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Everyone wants to be accepted. Humans are social beings, and it is our nature to form connections and band together. We need to feel love and belonging almost as much as we need to eat and sleep. And as anyone who has ever felt like a stranger in their own family can tell you, the quality of acceptance matters. True acceptance is sincere and heartfelt receptivity to another person – and it’s unconditional.

Aligning Yourself with Others

Seek those who will offer you this; a lover, a family member, a fellow traveler, friends, or a tribe of people who take you as you are. Nurture relationships with those who understand your insecurities and celebrate your oddities. You will each grow from the experience, because acceptance is as much a spiritual achievement for the giver as it is a blessing for the receiver. Whether witnessing or being witnessed, everyone feels good when a genuine spirit is laughing.

Appreciation is contagious and uplifting. Do not let another person tell you how to be and do not accept hints that you should be other than you are.

One of my friends met her partner on a dating site. She posted a profile with no information besides a close-up photograph of her eyeball, and he responded. He accepted her readily; amused, open to her quirkiness, and probably sensing he’d be accepted too. She had written no wish list after all. What feels better than being just as you are among others; sharing yourself with those who appreciate you?

The Person That Really Saw You

Has there ever been a person in your life who prized your quirks? Someone whose enthusiasm for your corny jokes or personal liberties made you feel free and open? Their enthusiasm activated you, and caused you to take more risks. They made you believe you were special even when you doubted yourself. Maybe it was the high schoolteacher who heard your true voice in a poem or essay; who said “Yes!” when others said “Hmm…interesting.”

Think now, and remember your ally and what they said or did. Remember how you felt in their presence, pull forward their enthusiasm. Whether it was yesterday or 20 years ago, the feeling tone of your memory can be invoked. Call it forth when you’re lonely or insecure, or when you want to help others feel accepted.

Belong To Yourself

To belong is to feel at home in the world. Whether it is a physical location or a state of mind, everyone needs a place where they can let their hair down; an opportunity to explore fantasies, to putter unproductively, or to simply humor themselves away from judgment or evaluative commentary.

In our best moments we are complete in ourselves and comfortable in our bodies. At home, you don’t have to get dressed in the morning or shower; you can play any music at any volume; and you don’t have to conform to be accepted. You may be lucky enough to live with people who allow you that one socially unacceptable vice free of charge. If you live solo or among strangers, be that person for yourself.

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