Acceptance. What is it? Why are we so obssessed with it? “I just wish people would accept me for who I am”. We’ve all whimpered that one, haven’t we? Usually when we’re about 14 and someone made fun of us or snubbed us, which happens a lot in middle school.
It would be great if we outgrew our obsession with “acceptance” like we outgrew our size 5 jeans, but being human and all, we don’t. We still crave it and in some cases unreasonably demand it. Really all that we can hope for is an uneasy truce over the years with those we feel are ‘unaccepting’.
Last week my counselor had me make a list of things that I am powerless over. Try it if you’d like and I suspect you’ll come to the same conclusion that I did. You can’t control other people. Period. Demanding love, acceptance, understanding, cooperation, etc. from other people is a recipe for misery and victimhood. It’s just not possible for any of us.
So, back to acceptance. It’s a fact of life that we just can’t please everyone and doesn’t it seem as if those are the people we focus on? There are a few people in my life who are accepting and encouraging in most every way. However, if I screw up, which I inevitably do via bad choices, they let me know. I love them dearly and tend to take them for granted because they let me, be me.
Then there are the folks in my circle who have expectations that I have determined are beyond my ability to fulfill. I have spent way too much time agonizing and questioning myself, thanks to their lofty goals for my behavior and contributions to their lives. I’m finally at a point where I can say that I’ve met and exceeded many of their expectations and if they must keep raising the bar, then that’s their issue, not mine.
They may never accept me wholly and that’s okay. It’s probably better that I accept myself or keep working on it.
I see a therapist. I like her quite a lot, even though we’ve only been meeting since September, when I decided that my ‘issues’ had become unmanageable, without a pro involved. And she is a pro; like any decent therapist, she asks a LOT of questions, which I really like, because like all bloggers/radio hosts/substance abusers, we love to talk about ourselves and will pay pretty good money to do that. She’ll ask things like, “why do you think that is”, or “why did you react that way” or “what was his/their/your reaction” and like everyone, who seeks approval, I do my best to squeeze out an answer to all of her questions, plus, I have a problem withholding information, which is why I blog and am on the radio. But, sometimes, she’ll ask me something and after rolling it around and squinting my eyes a little and kicking my shoes off, I just have to blurt out “I don’t know”.
Three very scary words for a control freak/know-it-all, like me. Ouch! What? I…. don’t….. knoooooooow. Did that come out of MY mouth? Heresy! But, that’s what I’m working on. It’s why I’m there, chatting with a therapist; to become comfortable with not knowing/controlling/analyzing EVERYTHING. Ever feel that way? That if you admit that you just don’t know something, you’re powerless or useless or even worse, not too bright? It’s beginning to dawn on me, that letting loose with an “I don’t know”, is actually kind of comforting. Sometimes, I want to shout it and alot of times, just saying it, actually makes me smile, even chuckle or maybe even giggle! I DON’T HAVE ANY FREAKIN’ IDEA is admitting that maybe someone else does and you would be wise to shut your piehole and listen for a change because you might learn something about yourself, or even better, someone else.