Acceptance is humiliation. It’s like abone thrown to a dog by his master from the dinner table. It’s an excellent example of how we should not take all the psychological terms literally and get excites over them without even reflecting for a while on what they really mean.
Acceptance is like a smack in the face. And I don’t want to turn the other cheek.
The topic of acceptance is one of the most frequently discussed ones in psychology. It explains many of our problems in adult life with the fact that we have not received enough acceptance, Thats why we are so hungry for it and obsessively looking it all our life. And that’s why we sound GIVE acceptance so – people around us are happy and mentally healthy (some people do consider mental health as advantage ☺ not me – not always ☺). That’s psychological point of view.
The Buddhist teachings say that we should avoid attachment and that everything we need is within us (since the creator was wise and did not want us to have to always rely on others).
After numerous attempts and experiments regarding my own development and filling holes in my own foundation I arrived at the conclusion that one should not only avoid attachment to external acceptance, but often even reject it. That’s why I don’t like acceptance. It not the same as love and we should not put this in the same bag.
I don’t like tolerance either. Or staying with something (or somebody) just because we get used to or feel safe.
At one time, one of my potential would-be boyfriends gently and politely asked me whether I could put on a different makeup for our date. I could. I was very happy to please him by looking the way he wanted.
“But why do you have this makeup again?” he asked me the following day.
“Because that’s my everyday makeup…”
“But you looked so pretty yesterday…”
After the makeup it was time for the dress. Not too short, but not too loose either. Then there was jewellery – why so much of it and why is it so colourful? Then – leggings, an awful European habit, according to him. And later… I just stopped listening. It was time for me to say something to him.
“Listen, I think we should stop seeing each other, for good.”
His shock was as big as mine when I heard him say that he hadn’t expected such a SUDDEN reaction and that he didn’t understand what caused such a SUDDEN change of my mind! For me however, the situation was simple. Maybe it didn’t start with the makeup, but around jewellery I was already sure where this whole thing was heading… So I was really shocked that, according to him, that conversation was unexpected and rash.
“I’m tired of constant comments, criticizing and having to adjust. Either I have to break or you do, and either I like how I look and then you are not happy or you like how I look while I don’t feel like myself.”
“But Julia, those things are not important! How can you attach importance to such small things.”
For a moment I thought he was right, because I have often heard in my life that I pay too much attention to small things. However, every time when I did not according to my intuition – it always ended tragically.
I believe in the words of Trungpa Rinpoche – “First thought, best thought”.
I decided to trust myself and not yield under pressure of others saying that it is me who, says, thinks, judges too much or too quickly. Psychologists often say that one of the symptoms of a toxic relationship is that your partner transforms each of your “complaints”, requests, needs or anything you do that does not suit him in a way that it is – your fault and your hysterical, narcissistic and selfish personality. He tries so hard and is so good to you, while you… You do it again… Each conversation about your feelings and needs ends with his (or her – as this phenomenon is not gender-specific) conclusion on the topic of what is wrong with your and what a bad person you are towards him (or her).
At the very moment when I realized that this is EXACTLY that mechanism, all the emotions went away and I no longer had to be mad at him or feel resentment. Gently, but firmly, I explained my point:
“Listen, makeup – not important, clothes – not important, partying or not partying – not important and neither is jewellery, fine. But all of that combined is overwhelming. How many times have I complained about you? None – exactly! And it was not because I’m some saint or silent type, but there’s really nothing in you that bothers me. You may not be a Prince Charming, but that’s ok with me.
“Julia, it’s just that as a person working in the fashion industry I’m more familiar with this stuff, that’s all! It’s only for your own good. I want you to be the most beautiful!
“And I want to be allowed to be the way I am, even if it means that I’m not going to be the most beautiful, perfect, intelligent, wisest and calmest person there is. I want to be me!!!”
“But I will accept this.”
“BUT I DON’T WANT YOUR ACCEPTANCE.”
There, I said it and was surprised that I did. Sometimes things just come out automatically from our mouths. Sometimes we regret it. Sometimes it surprises us. And sometimes, like back then, we feel that it was the truth that was born deep within us and finally saw the daylight. I don’t want acceptance, tolerance and accustomation. Not at this stage. And not when it comes to basic matters, and I include among these my aesthetic sense, temper or accent with which I speak (plus a couple of other things obviously, but I focused on these few ones for the sake of clarity).
Some people say that it is utopian of me to expect that everything is going to be smooth. I, on the contrary, think that is a manifestation of a common sense. Yes, there are no perfect people, we may not like some things and some other may annoy us. And that’s ok! However, if negative emotions cloud the positive ones and if we feel more like pricking than stroking, if we notice more of what we don’t like rather than what we love, this is a sign for us that we’re in a wrong place with a wrong person.
