At some point, we want acceptance into somewhere or from somebody.
This section should’ve been titled “Rejection,” as that would be more appropriate for the event that hurts us. However, it’s the need for acceptance that leads us to the road of rejection and our continued pursuit for the time we get to hear yes. Feeling accepted goes hand in hand with feeling like you belong.
It’s also a validating feeling in knowing you are “good enough” with wherever you’ve been accepted. It gives the strength and assurance you’re doing something right with your life. Acceptance builds the barrier around the child in all of us who feels like our adult exterior is nothing more than a mask. We become a part of something and therefore, no longer need to worry.
The need for acceptance is such an ingrained part of the human condition that others have used it to manipulate others. They’ve created groups called “us” and preach how it’s better to be part of “us” than to be a part of “them.” It inherently creates an in group and an out group and in turn, has the out group create another in group and the cycle continues.
Some of us go through life looking for acceptance from just another person. If this one person can just accept you, it would give validation to your existence. We can go through turmoil trying to please just that one person and never come to a resolution. Should that person pass away, we spend the rest of our lives always feeling rejected.
Sometimes it’s our work we want to be accepted – our blood, sweat and tears given over to another who will judge it. The work only means something if they are willing to accept it. In some instances, lives could be at stake if it’s not (e.g. a doctor giving a life saving medication to a patient).
Rejection hurts… but being ignored is turmoil.
There is nothing more heart wrenching than becoming invisible, losing all contact with humanity. At the very least, rejection still gives you a sense of community if you are on the outskirts. Being ignored, on the other hand, elicits behaviour that we consider on the extreme ends of our personality; sides of ourselves we never thought we would see.
What are we really trying to validate in our lives?
Deep down, we are all flawed, broken human beings. We do not know what qualifies as something to be accepted or rejected any better than the next person. That’s why ideas that seemingly come from nowhere take the world by storm. No algorithm can predict it and no expert can see it coming. It just happens.
We have the illusion of safety with the people we accept, or don’t accept, into our close circles. The people who are in are the people who will uphold the image we have collectively tried to portray. Yet, even those groups falter, splinter, disperse and die. They cannot see their own end.
In an age of small communities and local villages, acceptance was of prime importance for social and economic means. Today, we live in a global village where not being accepted locally doesn’t need to be our stopping point. With over seven billion people on the planet, almost all connected together, we can find our tribe who will accept us. If that search becomes difficult, then we start our own.
By demanding acceptance from others, we give over our own power to them. If we dwell in any rejection we receive, we allow that group, or person, to keep that power over us. Nobody can take power over you unless you allow them.
Don’t let a need for acceptance be your breaking point. Sometimes, when you’re just who you are, it’s all the acceptance you’ll ever need.