By overcoming a fear of rejection or losing a part of who we are and accepting others, we can feel natural and accepted.
“The most dreadful poverty is loneliness and unloved.” – M.T.
When do you feel lonely? When do you feel unloved? Everybody needs to be accepted, and when this need is not met, I think most people would feel lonely and unloved, and it hurts.
How do you get the need to be accepted met? Keep in mind the following:
- Everybody cannot take you; there will always be somebody unable or unwilling to take you for who you are.
- Many people share the need for acceptance; you want to remember that other people’s condition is as significant as yours.
- While it is important to be true to yourself, it doesn’t mean you should hold tightly onto the image you think you are or should be; you need to be flexible.
A fear-driven attitude of being ‘nice.’
Some people try to be accepted by everybody – sometimes literally – for who they are. I used to be one of the people-pleasers or an ‘approval-addict.’ Unfortunately, it won’t happen unless you become a chameleon. Dr. Harriet B. Braiker states in her book Disease to Please that “Your concerns and fears will grow as you associate with being polite rather than being authentic. It’s better to accept that conflict is inevitable and to learn to deal with it effectively.” (Braiker, 2002)
Some people try to deter negative emotions from others by being nice because if you are friendly, you’d think nobody would want to reject you. You’d assume that everybody would accept and love you for your niceness. However, you are not authentic if you give a yes to others when your heart tells you no. Could people accept you for who you are in this way? No.
Their needs are as valuable as yours.
Would changing the way you handle things deprive you of your self-identity? To get your need for acceptance met, you may sometimes become blind to others’ need to be accepted. Everybody is different. Their upbringing and past have much impact on how they react to certain situations. Naturally, when one person tries to be taken by somebody, the other person might need to adjust a part of them if the person is willing to meet your need. This process should be reciprocal. Some people from troubled backgrounds may find it too threatening because they feel “if [they] give a part of [themselves], [they] are losing it forever. . . .” (Dayton, 1997, P. 92)
The truth is we are not losing it forever. As long as we have it, we can share it without losing it. You want to be accepted, but does it mean that you should not change your attitude, outlook, actions, etc., because “it is who you are” and that you can expect others to accept it? What if everybody claimed the same? There would be no acceptance but resentment or loneliness of not being accepted.
Holding tightly onto who you are, you may be rejecting others, but if you don’t learn to own the sense of who you are, as Dr. Braiker says, “[Y]our hidden motivation may be to manipulate others into liking you or at least into not rejecting you.” (Braiker, 2002, p. 40)
Relationships are typically not black and white; they are usually ‘shades of gray.’ Most of you must have heard somebody tell you that you must always be who you are. But being always who you are does not mean you should be rigid with your self-identity. If you favor or even pride in your lifestyle of abstinence, while other people may accept it, they may also want to drink alcohol or smoke cigarettes. But, then, you should get their lifestyle as well. It doesn’t mean that you are being a phony by bending yourself; it only means you care about the relationships.
You can be authentic and still be accepted. However, it would help if you were original and taken without feeling guilt, insecurities, self-doubts, and loneliness.