There are many instances in life where we think “if I was so and so, I would have done extremely well”. Then there are other instances where we are given “advice” to try and be like someone else or try to ingrain certain qualities. More often than not, we even try!
I knew a child who I was very fond of and my heart would shatter seeing how he behaved with his parents. When he tried hard to please them, they had better things to do than appreciate him and to let him know that no matter who he was, they would still love him unconditionally. When he saw his parents didn’t care, he would rebel to get attention. Sometimes he would throw tantrums – for legit reasons, and he got told off – not for his behavior but his characteristics. For example, “you are such a bad boy” or “you love to trouble people”. When we don’t separate behavior from characteristics, there is a process that occurs in a child’s heart – “I am the way I behave”. He was a good kid, unfortunately, he grew up to believe he was a bad person.
Sure, it was his parents’ fault for ingraining these statements into his psyche but now, it’s up to him – whether he wishes to change that or not.
When we try to be things we are not, we kill ourselves slowly. I would babysit this other child, who was always told to be like her older sibling – no matter what she did. How do you deal with those expectations? Why should you be someone else when you can be yourself? Is it because we want to be accepted?
Acceptance by the ones we love is sometimes so important to us, not only as kids but also, as adults. And sometimes acceptance makes us do things we aren’t happy, proud or even conscious about – it morphs us into something we aren’t.
When we are not in our true essence, we are against the flow. And when we are against the flow, eventually we will be tired and live a tired life.
So, how much acceptance is enough?