“You become. It takes a long time. That’s why it does’t happen often to people who break easily, or have sharp edges, or who have to be carefully kept. Generally, by the time you are real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you get loose in the joints and very shabby. But these things don’t matter at all, because once you are real you can’t be ugly, except to people who don’t understand” — The Velveteen Rabbit
Acceptance is a funny thing; it’s the key part of loving others, and ourselves, unconditionally, yet it is something that takes an incredible amount of work and strength to give. No one can truly love herself if she has not accepted herself for the person she actually is; no one can unconditionally love another person without the acceptance that someone is imperfect and human. Are any of us able to let go of expectations and instead embrace acceptance? Is this not the place where each of us will be filled with self-love and spilling over with unconditional love for others? Wouldn’t acceptance be something that save relationships and marriages?
My therapist is champion for acceptance, week after week she reframes my problems by asking me about my acceptance of something, “Is this something you want to change? Or is this something you can accept?” She is very good at remembering to remind me that I am “perfect in all of my imperfections”. She allows these very deep, heavy ideas to roll off her tongue with the ease one would use to talk about the weather. Acceptance isn’t just as easy as saying that you choose to accept or not accept something (though I think nonacceptance requires less work); it is pretty fucking hard (especially for the control freak who is writing this, and who thinks she can convince people to do what she wants them to do, by talking their ear off — it’s not intentional, and I’m working on it!). How do we accept our flaws and not work to turn these into strengths? How do we love our partner despite what we perceive as flaws in them? One word: acceptance. It’s one of the cornerstones to happiness, satisfaction, and love.
In a relationships we accept a lot of things, some good and some bad. But do we really accept the other person? Fully and without question? Do we ever love someone else (outside of our own children) until their eyes drop, their hair has been loved off, and they are very shabby? Do we make someone else real because of our love and acceptance? Or do we try to sew their eyes back on, dress them up in new clothes, and make them into the version of the person we wish they were – someone who is more in line with our expectations? If this is what we do, then how can we expect someone else to love us in an unconditional and accepting way?
*Big thanks to The Velveteen Rabbit for giving me another life lesson (and another river of tears).