Painting by Belynda Wilson Thomas
No amount of self-improvement can make up for any lack of self-acceptance. Robert Holden
What are we missing in communication? Why don’t others understand what we meant to say or even what we really said? How are so many things lost in translation and we are speaking the same language? At least we think we are.
This is the problem; we think we are talking the same language. The Book, “Men are From Mars and Women are From Venus” told us men and women don’t speak the same language. The oppressors and the oppressed I don’t think speak the same language and who belongs to which group is open to debate and some people who feel oppressed are seen by others as oppressors. We may be told we are part of the powerful group but we don’t feel we have any power.
The powerful group might be being a man, or being a woman, being rich, being educated, being self-employed, being a celebrity, being famous, being attractive, being tall, being slim, being smart. I believe there can be advantages to being in every group I’ve mentioned but being any of those doesn’t mean you are how others perceive you. The advantages others envy may not seem to actually exist to you.
Being attractive is a huge advantage for most people. We may not be able to put our finger on exactly what makes someone attractive but we generally recognize attractive people when we see them. We are naturally attracted to attractive people and part of this we are told is because attractiveness is a sign of health.
Are we often blind to our advantages; do we take them for granted, just like the smells in our house? If we go into someone else’s house we know what their house smells like but we often don’t know what our own smells like because we live in it. We are nose blind, we are advantage blind.
I have always been better at caring for others than I have been for caring for myself. But in these later years, I have made progress. Carl Rogers at age 75
If we are to live in a color-blind world it doesn’t mean we don’t recognize the differences at all it is they don’t make any difference in day-to-day living. Even though redheads are said to have life more difficult than blondes or brunettes doesn’t it really matter more if they are attractive redheads? If we would prefer our children to be blondes over redheads does that mean anything? I’d rather my grandchildren have straight beautiful teeth over crooked, not beautiful teeth. I’m saying crooked and beautiful because straight teeth aren’t always beautiful and crooked teeth aren’t always ugly. I have a preference, does it make me a bad person that certain parts of my gene pool I like better than others?
The redhead with ugly crooked teeth and unattractive features just has one more feature that isn’t loved with the red hair. The attractive redhead with lovely skin, beautiful features, and a fantastic smile stands out, if they have beautiful hair that is also red everything is working for them. If they are tall, fit, rich, and famous, being a redhead is probably not working against them.
Would we rather our children have blue, brown, or green eyes? We may have a preference or we may not. If we do have a preference is it a problem? We are sometimes aghast when we find out people have a gender preference for their child. Mom had three girls and would have loved for me to be a boy. It has made absolutely no difference in my life, and I totally understand why she wanted a boy.
Did I ever feel I wasn’t good enough because I wasn’t a boy? No. Did I ever feel they thought I should be different than I am? No, they played the genetic lottery, and out I came. We all play the genetic lottery when we have children. Having preferences of what that lottery produces seems normal to me.
A marriage therapist had a couple in his office that argued and fought over the messiness of the house. He was a neat freak and she was the messy one. The Therapist said, “This week no fighting. You are to figure out why neatness is so important to you, and why messiness is so important to you.”
At home, the wife started thinking about why messiness was important to her. She remembered living with her single mother and every time the house got cleaned up it meant a man was coming over. As a little girl she decided she was never cleaning up a house for a man.
The husband started thinking about growing up in his alcoholic home. The only time he felt safe and chaos did not reign in the house was when everything was neat and tidy. As he began to relax she began to be less messy.
We need to understand the underlying issues in our lives that are causing problems. Our childhood has left us with sensitivities we react to without knowing why they are important. We judge people for their insensitivity to our sensitivities even we don’t acknowledge exist.
We need to learn to accept ourselves, warts, crooked teeth, lack of hair, and other things about ourselves we don’t love. Somehow if we don’t accept ourselves we send out messages to people and they pick up on our sensitivities and if they are mean-spirited people we have given them ammunition against us. We may be so sensitive a look, gesture, action, or words may set us off even if they aren’t mean-spirited people.
We need to take a good look at the things that bother us so we can understand what is behind them. I am reading 80% of what bothers us about our partners is rooted in our childhood. Marriage, if we do it right helps us heal the hurts of the past. If we don’t do it right we magnify the hurts of the past.
Expecting others to understand us when we don’t understand ourselves won’t likely work out well. Is this why Socrates told us, “The unexamined life is not worth living?” Could it be that if we accept ourselves things that someone might say that used to be a sensitive issue become just an observation? We do have red hair, crooked teeth, less hair than we like, or anything else we may be sensitive about. Instead of jumping down someone’s throat can we acknowledge that maybe what we were so sensitive about was how we felt about something, not how they did?
When we accept ourselves for what we are, we decrease our hunger for power or the acceptance of others because our self-intimacy reinforces our inner sense of security. Brennan Manning
When you create yourself to make it you’re going to have to either let that creation go and take a chance on being loved or hated for who you really are. Or you’re gonna have to kill who you really are and fall into your grave grasping onto a character that you never were. Jim Carrey
Loving ourselves through the process of owning our story is the bravest thing we will ever do. Brene Brown