Acceptance. It’s what we crave.
If you’re a writer you may be familiar with that feeling you get in the pit of our stomach as the blinking cursor arrow hovers momentarily over the “submit” button just before you send off a manuscript or query. It’s called fear of rejection. Even emailing a draft of something we’ve written to a friend is like sending a piece of ourselves into the world to be judged, we may as well be offering our head to the guillotine!
Our “selves” may take many forms. Whether we’re writers or professionals, parents or students, we’re all striving for success–and how do we define success? By the extent to which others accept our performance or appearance–or both. It’s easy to become consumed with our efforts to achieve success–and acceptance–but, how many of us are chasing after something that’s already ours?
How different would our striving be if we recognized that regardless of what’s out there, what’s in here is already great. “But, where’s ‘here’?” You may ask? Look around. The answer might be right under your nose! Thanks, Tanzy!
I was just few months into my fitness journey. You know, the honeymoon phase. The phase when you feel like you can conquer the world. The phase when you consider taking up a modeling career after you lose all the weight and become irresistibly sexy. That phase where you can look all your food vices straight in the eye with the confidence of a Spartan army, knowing you are stronger than your cravings! I was “feeling myself,” as they say and I was patting myself on the back for a job well done. I was in the gym daily for 3 months straight. I was drinking 80 oz of water regularly and I had even gone down 2 dress sizes! I was on cloud nine! Shopping had become my new favorite activity–I loathed it before my transformation.
Looking through some pics I decided to assemble a before and after picture so that I could bask in my amazing transformation. At this time I was homeschooling my kids and spent endless hours surrounded by little humans under the age of 5, but I was desperate to share this visual display of my success with someone who could celebrate with me. No grown ups to be found, I turned to the next oldest in the room–my 5 year-old-daughter. I pulled up the picture collage on the computer and, beaming with pride, plopped it in front of my kid asking a very baited question: “What do you think of mommy’s picture? Do you notice anything different?”
Her little face beamed at the challenge. She leaned in toward the picture and studied it like a “Where’s Waldo game.” After some time she was finally ready to give her answer:
“In this picture you have a red shirt. In that picture you have a blue shirt. In this picture you have ponytail. In that picture you have straight hair. In this picture you’re smiling and in that picture you’re not. In this picture you have grey shoes and in that picture you have black!”
“Wait what?! That’s it?! You don’t see my slimming waist line, my sleeker arms, my shrunken belly or my thinner thighs?” I thought.
Next enters my 1-year-old staggering towards us, dying to see what we are studying. He let’s out one word as he looked at the screen. “MAMA!”
The reality is that the people that love us most never see our flaws. My kids never knew I was overweight. They never saw my stretch marks, or my cellulite. They never saw me as a number on a scale. They only saw me as their nurturer, their caregiver, their protector and their friend. No matter what pic I showed them, they only saw one person, “MAMA.”