Acceptance Letter from…Me

We writers know how rare an acceptance letter is and the thrill that runs through us when one comes. It validates all the time we put into our work, and more importantly, it shows that someone considers us talented and believes in us. In Sally Field’s famous words, “You like me! You really, really like me!”

This post, however, isn’t about how to net the elusive acceptance letter from publishers or the like. Rather, it has to do with getting acceptance from perhaps an even tougher buyer—oneself.

Up until a couple of weeks ago, I thought I had mastered self-acceptance. I’ve been forced to exercise it for my entire life because of my limitations inflicted by my disability. From a young age, I had to adjust to seeing others do what I couldn’t and be at peace with that. It took some learning, but over time, I’ve grown to accept things as they are and not strive for things I truly can’t have. For instance, I crossed off climbing Mount Everest from my bucket list years ago!

Due to my handicap, my parents and I have needed to adapt to a life that isn’t always the norm. This has attracted attention from many, and often, those onlookers draw mistaken conclusions. I wish I could say the exposure to criticism has made me not care what others think, but in fact, it’s made me painfully sensitive to it. The majority of questions I ask and contemplate in an average day have to do with whether or not someone disapproved of my actions.

This is how, I now realize, self-unacceptance can sneak up on you. I discovered this recently, when I was in an emotional freefall caused by somebody’s opinion of me—or so I thought. The more I thought, spoke, and cried, though, the clearer I saw the actual culprit: me. Although I felt I accepted myself, in reality, I hadn’t.

fire-and-water-2354583_1280I realized that most of the time I’ve spent obsessing over other people’s views of me, I was battling my own insecurity. Sure, the outside opinions I heard were there and they hurt, but my overreaction, I suppose, has been the result of my lack of peace with myself and my feelings. In other words, I was shadowboxing with myself and pasting someone else’s head on my opponent.

Full disclosure, my epiphany hasn’t ridded me of this tendency, but my awareness of it is helping me to fight it. I’ve come to see the need to come to grips with my emotional limitations as I have my physical ones. And while I still believe you can have a healthy regard for what others think, you can’t let that govern the way you see yourself, just as your feelings for a close friend wouldn’t change based on another’s view of him/her.

In summary, we all have flaws, and many times, we do need to work on them. Some, however, can’t be fixed, so we have to accept them. There’s only one person we have no choice but to spend our lives with—ourselves. Hence, why not try to make the relationship work? If we don’t, we may not end up with many others.


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