By Kenneth Stepp
I accept you, as is… How many times have we wanted to hear this from someone that we know is being honest? Knowing there is no need for pretense or fakery in any way, has power. Knowing we are safe with someone, knowing they won’t hurt us. Some even date people they know they will never love to avoid being hurt. That isn’t acceptance, it’s avoidance.
I’m no longer a young man. I have bags under my eyes some days, at times a belly (depending on how my diet went), flaws, issues, and enough baggage to fund Samsonite for at least a decade. We all have quirks, things we do that seem odd to others, and we’ve all failed at love. And for those of us who aren’t sociopaths, we have also been hurt.
Being single has its pluses. I really enjoy the freedom of not having accountability or responsibility to anyone but myself. The downside to being single is that I have no one to share what I do with all that freedom. And that draw to have that person, for me, far outweighs the value of the freedom I speak of.
We all change. I call it evolving. I’ve watched some of my friends shed their cocoons and fly. These are beautiful moments and what makes having good friends so meaningful. Then I have watched in horror as a beautiful heart withers away and is replaced by cold steel. These are the real victims of this journey.
I’ve evolved in a few areas I would never have thought possible. I enjoy being alone more than ever, if I am not comfortable being honest with someone, I remove them from my life, I have learned that I will survive no matter who doesn’t accept me, I have become one of the kindest people I know, I have learned that writing is in fact, good for me. Those are just a few.
I have a friend that stays with a guy that in no way accepts her. He berates, complains, and talks down to her constantly. That isn’t acceptance, nor is it love. Although he says he loves her, what he should say is, he owns her. It’s hard to watch and he isn’t happy with me as her friend. I remind her of her worth when we talk, hoping at some point, it sinks in.
I often write about love, what it is and what it isn’t. I ponder often about these things. I can easily see what it isn’t these days, but the ingredients of what it is, is so layered that I have never been able to put it into words. Acceptance is in there somewhere alongside loyalty, probably holding hands. I know love isn’t a feeling, I believe it to be a state of being where feelings can be fun though.
The power of acceptance is knowing things. As I mentioned in the beginning, it’s knowing we are safe to be who we are. Authentic and honest. I find as life sands down my rough edges that I am far more able to accept people at one point in my life I may not have. To be able to set our own ego aside and see the value of another human, well, that’s evolution.
To be able to accept what once was unacceptable. Because my life is very public and I engage with many people every day, it affords me a look into the lives of others. Many who made terrible life choices. Their journey consists of finding someone, and in some cases, anyone who will accept them. That seldom ends well.
I believe as a single person in a sea of singles, we should all lift one another up, we’ve all gone through or going through the same things. It doesn’t matter if you’re one of the pretty people with money or one of the big wonderful people who have to check under the car seat to find money for gas. We all face the same giants. Just be nice.
Keep treading water, your person is treading too. We are all looking for our person. We all want that precious gem in a sea of stones.
“Welcome to the single sea, where everyone is as important as anyone” – K Stepp