Acceptance. We all want/need/crave it throughout our lives. We first need it from our parents, siblings, and extended family. Some people aren’t fortunate enough to ever feel that. Then we need acceptance from friends, teachers, and coaches, employers, co-workers, our adult peers, and even our spouses and own children.
Why do we need acceptance? Why is it so important for us to feel loved? Besides the basic needs of life…..food/water, shelter, and warmth, we also NEED love and acceptance. Humans are socially wired, and need each other. I know there are some people who really don’t care if they are accepted or liked, and I will admit, that I don’t care if I am liked by certain people. Life is too short to waste our time on negativity or hate. However, if you’ve done your best to be kind, considerate, honest, generous, helpful, and truly nice to someone, why wouldn’t they like or accept you? Why would they reject your sincere efforts to be a good person? Rejection is painful.
As a child, I was fairly well liked by my teachers. I was quiet and did my work, so that helped. I did have a teacher or two in high school who just really didn’t like me though. It was a miserable experience! I hated jumping through hoops for them, only to always be shot down, or criticized, no matter what I did. It was a hard lesson to learn about the human spirit, and how mean people can be. My husband had the same experiences with a few coaches along the way. No matter what type of effort he put in at practices, games, etc. the coach was never satisfied. I think everyone can relate to similar experiences.
Why? What gives someone the satisfaction of rejecting people? Is it a power play? Is it fun having control over someone’s future or feelings? Or does it make them feel good to hurt someone? Are they miserable people who only feel good when they are hating and disrespecting someone else? Does it make them happy to criticize everything someone does, even when that person is doing their best? Is it jealousy? Are they rejecting you for the way you look? The way you talk? The way you dress? The career you chose? Your social status? Where you come from? Who you marry? Misunderstandings, miscommunication, and grudges can also be a source of contention for us…..and it’s very unhealthy spiritually, mentally, emotionally, and physically. As a wife, mother, and educator, I can’t imagine ever treating someone so unfairly. I want to be an example of how to treat people.
A friend recently told me about her 2 year old granddaughter getting scratched by another child. Not only was her granddaughter physically hurt, but she was confused as to why this other child would intentionally hurt her. We do what we can to protect our loved ones, but sometimes we can’t protect them from everything and everyone. Teaching kindness, acceptance, forgiveness, and love is far better than teaching them to be jealous, spiteful, or resentful. Teaching them to stand up for themselves and walking away from negativity and meanness is much harder. They still need love and acceptance.
I guess this is all a part of life, and learning how to deal with difficult people. I have learned that there are people in this world who I can never make happy. I can’t control their thoughts, their actions, or what is influencing them. I can only continue to be myself……trying to be the best version of myself, and how my parents raised me. I can never be cold to someone who has done nothing to hurt me. In fact, sometimes, I find myself being nice to people who have been unkind or unfair to me, and really don’t deserve my niceness! I get annoyed with myself for doing that at times, but I just can’t help it! I don’t want to go through life making anyone feel rejected or hurt. I can’t. I have to keep telling myself though, that when I encounter rejection, especially when I have only been kind….it is not my problem. When a person intentionally rejects you in order to hurt you, you are not the problem. As hard and hurtful and mean as it is….as long as you continue to be the bigger person, it is not you.
Choose kindness, not hate. Choose acceptance, not rejection. Wouldn’t you rather be known for your kindness and acceptance instead of someone who intentionally hurt another by rejecting them? Don’t be so caught up in yourself that you hurt someone else with rejection. Remember…..acceptance is a human need. Be kind.