One of the most basic human desires is to fit in. We want to be unique but also belong. And we will absolutely change our behaviour and even beliefs to make sure we don’t stand out too much. We want to feel accepted by a group of people, especially our family and the people we see most often. Of course we do – it’s tiring to keep on having conversations on which it’s clear that nobody understands us. Because look, if nobody we know understands us, there must be something a little wrong with us – we’re doing something wrong and everyone else is right to push us away. Even if you don’t actively believe that, on some level it starts to seep in to how we act around people.
But this is just the people we happen to have been born near. What about all the people in the world that feel like you do? You’d be accepted by them.
There are even some people who are so great at acceptance that they would accept you just as you are even if that was vastly different from how they see life. I wish I was better at doing that. These people make you feel like you are OK and they are interested in you. It’s an amazing skill, and you may find after you finish this book that you have just a little bit more of a desire to accept others now that you’ve seen some of the things they are that you have in common.
Acceptance is a very real need, and we’ll often seek it in bad places if we can’t find it in good. It’s important to make sure that the people you are looking for acceptance from are the kind of people you actually want to be – not just the ones who are paying attention to you. You’ll become more like the people who welcome you in, like it or not, so make sure you are being true to who you want to be.