Sunday, December 2, 2012

Acceptance starts at home

Over the past couple of days the topic of acceptance has been presenting itself to me over and over again.  First, in my relationship, then in my own personal life.  What I came up with after dealing with this issue for the past 3 days is that if you want to be able to accept another person, you have to be able to accept yourself.  You have to be comfortable in your own skin, if you ever want to be comfortable loving and accepting anyone else in your life.  Here is what I know, I am not comfortable with all the scars, the bags, and all the limitations that have happened with my body since I have gotten ill.  The truth of the matter is that I was even scared to tell my boyfriend of five years that with everything that my body has gone through, I may never be able to have sex again.  This was something that I was ashamed of, self-conscious of, and most importantly it was a shortcoming that I am very insecure about ever since my illness raised it's head in 2005.

To be honest with you, my self-esteem had suffered, but over the past 8 years, it has begun to make a comeback.  See it was through the efforts of previous boyfriends and relationships that have made me realize my self worth, and through their help my self confidence and self esteem have been bolstered. Yet it has still taken me years to come to terms with my illness and limitations.  It wasn't until I wrote about overcoming limitations in my blog that I actually came to terms with my own.  Yet, it didn't stop there, see my boyfriend suffers from his own insecurities and has a hard time taking compliments.  His self esteem is impaired from his previous relationship and the mental and physical abuse he suffered through.  It is extremely hard for him to think that anyone can care about him, that the feelings that he is feeling is real.  He also has a hard time accepting compliments.  He doesn't actually like attention to be called to him or his accomplishments.  I think that the reason for this is because he has to embrace what has happened to him in the past, accept it and move on. Once he can do that he will be able to accept his own limitations, insecurities and shortcomings.

This is what I know about insecurities, we each have them. Without the love of another it may be totally impossible to overcome those insecurities, to be one hundred percent comfortable in our own skin.  See the insecurities we have will make it impossible to accept the compliments of others, we will still see ourselves as we perceive ourselves to be. We will hold people back by the walls we have built to protect us from having to relive or reveal those insecurities to others.  Basically, we are keeping others at arms length, never letting them to get to know the real us.  It is extremely important when you let your walls down, to let them all down, reveal your deep seated insecurities, reveal to your partner you vulnerabilities and trust them to hold them close to their heart and not betray you.  By doing this you will allow the other person to get to know the real you and together you can assuage and face those fears together.  I honestly believe that through love and our hearts. two people can face and overcome anything.

I know from my own insecurities, that I was holding myself back, that I didn't even have hope, that I was ashamed, embarrassed and wouldn't let anyone close to me.  It took someone that was persistent and very insistent that he loved me.  Then it took him months and months to convince me that he loved me, that the bags, scars and others insecurities didn't matter to him, that he loved the person he saw inside of me and my personality, my brain, intelligence and a hundred other things that attracted him to me.  My biggest fear was that I wouldn't find anyone that could love me, accept me or even consider going out with me because I have the bags, that I couldn't have sex, and that I had all of these scars. Insecurities led to fear and fear can paralyze us and keep us from taking the chances and risks that we need to.  It can keep us from becoming successful and limits our resourcefulness.

It is also true that our own fears and insecurities can make us reject out of hand the compliments others dish out to us, and it can even keep us from accepting criticism. Now this can lead to the build up of pressure and  stress.  Which in turn if not processed properly can lead lead to depression. Now for most of us this is something that can be worked on and overcome, but for those that are in the public eye or even famous this might lead to other problems that may affect their work or livelihood.  A famous singer from Nirvana, Kirk Cobain. could attest to this fact if he were still alive.  Stress and depression from perceived limitations and disabilities can lead us to severe depression and dark thoughts, which might in turn lead us down the path toward suicide.  Remember that thoughts of suicide creep up on us when we feel like we are trapped and our problems are insurmountable and we can't get past them.  It is important for us to face our insecurities embrace them and learn to overcome them.

Keep in mind that not all insecurities and limitations are physical, they can be mental or perceived as well.  This does not make them less real then the physical ones.  I hope that you understand that we can overcome them and face them with the love and support of others.  The first step in this process is to be open and frank about them.  When you can talk about them, even joke about them, you are able to express them in such a way that you can let the healing begin.  Keep in mind that only you can start the process.  You can't live in fear and concern and expect to move forward in your life.  Hiding behind walls and keeping it bottled up inside of you will only add to your pain and stress.  Trust me when I tell you that these fears and insecurities are painful, and only by exposing them to others can you lessen the pain that you feel.  You may be totally surprised when you finally are ready to open up about them that others are just as fearful and scared as you are. That they too have some deep seated insecurities, that are just waiting to be exposed to the light of day. And that by talking about them you lessen the power they have over you and your life.  Also, once you start talking about them you become more comfortable with them, and eventually they will not be a plague to you anymore.

You are not alone in this.  Everyone of us has something about our bodies, our looks and personality that we don't like, but these are what makes us different and unique, and as you express them to others, you will find that they are what gives you the character, drive and strength.  They aren't as limiting as you thought they were.  They may be the reason why you have acted a certain way your entire life, and they could be the very thing that has defined you.  But once you expose them to others, and start facing them and dealing with them, you are going to find ways to accept them and once you do that you can overcome them.  We are not so different you and I, we may have different fears and insecurities, but we have them, maybe by birth or by mishap, or illness.  Each of us are different, but we are still the same.  We each have fear and we like to keep hidden those things which bother us.  But, when you start talking about them, and expose them to the light so to speak you are going to find that there are others just like you that may have similar fears, similar insecurities, or similar illnesses or situations that will make it easier for you to identify with and be more open and forthcoming.  Once you open the flood gates you will be surprised where that current might take you.  You may even find that what you thought was a flaw or insecurity wasn't that at all.

You can't accept someone fully and totally if you can't accept yourself.  They say that in order to love another that you have to love yourself first, and that is true.  Keep in mind that acceptance starts by facing and embracing your insecurities, fears and flaws and dealing with them.  Once you can do that you can accept those that others have.  Communication my dear ones is the key to this as with so many other issues that we face. Man is a social creature, we need the interaction of others to keep us healthy and happy, and by opening yourself up and accepting that which you cannot change and talking about it, you will find yourself that much stronger.

As always my hopes and dreams are with you,

Uncle B