To be accepted just as I am is one of the most important things to me in the world.  If I have to change something—anything—then I am not really accepted.  If I am constantly being told the ways I need to improve or change, then I am not accepted.  To be accepted means that I can be myself even if you don’t necessarily like it.  To be accepted means that I can say “no” and not be punished in some way (even if it’s psychologically).  To be laughed at is not acceptance.  To be humored or patronized is not acceptance.  To be put down because I am not like you or not like you want me to be is not acceptance.  Conditional acceptance is not acceptance at all.  Pressuring me to do something differently is not acceptance.  Acceptance is when I am allowed to be who I am—good and bad—without being somehow made to feel that there is something wrong with me or that I am not as I should be.  I am as I should be because it’s how I am.  If I change because I want to change then that is still me.  If I change to please you then I am not being me anymore.  To be someone I am not is not real is not honest.  If you like me only when I am pleasing you then you don’t like me at all.  When you like me although I am not pleasing you then that, my friend, is acceptance.  Diane Webb September 2016

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