So I was scrolling through Facebook last night. My hair tied back, sipping hot chocolate in my pyjamas and fluffy socks. Yes, I actually wear fluffy socks… and I came across this post. It said:
To make someone happy, just give them these three things
I think this list is short of one thing. Acceptance.
Seeing as it’s the 1st of December and the run-up to Christmas, the season for giving, loving and sharing, I was thinking about presents you could give to others.
Not people you know, but strangers, personally I think one of the greatest gifts you can give someone is Acceptance.
I’ve done a lot of volunteer work over the years, I’ve worked with Asylum seekers, and I’ve set up charity events such as art galleries and little craft markets to raise money for charity. I’ve worked with children with special needs.
But after all of this, the one thing I’ve learnt about people is that all we really want is to be loved for who we truly are and be accepted.
So what is Acceptance?
Acceptance is the opposite of rejection. Acceptance is the feeling of inclusion and security for our soul. It helps us to grow emotionally and form stable attachments with others.
If we experience rejection as children this can seriously harm our ability to create stable relationships as an adult. Rejection as an adult becomes painful and may lead us to actions we may later regret.
There are two types of rejection, passive rejection (where people reject you unknowingly) and purposeful rejection (i.e. bullying).
Without acceptance, we may become dissociated from the world around us. We may lack confidence in our abilities. Feel disheartened or sad when we see others form close bonds. We may be unable to find stable relationships.
Why is social acceptance so important?
Relationships are important to social and emotional development.
Friendships, when we are children, offer a wide range of learning opportunities. These include developing speech, language, problem-solving, working in groups and managing competition and conflict.
These are all important skills to learn as we navigate through life however some of us aren’t so lucky. They are rejected socially or worse bullied at work and excluded.
When we communicate with people we connect with them. However much you may like being alone connection is so important. When we connect with people we feel accepted.
Our likeability can be based on looks, talent, personality, speech or many other things. For some of us then we could feel a little intimidated by someone who seems to ‘have it all’. It’s true that not everyone will like you, but acceptance isn’t about liking someone it’s about acknowledging who they are without judgement.
Rejection chips away at your self-esteem. The feeling of being excluded can equal that of actual pain. It can even have serious psychological effects on someone’s state of mind. At extremes, people can turn aggressive and even violent because of it.
I talk a lot on this blog about self-acceptance, which is equally as important, but social acceptance is different. Social acceptance encompasses your ability to navigate through life, happily and comfortably.
People who come across as awkward have become this way through other people’s actions towards them. They have created a space to hide away out of fear that they will not be accepted.
2020 has been a year we will remember, I’m sure. If there’s one thing that we all have in common right now is that we’re not socialising.
For once we don’t have the distractions in life that we usually do. We feel lonely and can understand others who are feeling lonely or living alone and how hard it must be for those people.
But for those who have felt rejected endlessly throughout life, this is how they feel, all of the time.
All you need is Love
Acceptance is such a powerful force. I see it as being under the umbrella of Love.
They say that the greatest gift you can give someone is your attention. Well, imagine the warmth you could bring to someone’s day just by smiling at them.
Accept yourself, accept others, celebrate people’s differences, and be excited about the unusual.
I’ve found that being unique can be lonely sometimes, but sometimes you can magically inspire others to do the same and you start to see their amazing personalities start to emerge.
Wouldn’t it be beautiful to live in a world where we accept each other? Until then, smile at others, start a random conversation with someone in a shop. (At a safe distance obviously) you really could make someone’s day.
What we all have in common is that we want to be accepted for who we are.
I see you beautiful person, that’s hiding, don’t be afraid to show me who you are.