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The Dilemma of Acceptance: Balancing Authenticity and the Human Need to Belong

We spend our first two decades of life building our identity, learning from our surroundings that the desire to fit in, to be liked and to be accepted, supersede our internal desire to step into our true self. Frequently, after years of this repetitive, unconscious cycle of seeking acceptance, we become unaware that there is a different yearning, layered deeply beneath our unconscious programming. This yearning is our natural state. But what happens when we ignore this undeniable force within us all? We experience suffering, we become discontent and we become unsatisfied in life.

Although being accepted should not be viewed as a negative desire, it does make us vulnerable to following a path of validation instead of stepping into our authentic path. After all, it is a real human need to be accepted or feel part of in a community. Jim Carrey explains,“Your need for acceptance can make you invisible in this world. Don’t let anything stand in the way of the light that shines through this form. Risk being seen in all of your glory.”

This becomes a theme in our lives, the risk vs reward of living in our authentic state of being. We can either stay within the fear of not being accepted, OR risk not being accepted and step into our true self. Wearing our masks adds extra protection from the outside world, because if someone does not like our mask, it doesn’t inherently hurt us. We know deep down that it is all a facade anyways, so the risk of being hurt is minimal. However, once we fully step into our true self, we realize there is no protection, there is no extra layer to hide behind and that becomes a debilitating mountain to climb.

But, if we look at the people we admire or look up to, they typically have one thing in common: they are not hiding behind a mask or facade. They embody their true state. And this pulls us in, making us feel inspired and in awe. We don’t look at them and think they’re living in fear without their false sense of identity, but instead, freedom and happiness.

So how does one step into their true self? How does one push past the fear of not being accepted? It all begins with honesty. This is what recovery has taught me. The path into the unknown must be guided by complete honesty, with self and others. This is the way to uncover our glory. And the glory turns our need for external acceptance, to be replaced by complete internal acceptance and as we continue on the path we realize that was what we were yearning for all along.

With Love,

The Way

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