It doesn’t have to be smooth (in my personal opinion – it even should be smooth. We are not dead – do we should talk, discuss, diageo etc.) but it has to be with love and kindness.
Accustomation means that we feel a pinch, but we grit our teeth and move on! One can get accustomed to someone getting angry once a while, watching a match and yelling or not washing the dishes. But it’s like with shoes – sometimes they pinch when new, but then they are your favourite shoes, worn for years. But… when you buy shoes that are two sizes too big or three sizes to small – it’s simply not possible to get used to it. No matter what happens, they will always pinch bad (or fall off). If you grit your teeth and continue wearing such shoes for an hour, you will end up having to take them off and throw them out of the window, even if you’re in the middle of arranging the terms of your stay in the paradise with the Lord Almighty.
That’s why I don’t believe in acceptance for thinks that creates your ESSENCE. I believe, however, that beauty is in the eye of the beholder. I also believe that the essence of another person shouldn’t be onerous for us, irrespective of whether it is a partner, a friend or a colleague. Because if we have to tolerate and get accustomed, we are going to explode sooner or later. Either that or we will keep pestering the other person that something is not right about them. And that’s a wrong thing to do – everyone has the right to keep his essence if they like it.
Some people say that I’m too quick to judge and often give up on relationships too easily. However, this is a direct consequence of my respect for human essence. If I fell a lack of compatibility between me and someone else, I leave so that none of us have to bend ourselves, get accustomed or accept. I believe that we should LIKE one another, rather than tolerate, admire rather than accept, be inspired and moved rather than turn a blind eye.
You don’t have to fight for acceptance – either it’s there or it’s not. Either this radiates from you both or there is no YOU. You don’t have to compromise on anything, because either you want the same thing or you say “adios” to each other. And if you feel that you cannot provide the other person with all of this, it’s a sign that it’s the wrong person. Nothing is wrong with either you or them, but… the right energy is not there.
The modern obsession on political correctness and unconditional acceptance makes people use the notions of acceptance and tolerance as buzzwords. However, I think that can be like punch in a stomach. That they show that persons thing he is somebody better that you rather than her gentleness towards you.
That is why I don’t want acceptance. I don’t want pity. I don’t want scraps from the table. I don’t want mercy. I don’t want gritting teeth. Neither mine nor anyone else’s.
So, just like the grandmother of one of my friends (who had the energy that was totally different from mine) used to say:
“You don’t like the smell? Go away.”
That’s what I did with my boyfriend. That’s what I did with that friend of mine.
We spared each other many deliberations on tolerance and turning the other cheek.
I don’t have to accept the childlike energy and overprotectiveness of Basia, the complete craziness and extreme spontaneity of my Brazilian friends or the childlike joy and carelessness of Mariam’s life, often being on the border of lack of common sense – and I love all of them for that.
A sunset never asked me to get accustomed to it, nor did a secluded beach ask me to accept its silence. I don’t nurse a grudge against the tree for not being able to reach even a half of its root, nor do I promise a volcano to not be mad at it for spending so much time climbing it.
Temples do not ask me to accept their sacrum. Besides, in the beautiful Buddhist Yogyakarta I experienced such an absolute oblivion and immersion in tranquility and beauty that it made me realize how light you can feel when you can just be, without care for what the rest of the universe thinks of you. I think that during that time, both in the eyes of monks and mine, there existed only two things – beauty and tranquility.
No elephant ever asked me to accept its hugeness and the fact that it eats a lot, nor any turtle asked me to accept its small size and slow movement. Monkeys wouldn’t probably think, even if they could speak, of asking me for tolerance regarding the fact that they only eat and play all day long.
It’s the same with Native American tribes or villages of water gypsies – no tolerance… no compromise. Things are how they are and they are good.
I accept the fact that my scandalously bright makeup and equally scandalous huge jewellery may not cater to all tastes. I now have the fourth pencil from Sephora that takes up my whole vanity case during travels and I love it for that. And jewellery? Well, I like big things.
One of my friends, when I told her about my potential would-be boyfriend, said: “Personally, I would never wear the same makeup and clothes that you do, but when I look at you, I don’t see the makeup, the jewellery, the clothes. I see who you are…” And it was on that very event prior to my departure that she gave me a gift – a blue eye pencil from Sephora. “You are always losing stuff – it might come in handy, just in case. I know how it makes you crazy when you don’t have these lines under your eyes,” she said. It was not an act of acceptance, but of… beauty in her eyes, when she looks at me.