in your future, and accepts you just the way you are.” Anon
When I look at the picture above which shows the diversity in the animal world, I am reminded again that each contributes something of value to the ecosystem, to our world, to our interconnections, in the same way that our human diversity and myriad cultures add same to the world. Yet, within that interconnectedness is the individual and his/her views, preferences and expectations. Does our individuality separate us from the whole? No, I think not. It simply shows that our interconnections are as unique and varied as the range of plant and animal life. Acknowledging our individuality doesn’t remove us from our human community. By the same token, we can learn to accept the differences in our world while maintaining love and respect for our own faith and beliefs.
What I am trying to say in such a convoluted way is that any form of prejudice, including racial, religious and cultural intolerance, is not an act of love or faith but an act of self-hate. If we cannot appreciate the diversity that exists on all levels on our planet, if we cannot see ourselves in others, then we have not fully understood the true meaning of acceptance… Yes, it begins with us; our love for self flows out into the larger world where it becomes our love and respect for others. What are your thoughts? Where do you find acceptance? More below…
“Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and right-doing, there is a field. I will meet you there.” Jalal ad-Din Rumi
Just like bees are drawn to a flower bud for nectar, and trust that the flower will reveal its gifts, when we reach the place within our hearts of acceptance; of self and others, it will color our world brightly with love and gratitude. Some of us expend tremendous energy comparing our lot to others, diminishing our accomplishments, deriding our size, our style, our body parts and then we wonder why we lack peace. We must find that place of acceptance inside ourselves first.
“When you find peace within yourself, you become the kind of person who can live at peace with others.” Peace Pilgrim
God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
Courage to change the things I can,
And wisdom to know the difference.
Above is a short excerpt from the Serenity Prayer. I believe it lays the foundation for accepting our foibles as well as those of others. Just like the seasons, our planet earth is diverse and complex and change is a constant. We experience times of joy and moments of sadness, and our ability to move on depends on our acceptance of conditions, and a trust that things will change. If we don’t find that acceptance inside ourselves, it would be difficult to believe that things can/will improve. Below are the rest of the questions that were posed. Feel free to share your views on any of them.
Where do you find acceptance? For your ideas? For the secret notions you have for who you really want to be? Or think you are? Who are the friends, family or co-workers who are most accepting of your true self? And how do they demonstrate their acceptance? What is different about how they treat you than other people?
Again, What are your thoughts? Where do you find acceptance? Do share. Thank You! 🙂
Positive Motivation Tip: Acceptance begins with us; inside our hearts, our souls, our speech and then our confidence reaches out to see it in others.
- In Easter message, pope urges diplomacy in Libya (seattletimes.nwsource.com)
- Easter Sunday 2011: Pope Celebrates Mass, Urges End To Fighting In Libya (huffingtonpost.com)
- Honesty and Acceptance For Authenticity – Staci J Shelton for Urban FLRT Lifestyle (stacijshelton.com)