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Today, I write an acceptance letter—a self-acceptance letter.
The reason we struggle with self-acceptance is the world spews out harshness on everyone, and we listen to the wrong people.
Who hasn’t been surprised by receiving negativity from some people, especially when stories really aren’t what they seem?
Whether these people have extra talent or extra challenges in hating on others, there isn’t enough reason for what makes them treat others in cruel ways. To complicate the matter, they don’t like it when their victims stand up for themselves against the bullying.
I think we’re entering a time when harsh people will have to get used to underdogs standing up for themselves. I hope to continue to help in this march forward.
As I evolved away from those who manifested negativity to me, I found what I call “my community.”
We can find new friends in our communities. A group of friends in an organization called “Toastmasters” inspired me to write my self-acceptance letter. In addition to writing speeches about topics that were important to me, I had opportunities to listen to their speeches and tell them what they’re doing well, plus give suggestions on ways they could improve their work.
This type of teamwork made all of us feel connected and valid.
It was also self-expression. Because of that public speaking group, I accepted the fact that I love to talk. I’ve been criticized by many for stating what I feel or listing the challenges I was going through. In most cases, I think what I say could be of benefit to all of us.
My friends range from being driven by creativity to focusing mainly on the bottom line. All of them need to talk, which might offer things I can learn. Sometimes, their need to talk is because they’re going through hard times when people break them down, which I’ve done a few times through the years…
Part of learning our validity is because we can look to help one another.
Self-acceptance comes through connection with a range of our friends, colleagues, acquaintances, even antagonists. The late Archbishop Desmond Tutu was a role model for me for many reasons: he loved to speak up for himself and for underdogs. We had similar physical challenges and loved to laugh and make jokes about adversity, and probably bent over backward for some of the wrong people.
Still, he had faith in human potential and the possibility of reconciliation. He said, “A person is a person through other persons. None of us come into the world fully formed. We would not know how to think, or walk, or speak, or behave as human beings unless we learned it from other human beings. We need other human beings in order to be human. I am because other people are.”
My self-acceptance occurred thanks to my many therapists, my family, and especially my mother who taught me about art and to fight City Hall—ideally in a winsome way so as not to make the bullies feel bad. When he stood up to adversity, the late Desmond Tutu said, “I’m warning you…with love.”
I spent years wondering if I was able to speak up for myself. Was I fooling myself because it seemed like people weren’t listening? I chose to speak up again and again, until someone heard me and said, “Oh, okay. I’ll listen.”
Maybe, then, they might say, “May I tell you my problems?” Sure.
And then, maybe we’ll talk about solutions.
Self-acceptance is not about popularity but comforting ourselves. We just know we have something important to say.
On behalf of myself, I’m grateful and proud to accept myself. Thank you. And I thank me!
The late Archbishop Desmond Tutu believed people grew in positive ways by connecting with others: