Is It Safe To Be You? The Danger of Self Acceptance
I often come over all preachy saying that people should let go of their fears and accept themselves for who they are and embrace all their quirks and whatnot, and one would think that it would be a fairly non controversial opinion to hold. After all, loving oneself and accepting oneself are good things.
Strangely enough, there are plenty of people who get outraged when one says that they should accept themselves, and they usually get outraged because other people don't accept them. However, I, and plenty of other people agree that your acceptance of yourself should not hinge on whether or not other people agree.
“But how can I be happy with myself if being happy with myself means that other people don't love me?” they say. And to them I say, if other people don't love you for who you are, they don't love you at all. Oh, they may be able to approximate love, to feel affection for you. They may tell themselves and you that they love you. But love does not depend on a person molding themselves to fit some preconceived notion of what it means to be a man or a woman. Real love, true love, only wishes for a partner's happiness. Real love doesn't worry what the neighbors will think. Real love knows that it is not right on any level to shame someone out of being what and who they want to be. If you're a parent, you probably experience real love when you looked at your children when they were very small babies. It didn't matter what they would become, or how often they peed on you (something that would be brazenly unacceptable for adults to do to one another,) you loved them regardless. Of course, later on, some parents lose their love for their children and it turns into a horrid facsimile of love 'conditional love', where love is given and withdrawn based on actions.
Romantic notions and our desire to find a mate often cause us to fear never being loved and plenty of us adjust our behaviors to make ourselves be more lovable. This is an adaptive trait and it makes sense biologically speaking, but if you don't want to live at the level of consciousness of your average animal, you always have the option to rise above basic biological thinking.
Yes, there is no doubt about it that accepting yourself and living the life you have always dreamed of could lead those around you to reject you. Then again, is it worth leading your life to suit a bunch of people who don't really care about you anyway? Is it not better to accept and love yourself and then find others who also feel the same way? I think so.