There’s a lot of talk about acceptance and as humans it’s natural we desire it. But what exactly is it? Do we expect acceptance because we happen to exist? Because through some grace of God and act of the Universe, we came to be something more than a smattering of dust? I would argue it’s more or at least it should be. I would argue that acceptance is the quest for relevance.
It’s one thing to exist, but it’s completely another to be relevant. American author Henry David Thoreau (1817-1862) wrote in Walden “The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation” and yet ironic as it is, it was Thoreau’s experiment to live alone in the forest for two years that eventually garnered him much relevance.
Relevance, and thereby acceptance, is NOT dependent upon other people, something Thoreau proved, as have many other noteworthy people of the past. Whether Beethoven composing his nine symphonies or Shakespeare penning his 37 plays, their acceptance was not something that came from without, but rather it stemmed from within. Their great deeds, as a result of their inner beliefs (see Self-Belief: The Key to Personal Change…), are what drove them to relevance, thereby achieving mass acceptance. It wasn’t the other way around. They weren’t “all things to all people”, but they were “all things within themselves.”
In this modern age of social media, people crave attention, and with it acceptance. Some even go so far as to risk their lives for it. Why else would people dance alongside moving cars to be filmed? In an ironic twist, the “look at me age” is producing a never-ending stream of attention-getting material, but much of it, if any, has any lasting relevance. Do you think people 200 hundred years from now, let alone a year from now, will yearn to see much of what is now produced? My guess is not, unless of course they use it to frame some “strange and weird culture” that overtook the land.
Unless, we snap out of this misplaced obsession, we’ll never truly experience what acceptance means. It is not something we can force others to do. No law on the books can ever achieve that, even if governments say otherwise. Yes, it can make us “accept” someone, but in that case it’s no longer acceptance, but coercion. Do you want to be loved by someone who freely accepts you, or do you want to be loved because they’re coerced to? I dare say that’s an easy question to answer, and it’s not the latter.
Genuine acceptance is the stuff of relevance. Make ourselves relevant to the world in a positive manner and the world will come calling. It will accept our offering and it will bestow great rewards. But before any of that is possible, it must start with acceptance of ourselves and the realization that all great achievements lie within. It’s then, and only then, that true acceptance will be ours to enjoy.
In the words of the late American physician and poet Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr. (1809-1894), “Alas for those that never sing, but die with all their music in them!” Let these words be our reminder to stir us out of our deep sleep and bring forth our song in the quest of relevance. Only then will we discover the acceptance that truly matters; only then will we experience what it truly means to be alive.
It’s ours to have and the world awaits…
For more check out the Global Ebook Awards GOLD & SILVER Winner of 2014 & 2016, The C.A.T. Principle: Change, Action, Trust – Words to Live By available at Amazon and Barnes & Noble. See the latest Amazon reviews here.
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