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I woke up the morning after a great conversation with one of my best friends and had a thought which struck me. Are people we like the most the people we accept the most? I find my best friends are the ones I enjoy talking to the most, whatever their traits.

This requiries choosing our friends. As we get to know each other, we might find murky waters lurking under the surface, but if we don’t accept ourselves, we are always fighting, resisting, rejecting and dismissing. Acceptance is key to starting any journey of change.

I thought about acceptance and how pivotal it is to life. When my family first moved to where I was brought up, a girl called Susie lived opposite became a good friend then her family moved away when I was four. We named our dogs after each other.

Then growing up, I was taken with my brother to play with our parents’ friends’ children and they were mostly boys. Therefore as a girl I didn’t feel accepted. It seemed like I had to do more, be more, give more and still wasn’t going to cut it. Of course: because I was the odd one out.

The universe seems amazing to me as it throws up questions and leaves you to find answers, if you think that way. If you do, you could never tire of life as something really exciting is yet to come.

When I visit my family, step-mother, brother, cousin etc, feelings of non-acceptance come flooding back. Acceptance is the entire context of why I feel wrong during these visits. They bring back sad memories.

Ten years after my Mum died I wrote a letter which started off with getting feelings off my chest of being constantly corrected. I didn’t know I had Dyspraxia but aspects of this, piques of anger, clumsiness, thinking alternatively etc, were always picked up on, or so it seemed. But as I wrote the letter, another story emerged. That was me not accepting myself and my mother constantly trying to help.

I now realise that I was at peace with both my parents before they died as I did experience being accepted by both of them.

So my perspective was that I wasn’t accepted by my family, that I was constantly being corrected, but that came from the context of being a child who was the odd one out. This led to an inevitable constant feeling of being in need of correction and not OK as I am.

If you accept someone, it allows you to see them as they are. It is a matter of not carrying criticisms about them along with you. If they annoy you, that’s fine, but it happens in the present, not the past. Each moment is fresh and new and it allows you to get to know them without your own prejudices.

This thought occurred to me as the friend I had the chat with is someone who, when I first met them, was someone who seemed able to say: “this is me”. This seemed like self acceptance I hadn’t witnessed before. As I became friends with them I realised: I felt accepted in a way I hadn’t experienced since Susie when I was 4. I hadn’t realised it was acceptance as I thought it was being chosen as a friend, liked or being able to talk to easily. Those were distractions to me, as seeing simple patterns is something that helps me in life.

Through this, I realised that I am someone who is very scared to say “this is me” to anyone. That comes down to lack of self-acceptance. If you are someone who criticises yourself a lot, you may have a lack of self-acceptance.

I could say it would have been nice to have felt cherished, accepted and not constantly corrected by my parents, but I had already developed my feeling of non acceptance and social rejection from my childhood play experiences. If only I’d realised this wasn’t all because I was me, but probably circumstantial.

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