What I Wish the Younger Me Knew About Acceptance

Over the years, I’ve struggled with acceptance.  I’ve always waited for someone…anyone to say to me, “I accept you with all your flaws and shortcomings; I accept you as you are.”

I’ve wanted to hear those words ever since I was a little girl. I wish I could have told you that as a grown woman, I no longer crave those words, but that would be a lie. My heart still yearns for total, unconditional acceptance. I need that. I want that.

There was a time I was ashamed of acknowledging that I needed things. That shame led me to seek acceptance from all the wrong places, in all the wrong ways. I would do things I didn’t want to do. I would go places I didn’t want to go to because I wanted to be accepted. I dragged myself through a lot of mud and bent over backwards in my attempt to feel validated.

I never realized how imprisoned I was by this crippling need for acceptance until now. I didn’t know the price I’d been paying all along. What I didn’t realize is that it’s impossible to be accepted by everyone, and it’s unnecessary to be accepted by everyone.

I still struggle with it, but I’m learning that I don’t need validation from people who are not relevant to my cause.

[ctt template=”5″ link=”XR3Ub” via=”no” ]The only acceptance I needed all along was self-acceptance. [/ctt]

 

I never realized that my acceptance issues were never with “them”, but with me. I expected external validation when, in fact, I had never validated myself. Today I realized that what I really needed to hear were the words, I accept myself.”

Perhaps life would have turned out differently had I realized at a tender age that I needed to hear those words from myself.

Perhaps I would have stood in front of the mirror and said, Fortune, I accept you.”

I should have told myself that I was awesome. I should have whispered to my heart and said, Fortune, you are beautiful and magnificent.

Perhaps I would have shouted, Fortune, you’ve got that #BlackGirlMagic!

Those times I failed miserably I should have told myself that my mistakes didn’t define me.  I should have loved and accepted the younger me. I should have appreciated the woman I was and the woman I was becoming.

Now I realize that it wasn’t the attention from others that I desperately sought in my youth. What I needed then, and even now, is a little more self-love, more self-care, and a huge dose of self-praise.

I don’t foolishly think that three decades of seeking external validation will disappear instantly. I know that the journey is just beginning. I know the journey will be long and hard. But today, now, in this moment, I’m starting the journey. I have hope and courage.  For now, it is enough. It has to be enough.

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