It is high time to let go of the 21st century dysfunctional concept of “Society is responsible for fixing my sense of need for approval, and for fixing “my need to feel accepted.”
On the other hand, this in no way negates our individual duty to “do unto others as we would have them do unto us”. If we want to have society accept us for our “individualness”, we in turn must also be accepting of the individual differences of others. If we don’t want to be minimalized, we must not minimalize others…. “Standing up for our Rights” does not accomplish this, but rather deepens the whole sense of “us against them” which we struggle with in this world.
Over the past few decades, as i have watched the broad “right to personal acceptance” movement develop in North America (and the rest of the world), i have often wondered to myself …… what is it that we all expect to obtain by “being accepted for who i am”?
Is there supposed to be a sense of completeness and satisfaction which accompanies that acceptance or approval of others?
If so, then why does this satisfaction seem to vaporize so quickly once it is obtained?
And are we teaching our children that inner completeness and satisfaction will come from fighting for the right to personal acceptance?
What i have been perceiving, is the same cycle of ongoing dissatisfaction which comes from any acquisition we humans might obtain.
It goes something like this:
1.) i desire something, (in this case, to be accepted)
2.) i fixate on it,
3.) then after pushing for it, i receive it, (hopefully)
4.) i am satisfied with my acquisition for several moments/days/months
5.) Then after realizing that didn’t satisfy me, i move on to an new desire fixation (or bigger fix, of the same thing)
**This acquisition might be obtaining acceptance, or a new girlfriend or boyfriend, a new watch, a new pair of shoes, a birthday present, a new guitar, a new shirt, a new home, a new car, a new spouse….. seems the basic cycle is the same for all.
The mantra of this “right to personal acceptance” movement says:
“we do not feel accepted or approved, but if we did, we would be whole and complete”.
This movement places the onus and responsibility for that change, on society as a whole.
But, like the “need and satiation cycle” mentioned above, the sense of wholeness and completeness obtained seems to be temporary and impermanent. Therefore, it is followed by the need for repeatedly deepening layers of social change to continue to soothe this ache for acceptance…. When the last set of changes proves not satisfying, a new layer of change is necessary.
It seems this endless cycle of social change will never be enough to end in satisfaction.
In fact, that the impermanence of satisfaction, becomes an excuse to blame society for something which it could not remedy in the first place, and so society is burdened with a goal that, for all intents and purposes, it can never meet.
Rather than endlessly repeating the same mistaken cycle over and over again, perhaps it might be time to look into where this need for acceptance stems from, and what the ACTUAL solution to it might look like.
So, let’s consider where this need to be accepted comes from?
I propose that our need for acceptance is the first and deepest need in our lives, and this is why it seems to be so ubiquitous to humanity.
It begins the moment we are born, with the need for our mother to “pay attention to me and put me first, because i am thirsty/hungry/uncomfortable”. (and we need to note that this is not selfishness, it is a built-in instinct …. a necessity in order to survive)
So, this need for “me” to be front and center, the most important, the most special, begins there… so it becomes our central need…
The need for being the most important, and our need to be the center of attention, grows along with our sense that we need to reach outside ourselves to obtain it.
Depending on how this “reaching out to be satisfied” plays out in those very early and subsequent days, it places us somewhere on a scale of 0% to 100% from having a deep inner sense of need, to having an inner sense of completeness.
I suspect most of us are in the upper range of deep need……
(and this deep need continues, until we realize that what we are looking for is actually inside ourselves, and that no amount of acceptance received from outside ourselves can fill that deep need.) That realization can turn this whole ““right to personal acceptance” movement on its head.
From what i have perceived, every human being does not find satisfaction in the act of reaching outside themselves for acceptance, and so after a short enjoyment period upon obtaining that “thing”, we find it did not satisfy us, and the searching cycle begins anew.
It is also the need for acceptance and approval, which can most turn our mind sick when it is not obtained. We have seen many examples of jealousy, rage, anger and acts of violence being related to not being accepted as much as ‘the next person’.
So, where do we find this illusive sense of wholeness and completeness if it is not to be found outside ourselves?
As it was obvious to ancient mystics, and we modern folks are now beginning to realize, those who search inside themselves, find that completeness and acceptance, when they fully accept themselves. So, it is our own acceptance of ourselves that is the missing factor. For myself, this is about as true as human truth gets.
So, it is my personal opinion, that it is high time to educate our next generations, about how this “need for acceptance process” works, and teach them how to find it inside….. within themselves, and further, to stop blaming society for not giving us something that it could never deliver in the first place.
It truly is high time to let go of this 21st century dysfunctional concept of “society is responsible for my sense of need for approval, and for my need to feel accepted”, and move on towards the goal of individual responsibility in society.
The ramifications of this realization of inner acceptance and approval, could spread and be felt in all the avenues of our personal and world relationships.