One of the greatest needs a human being has is to be accepted for who they are. But while this is the case, it doesn’t necessarily mean that one has been able to fulfil this need or that they believe it is even possible for them to fulfil it.
If people were generally encouraged to be themselves it would be a lot easier for them know that they can be accepted for who they are. What can make it so challenging is that there is a lot of pressure on people to be who other people want them to be.
And if they become someone else, and this could be who their friends, family or society want them to be, then they will be accepted. It can then take a lot of strength for someone to be who they are and to resist the pressure and temptation to be who other people want them to be.
When It Does Exist
The pressure for one to become someone else is going to come from people who don’t accept themselves. For when one does accept who they are, they are not going to have the need to change someone else.
What they will be able to do is accept another person for who they are and if they can’t, they are likely to walk away. So just because one can’t accept another, it doesn’t mean that the other person therefore needs to change.
Other people may be different and yet that doesn’t mean that one is unable to respect their right to live in a way that reflects who they are. And as long as they are not harming anyone else, then this is surely the right thing to do.
So as there is so much pressure for one to be someone else, it is going to be important for one to accept themselves. And at times other people will accept them and at other times they won’t. But if one has the need for everyone to accept them, they are going to suffer in more ways than one.
When one accepts themselves, they are not going to need everyone to accept them. They are going to be happy with who they are and this is then going to mean that other people’s opinions are secondary.
But when one doesn’t accept themselves, the opinions of others are likely to be primary. This is not to say that one is completely closed to receiving feedback just because they accept themselves.
What it means is that one is not going to allow other people to define whether they like themselves or not. This is therefore going to mean that one has more control over how they feel.
When one doesn’t accept themselves, there is the chance that the opinions of others are going to be primary and the opinion that one has of themselves is going to be secondary. This person is not going to have trouble with receiving feedback, as they are likely to be wide open and have no control over what they let in from others.
Other people are then going to define who they are and one is going to have very little control over how they feel. Now, if one is around people who accept them, then everything is going to be fine.
However, it could also cause one to play a role and to do things that don’t match up with their true needs and wants. One is then out of touch with who they are, but the payoff is that other people will accept them.
A Common Approach
There is going to be the chance that one is going to hear that they should let go of the need for approval, and that they just need to ‘accept’ themselves. And while this advice can assist someone, it can also make them close up.
And when this happens, one can end up denying their need to be accepted. If this need does arise, they could end up feeling guilty or weak for instance. Ignoring this need or repressing it may work for some people, but it is not going to work for everyone.
A Deeper Look
The reason one doesn’t accept themselves and therefore looks to everyone else to accept them, could be because no one has ever accepted them for who they are. When someone does accept themselves, it is highly likely that this is result of the acceptance that they received from someone else at one point in their life.
And the person who did accept them could have been their primary caregiver. Though their unconditional acceptance, one was able to realise that they are acceptable for who they are. Or if this didn’t take place during their childhood, someone else may have provided it.
Once this person has experienced it from someone else, they are not going to look to others for acceptance. During the beginning of someone’s life, being accepted is matter of survival and through being accepted, they are then able to grow out of this need.
So if one has never been accepted for who they are, then it is only natural that they are still going to look for what they didn’t receive all those years ago. Based on this outlook, this need is not something that one needs to remove; it is a need that one needs to fulfil.
Through being with someone who accepts them for who they are, it will allow this undeveloped part of them to gradually develop. And once this happens, their emotional development will match up with their intellectual development.
This unconditional acceptance can be provided by a therapist or a healer. The qualifications they have or what method they use is not important, what matters is that they can offer the acceptance that one needs in order to grow.
Oliver JR Cooper
Author of 25 books, Transformational Writer, Teacher & Consultant.
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That which is contained within these articles is based on my own empirical understanding and is true for me at the time they were written. However, as I continue to grow, what I perceive as the truth will inevitably change and as a result of this - parts of these articles may not reflect my current outlook.