Continuing our exploration of the 10 Emotional Need of the Soul, this week we explore the sixth, feeling accepted.
Between the ages of about 11-19, we have an underlying need to be accepted for who we are as unique individuals.
You want to know your talents, aptitudes, perceptions, and what you create are lovingly accepted by those who matter to you.
Of course, as we all know, that’s not always how it goes in our families or with our friends.
Wounded parents, grandparents and guardians can have a difficult time accepting the unique qualities of their children if they themselves have never fully felt accepted.
And tweens and teens can be very hard on anyone that doesn’t fit into the standards that are deemed to be cool at that time.
At that age, we are quick to compare ourselves to others, and that habit of comparing makes it difficult to really see who we are as individuals. Instead, we tend to experience unworthiness and feelings of not belonging.
Those feelings can linger with us right into adulthood where we find ourselves shrinking back from our own potential or trying to prove our relevance to others.
So it isn’t surprising that many of us have a deep, yearning need to feel accepted.
If you are not feeling accepted, you might find yourself rebelling against other people or life in general; being depressed or suicidal; or feeling like you don’t have choices but wishing things were different. You might find yourself resisting your feelings or your own life. You might find yourself having violent tendencies.
The remedy is acceptance, and if you did not feel fully accepted as a youth, then this is a fundamental need that you seek to fulfill as an adult.
You might find that you are entering into partnerships and relationships looking to be accepted, but not feeling accepted. Though you want it, there is a wounded part of you that doesn’t know what that particular experience of acceptance feels like, so you keep attracting people that don’t accept you.
Just as we’ve explored with the other Emotional Needs of the Soul, the good news is that you can fulfill your need for acceptance internally, and then you’ll naturally attract it in your relationships.
Fortunately, as you open to self-acceptance in your meditations and quiet reflections, some part of your soul that has experienced acceptance will open up. You will be able to remember and feel the joy of acceptance once again.
During our tween to teen years, we are also discovering what it means to take responsibility for what we have created. Some of us interpret taking responsibility as blaming ourselves. Or in our desire to emancipate from authority, we blame others.
Like comparing ourselves to others, this pattern of blame can also follow us into adulthood.
In its healthiest sense, taking responsibility is about recognizing the cause and effect of your choices, and adjusting to create better and better effects.
At this time in our development, we discover that where we have influence and where we don’t. We are not in control of everything, but by using our unique talents effectively, we can have significant influence in making our lives, and the lives of those we love, better.
In order to enjoy this kind of positive influence in the world, we need to feel fully accepted—in our moments of strength and our moments of weakness.
As you explore your emotional healing, consider that strengths and weaknesses are actually part of the same continuum.
Let’s say, I discover in high school that I’m particularly skilled in acting. My ability to act is a strength. But it is also my weakness. Perhaps I discover I’m so empathic with my character I have difficulty letting go of the role when I get home to my family.
The same is true with personal qualities. Let’s say I’m particularly sensitive to other people’s emotions. That can be a strength when someone needs my compassion. But it becomes a weakness if I’m constantly trying to fix other people so that I can feel better.
In order to fulfill this emotional need, the soul longs for you to accept the whole of you, wherever you are within the continuum.
If you are feeling particularly weak, accepting the feeling, allows your soul to rest. In this place of rest, the pain associated with this weakness dissolves.
If you are feeling particularly strong, accepting this feeling, allows your soul to feel joy and exhilaration.
The Divine created you perfectly for the experiences that your unique attributes provide. As you accept yourself as you are, you uncover Divine intention for you.
Consider taking the concept of acceptance for your emotional healing into The Holding guided meditation.
In my personal experience of meditating with acceptance, I discovered I found it much easier to interact with strangers. And my judgments softened profoundly. Because I accepted myself more fully, I accepted others with greater ease.
I look forward to hearing about what you experience as you Hold yourself in the healing arms of acceptance.