The Right Thing in the Wrong Place

If I was, You Would…

If I was successful, you would probably admire me.

If I was beautiful, you would probably desire me.

This is not acceptance.


If I was rich you would probably listen to me.

If I was confident you would probably imitate me.

This is not acceptance.


If I was straight you would probably consider me normal.

If I was gay, you might consider be abhorrent.

This is not acceptance.


If I was addicted, you would say I lacked self-control.

If I was fat you would say get a smaller bowl.

This is not acceptance.


If I was to fall down you would write me off.

If I couldn’t get up you would probably scoff.

This is not acceptance.


If I was athletic you would be impressed by me.

If I was confrontational you would be distressed by me.

This is not acceptance.


To be fully accepted by everyone means being a fraud to someone.

To be fully accepted by yourself means being free to be a someone.

You be you… I’ll be me… This is acceptance.


Everyone wants to be accepted right? To be told that they are fundamentally a decent person, to be respected for who they are. In essence to be seen as ok. What would you do for that acceptance? How far would you go? Would you try to quash how you really felt? Would you wake up 2 hours earlier to cover up all the blemishes with a brush? Would you take a drink, drug or dose just to be like the rest?


My whole life I have craved acceptance. Yet only now have I finally found the acceptance that I truly wanted... It was my own all along. It was inside me this whole time but I just wasn't looking for it. I was so obsessed with gaining yours. You might have been my teacher, my friend, my girlfriend, my colleague, my teammate. It didn't matter. I wanted you to like me. Thought I needed you to like me.


But you see to do the thing (s) that makes you liked by a certain person will make you disliked by another.If you're edgy and controversial you'll either impress or distress. It is impossible to truly be yourself and be fully accepted in every way by every one. So there's a choice to be made. Embrace the journey of discovering who you truly are and accept that not everyone will like it. Or mix and match your personality based on your context and surroundings so everyone will like you. Be all things to all people. And never truly yourself.


I definitely haven't got this acceptance thing all figured out. If like me you're prone to constant analysis and self- reflection, if you're constantly nit- picking... obsessing over minor parts of your appearance, character or decisions - then you know how exhausting that is. That thirst for everyone's' acceptance can't be met by being fully yourself.


Here is just one thing that I have come to learn and experience for myself. Its truth is powerful and resonates with me. You may agree, disagree or be unsure. But you see that's not really the point is it?


~I'm significantly insignificant.

This world existed before me, spins in spite of me and will outlive me. If I died today some people might feel some sadness. But they'd move on. Life would go on. They would eventually be ok. No one really needs me so that they can survive. True? Maybe. Pessimistic? Possibly.


You see for people to be proud of me I thought had to be certain things. I thought I had to have an unwavering faith, academic success, be pursuing a career etc etc etc. Yet when all this pressure from within drove me to depression, suicidal desires and eventually hospital, everyone else's life still went on. They still got their degrees, continued their faith, moved on, up and out. No - one needed me. No -one needs me. Not really.


To you such an outlook may sound really defeatist. But let me further explain the freedom that reaching this position has given me. Finally understanding that no one needs me has begun to free me up to be myself. Instead of constantly assessing how my actions might be interpreted or how my choices might affect other people I feel freer to do just be. To show kindness where I can, have fun when I can and treasure this life that I'm fortunate enough to be living.


Rather than constantly desiring to be somewhere else, doing something else, something better, more academic, more fulfilling of my potential I have found a level of peace in being where I am. In working in a supermarket I interact with hundreds of people daily. There is no expectation upon me other than serving other people. Anything else is extra. The philosophical conversations that seem to keep happening are amazing. Sharing mental health experiences whilst processing lentils, bananas and milk is incredible. I've realised that although there is no expectation from me in this job to do those things, I still can. I like it. I find it fulfilling.


The hardest person's acceptance to gain will always be your own. Why? Because you see everything. You see the blemishes, the fatty parts, the anger, the hurt, the jealousy and the pain. When the mask comes off you are left with you. To gain acceptance from other people isn't actually that hard. Just say the things they wanna hear, do the things they wanna see and be who they want you to be. But if you forsake who you truly are you will always feel conflicted and will never feel free to just be yourself - and live the life you want to live.

 

It's not wrong to look for acceptance.

It's about where you look

Don't look to others for the thing that is inside yourself.

Darren


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Darren Shields

Healing through Honesty

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