Acceptance is a big word and an even bigger undertaking as a way of being in this world. “If only” others could see things the way I do. Oops, did I just say that?!
If only they could see themselves the way I see them, they would be much happier. If only I could wave a magic wand, then the world would be a better place and everyone would get along and be more loving to one another. I felt like an alien that was just dropped into this big scary world where people hurt one another physically, emotionally, and verbally. Here I was this bursting bundle of Love. What was wrong with this picture and everyone in it, I thought. Why can’t they see who they really are like I can?
I also naively thought that if I just showed them that being kind, caring, loving, sweet, etc. that people would want to change and be the same way. What I didn’t realize was all that wishing and showing how ‘they’ should be was nothing but self-importance and judgment oozing from every pore of my body. Oh, and did I mention, I felt sorry for all those poor people. Wanting everyone to be and see everything through my eyes was pure arrogance. Furthermore, it created such a deep pain within me of feeling isolated and alone and powerless. I call it the “I’m the only one” syndrome. You know, am I the only one that can see what’s going on or what’s wrong? Or, I’m the only one that seems to feel this or that. Because of this, I felt disconnected from everything and everyone around me and that no one could possibly understand how I felt, deepening the sense of isolation. It was a no win paradigm.
It took decades to crack the illusion of seeing things only from a rosy perspective. It shattered my world and it horrified me to see that I was not this perfect example of LOVE that I had portrayed and thought myself to be. It brought me to my knees to see the depths to which I realized I had set myself up as this superior being in the name of Love. At first, I felt shame and it was difficult to see the illusion fully and the falsity of it.
Deep down as I began to recover from the horror of witnessing all this and uncover many layers of falsehoods, I knew that this shattering had to occur in order to discover and experience the Truth of Being LOVE. After the horror, shame, cringing, and mourning of letting go of the false ideals, then enough of the emptying process occurred to begin to see and experience the truth of real Love and the path to it that was there all along but was obscured and twisted.
The lessons we learn are often through the relations with family where we are under the illusion of automatic unconditional love and acceptance. I was disowned and cast off for 4 years by my grandmother for not seeing and believing the way she did (the details are unimportant) until one of her sons berated and scolded her for her stupidity (his word not mine). We made up as we were driving to the funeral of one of her other sons. Can you see the irony? It wasn’t lost on me. Gee whiz, after all, I only felt sorry for people for not seeing things my way. Nonetheless, I was getting some of my own medicine albeit in a harsh way.
However, my biggest lesson in deepening my understanding and experience of Acceptance came from another family member, someone to whom I so desperately wanted to be close. I share this with the utmost gratitude and humbleness.
One of the biggest things I have learned on the road to acceptance is everyone’s own process and life is their business and not mine. We tend to inject ourselves into other people’s lives as if we have a right and even a duty to do so. Each one of us has our own lessons to learn, how we learn them and if we learn them is no one else’s business. That means no preaching, converting, or convincing another that what and how they learn is right or wrong, good or bad, or timely enough to our liking. Meeting another where they are at and honoring their process is paramount to full acceptance.
My sibling and I are four and a half years apart. She was my big sister. She saw the world through her own eyes as I saw the world through my own eyes of perception. Our ways of seeing and being were galaxies apart. It created in me a deep sadness that we were never close no matter how much I secretly idolized her for how smart she is. I thought if I showed her how much I loved her, she would love me back in the same way. That is another thing we do in our relationships, we show people how we want to receive love and expect to receive it exactly that way, which only brings disappointment, because what are they also doing? That’s right, demonstrating how they want to receive love in hopes of receiving it their way.
As I did, and continue my own inner work, I came to accept that we were never going to be the storybook close sisters that I had hoped we would be. I’ve learned to accept all of who I am, which is key to accepting the all of everything and everyone else around us as they are.
With acceptance comes LOVE in its purest state. Acceptance is the truest path to Love. It is not a personalized love. It is a state of being Love that can manifest and be expressed in a personal way with no attachments, expectations or demands on another.
I have come to deeply love, accept and appreciate my sister as she is and, I appreciate the gift of being presented with this lesson of acceptance. The road to acceptance is not easy and can be quite painful, yet the rewards are plentiful and boundless. I feel more connected than I could ever have imagined in the beginning.
When you find yourself beginning your sentences with “If only” or “I wish”, it is a sign of non-acceptance of what is NOW. See if you can catch yourself and don’t be too hard on yourself, be playful.
For information on how to contact and/or work with me please click on this link.
Carol, your insight and personal journey with Acceptance is an inspiration for me. I can recount many times when I have felt this myself and appreciate hearing it in your gentle voice. Thank you for the reminder, it is a much more loving experience when we Accept without expectations and judgment.
Thank you Stephanie.
Very insightful article, Carol. Thank you for sharing your story. My biggest takeaway is actually your suggestion in the last paragraph–to look out for my own statements that start with “I wish…” or “If only…” I wonder how much I do that? I’ll be paying more attention in future.
Thank you Dorine, I’m glad that I’ve sparked something for you.
Thank you Carolyn for your kind feedback.