I accept everyone for who they are, but that doesn't stop me from having my own feelings. Having feelings does not equate to caring.
To Each Their Own
The issue of acceptance is one I approach in a flippant manner. I'm not flippant towards the topic of acceptance because it isn't a serious matter; no. I find acceptance to be very important; the colloquial use of the term acceptance and the modern expectations of the act of acceptance are what I approach flippantly.
Many individuals—I'd venture to say a majority of the world—feel as if it is upon others to accept them for the way they are so long as the way they are aligned with the current social trends and standards. When it comes to current social trends and standards I want to pack up my essentials and head into the nearest forest, never to be seen again, because I find them as palatable as drinking curdled milk. Delusions bred from current social expectations make it extremely difficult to hold opposing views, and that creates a rickety bridge of hot-and-cold exclusion.
The Mass Social Delusion
Oftentimes—all too often, I should say—people mistake the privilege of acceptance for a God-given right. In a utopia, where everyone follows the same mentality, rules, and standards, this would be an excellent trait to have included. Everyone deserves to have their opinions accepted, or at the very least have the existence and expression of their opinions accepted without judgment and hate. However, it is often forgotten that acceptance is a privilege we seek out from others, and to assault them both figuratively and sometimes literally for their lack of acceptance towards you is asinine, immature, and illogical.
At no point throughout another individual's life are they required to listen to your opinions or accept you, minus a few situations such as you being their superior at work, and the same goes for you as it concerns them. Even further, it is upon you to walk away from expressing your own opinion or to ask the other person to stop expressing theirs, and at no point should you or the other person take offense at this.
Asking someone to stop expressing their opinion is a situation that can spiral out of hand quickly, but it is important to realize that you are in the right in most cases you ask someone to stop speaking to you for your own comfort; unlike your acceptance of their opinions not being their right, it is your right to tell someone to stop speaking to you altogether and to take the appropriate action to make it stop if need be. When it comes to this mass social delusion of assuming that acceptance from others is your right, I used to be a very big culprit.
How I Understand Acceptance
In the past, I believed that it was upon other people to accept me, and those that didn't were bullies or otherwise bad people. I quickly realized, however, that my desire for acceptance could easily infringe upon the rights of others.
For example: When I was still attending school I would often seek acceptance from any group of people regardless of race, creed, belief, etc. When I attempted to sit with the different cliques and converse with them I found myself rejected more often than not. I learned this wasn't because of my social demeanor, but because of my race most of the time. Upon finding out it was my skin color that was getting me rejected I was appalled, baffled, stupefied, and any other descriptor that suits the situation. My first thought was to chalk this up to racism, but later on in life, I revisited these memories and realized it wasn't racism that made them reject me, it was that they weren't required to accept me into their clique for any reason and could deny me under any basis they wanted, even my race.
That is when I also realized that it was upon me to accept them and their desires, not for them to accept me and mine. Upon meeting the same groups after realizing it was upon me to accept them I explained how I felt at first, then how I felt after my epiphany, and many of them actually allowed me into their groups despite my more-than-apparent differences.
Coming to Terms With Futility
It is more than understandable for you to be upset when others reject you for who you are and your opinions. Being rejected doesn't feel good in any situation, and it can feel as if the damage caused to you by the rejection will last a lifetime. Even further, if you are bold enough to stand up to those who reject you, you may see yourself battling with their opinions ad nauseam and causing yourself more damage. The important thing to realize is that it is, in fact, you causing the damage to yourself. These individuals you are trying to convince to the contrary of their own beliefs are usually only becoming more solidified within them as you waste oxygen on them, all the while your anger, sadness, or any other feeling is building up within you.
The most important thing you could ever do in situations where others refuse to accept you is to recognize the futility of seeking the acceptance you desire from those individuals. I pose you these questions: Is someone, or a group of someones, who reject you worth your time? Why would you want to be part of a group that requires you to fit their requirements to even speak to you? Do you find exclusion more attractive than inclusion? Does their acceptance of you change anything for you in the long term? Is this their right to deny me, or my right to be given acceptance? The list of questions that you need to ask yourself could go on and on, and at the end of the day, you'd most likely have exhausted yourself for no reason.
The Not-So-Novel Solution
So we have come to terms with the indomitable fact that acceptance from others is a privilege and not a right, but that doesn't mean we cannot find the acceptance we seek elsewhere or even create it within ourselves. I know that I have a deep sense of revulsion for myself and almost everyone around me, this stems from the abuse I suffered when growing up but that is beside the point, and over the years I have learned to create a space for myself where I am accepted. This space can get a little lonely as it is my space and no one else may occupy it, but it is a necessary space for me to have because at the end of the day I can return to it safely and mull over my thoughts. If you are just like me, then this space is a must-have if you hope to ever be accepted by anyone else. Now, this is where the not-so-novel solution comes into play full-force.
Solving the problem of seeking acceptance where rejection runs wild and rampant starts with first accepting yourself and your own mentality. My biggest issue is my deep-seated need to take offense at everything, especially when rejection is directed toward me. This is where my space of acceptance comes in, and the space of acceptance that I've created for myself is within my writing.
Within my space of acceptance, no one can tell me when I am right and wrong, but I am forced to determine that for myself; the profundity of being able to observe yourself and the world around you without being judged is all the acceptance I need in most cases. Integral to this observation and acceptance is my ability to take into account all the opinions and perspectives of other individuals, without the worry of consequences. If you do the same then you'll find your life becomes full of acceptance, without the need to seek the privilege of others' acceptance.
Acceptance Will Flow Like Mud
We would all love to go full-bore down the road of acceptance in our race car that runs on opinions, picking up every loving hitchhiker we come across and bringing them on our accepting journey, but we need to put the brakes on those dreams at first. It is possible to get to that point where we finally make it to the fast lane of friendship, love, and acceptance but first, we must navigate the confusing backroads of self-development that act more like a maze than a road map to success.
Should you find your way out of that confusing mess (I'm confident you will), then you'll eventually find yourself at the on-ramp to friendship freeway. Friendship freeway has many lanes, and only one isn't jam-packed with frustrating traffic. Progress will be slow, merging onto the friendship freeway is dangerous, and there are many accidents that occur while driving every day so it is important to be a calm, caring, and proactive driver.
Always remember you cannot control how others drive, only how you are going to react to others and avoid collisions. The entire goal is to make it to the fast lane, and once you are there it should be smooth sailing so long as you stay wary of those also trying to merge into the fast lane. Even there, accidents occur, and we must always stay aware of and correct our faults, as well as accept and work with the shortcomings of others.
This content reflects the personal opinions of the author. It is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and should not be substituted for impartial fact or advice in legal, political, or personal matters.