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What We Love to Receive From Other People: Acceptance

We love to be accepted

Soft sunset colours in pale blue sky. Pinkish clouds. Row of ibis flying across the sky. Dark trees in foreground.
Sunset scene at Evergreen. The world around us is full of acceptance. The sky accepts the clouds. The clouds accept the wind. The trees accept birds. Ibis accept they must find a roost before the sun goes down.

We all remember moments when an application we submitted was accepted, resulting in a new job, entrance into an institution of higher learning, or inclusion in a birdwatching, cycling, skydiving, epicurean, golfing, or badminton club.

The acceptance letter or email makes us feel happy. We do a little dance, exultantly wave the letter in the air, or share the email. Life takes on a greater sense of importance. We matter. We are relevant. Others want us. Our existence is justified. Yay!

So, what if we were to give this feeling to all the people we engage with throughout the day? What if our words and body language gave off a vibe of acceptance?

The world would be a happier place.

Two Times When I Experienced Acceptance From Others

I can recall two episodes in my life when I was very grateful to experience acceptance from other people.

The first example was when I was twenty-two and travelling on my own from New York to Perth, Western Australia, via Europe. My first stop was Luxembourg. I hadn’t made a reservation for the two days I planned to stay. The internet didn’t exist yet, and I hadn’t used a travel agent. I just had a vague idea of leaving the airport and finding accommodation nearby that was cheap and that I could walk to.

This idea had seemed fine in New York. The reality was not. The plane landed close to midnight. After finally clearing customs, I found myself outside in the dark, hauling a suitcase without wheels. (Not too many suitcases had wheels in those days!) Eager taxi drivers made a rush for me, and a persistent young man volunteered several times to take me to his house for free bed and breakfast. All this left me feeling anxious.

Thankfully, I noticed a trio of American girls about my age, heading confidently out into the street. I hurried after them and asked where they were going, adding that I’d like to come along too.

They’d booked ahead and knew where they were going. It wasn’t far. Just a couple of miles. Of course I could join them, they said in happy unison. They had wheels on their suitcases so moved quickly. I puffed in their wake, taking frequent brief stops to put the suitcase down and swap hands. Within an hour I was safely tucked up in a bed. Their full acceptance of me, a stranger, into their group, had made it possible.

The second example is more recent. My husband and I walked into the Margaret River Bakery, which has a café attached. We chose our breakfast preferences, grabbed the table number token, and looked around for two free seats. There were none. A man and his young son noticed our dilemma and moved over, making room for us at the table. He accepted us. He valued us as people like them, needing a seat.

They left before us, and we saw another couple needing a seat. We moved over and signaled them to join us.

It was a happy morning. Acceptance of us and our acceptance of others bathed the bakery in warm light, adding to the delicious fragrance of freshly baked bread floating all around.

Because other people accepted me without hesitation, I have fond memories of Luxembourg Airport at night, and Margaret River Bakery on a winter’s morning.

Acceptance is what this life is all about.

  • Acceptance of strangers or others ahead of us in the line.

  • Acceptance of events we wouldn’t have chosen, like a bereavement or a disappointment.

  • Acceptance of something we’d prefer wasn’t there, like someone else’s car in a perfect parking spot, or a fly in the honey on our toast.

When we live a life of acceptance, we are making room for what is.

Once we accept something, possible positive options arise that we can choose from.

And then we make the world a better place.

With love, Marlane

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