Tag Archives: acceptance

the profound act of simple inclusion

The Profound Act of Simple Inclusion

The Science Behind Why We All Want to Be Accepted

Look around. It’s no secret that many people are vying for attention.

Colored hair. Piercings. Expensive clothing. A totally muscular body.

Tattoos or a luxury car. A huge home, kids who are worshipped.

There are all kinds of ways we get others to say, “Look at me!”

Even this, just a blog, innocent though it may be, is a way to grab attention:

It whispers, I have something to say, and I want you to listen.

I want you to…

hear me,

see me,

know me,

like me,

accept me.

All humans want to be accepted.

They don’t want to be abused.

They don’t want to be ignored.

They don’t even want to be tolerated.

Deep down, what we all want is true love, the real kind, the good kind.

The kind of love that says, I see that you’re what the world calls different, and I love you just the same.

The kind of love that says, you’re normal, and I know there’s really no such thing.

The kind of love that says, I will stick by you come hell or highwater, and we will make it through.

The kind of love that says, I created you, came down for you, and gave up all my glory just for you.

The kind of love that says, skin is skin and circumstances are circumstances, but your soul is what I see.

What’s funny is, when we know that something isn’t for us, it’s hard for us to accept that kind of love, isn’t it?

When we’re hurting someone else by our words or actions, it’s hard to accept that love.

When we’re choosing to malign our own souls, it’s hard to accept that love.

When we’ve been so low that we see nothing but darkness–or when we’ve been so high the pedestal is waiting to topple–it’s hard to accept that love.

Humans aren’t meant for the high highs or the low lows. There’s a reason we were told not to eat from the proverbial tree of the knowledge of good and evil.

We’re not meant to be beaten down.

But we’re not meant to be worshipped, either.

It’s why the severely abused and the psychotically adored tend to behave the same.

We’re meant to meander through the gray area, the color that makes us think.

It’s in the gray that we look up.

It’s in the gray that we lean on others.

And that’s where we find our peace, in the looking up and the looking around, the reaching high and the reaching out, the singing and the serving.

Science tells us this is so:

Recent research suggests yet another way our well-being can benefit from practicing pro-social behavior: helping others regulate their emotions helps us regulate our own emotions, decreases symptoms of depression and ultimately, improves our emotional well-being.

psychologytoday.com, “In Helping Others, You Help Yourself”

What I’ve found in my own life is that empathy is the path to inclusion.

When I place my feet in the shoes of another–rich, poor, black, white, gay, straight, religious, non-religious–I’m better able to understand who they are.

Understanding who they are always seems to lead me back to my Creator.

And the road to my Creator leads me right back home to my heart, where He dwells within.

How are you finding ways to include others? In this crazy world, it’s nice to feel wanted and loved.

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empathy is the path to inclusion monthtomilestones.com

Who Is Telling Your Story?

“In life, finding a voice is speaking and living the truth. Each of you is an original. Each of you has a distinctive voice. When you find it, your story will be told. You will be heard.” – John Grisham

My father is staying with us this week because my grandfather is in the hospital nearby.

Dad’s been spending long days tending to Radio Joe at the hospital so that he won’t be alone.

The time he’s been here has taught me a number of lessons, and I’ve been taking notes in my journal of what I’ve learned.

Care more about the future. Make a plan. Start saving more money for retirement and long term care.

Be grateful. Life is short. Time flies. Enjoy the days more.

Stop being negative. Stop pitying yourself. Stop being so critical and depressed. You sound just like your father.

I sound just like my father.

It’s amazing what a child picks up in the short time it spends at home.

I’m sure some of what we learn isn’t really learned at all; it’s simply the genetic code we’ve been given at birth.

But I think more of what we learn is really learned. We watch our parents and can’t help but to imitate them.

My fear of money; it’s always existed, it seemed. There has only been one time in my life that I’ve truly not had food to eat or clothes to wear, but even then, I managed. And there has been plenty of abundance, and yet, I’m constantly anxious about money, how much we have and how much we don’t have.

My critical spirit, not just of others, but also of myself. I think I’m the worst of everyone and do the worst of everything, and so, oftentimes, I won’t even try to do the best I can because, what’s the point?

My need to be right. I will find a way to prove myself right time and time again. Like a nagging voice, shouting to be heard, I want to be right! If I’m not right, I feel worthless.

My desire to control and my deep fear of control. I not only want to know every moment of the future, I’m terrified of it and escape as much as possible to avoid it.

All of these parts of my personality come directly from my parents, including my substance use disorders.

How do you change what’s so deeply embedded within you?

Well, some people never will. Some people never become aware enough about what’s happening within them to make a conscious effort to change.

Which is why I thank God for the last two years.

After a rough season in my early thirties, I really settled into my late thirties, and was getting by fine, but growing- dare I say- restless.

I wasn’t working outside of the home, other than a part-time preschool teaching job and a freelance writing gig here or there.

I didn’t really know where I was headed. Did I want to get back into full-time teaching? I hadn’t liked it too much when I’d been there, all that grading and parent involvement and dealing with other people’s children.

And yet, it was a steady job, and at the time, I’d been wanting to move my children to a private school that was Christian and more traditional in learning style (or so I thought).

I claimed my reasons were pure, but the truth was, I wanted money for myself and I wanted to move my children so that in a smaller school they’d feel better about themselves.

That thinking, me and my wants, were what had dictated so many moves I’d made in life, long before the decisions I made two years ago.

What I chose to do, going back to work, moving the kids, was a mistake that had been given a clear no by God. He’d all but shouted; I hadn’t listened.

And though He’s blessed me anyway because that’s how He works–He’s a blesser, not a punisher–I know for sure I didn’t make the right decision and haven’t been making the right decisions for quite some time.

The hardest pill to swallow is understanding that human time is linear and there is no going back to fix what’s been broken.

My voice broke some time ago, way back in my past, and instead of trying desperately to get it back, to speak again, I’ve jumped from person to person, place to place, position to position, trying to go and be and do.

I can’t tell you the years I’ve wasted. If such a thing were possible, wasting years. I tend to think God can and will use anything, especially sin.

The last two years have ended up teaching me so much. I’ve dealt with the realization of my age, a friend’s betrayal, job loss, deconversion from the only beliefs I’ve ever known, suicide, death, illness, my children leaving home for college, my first dog dying.

You name it, and over the last two years, I’ve probably lived it.

But I’m learning to find my voice. And I’m learning to speak up with confidence.

I’m rediscovering my value, that I’m worth the price someone paid to set me free, an ultimate price, at a cost of uncloaking divinity to take on my flesh.

On Sundays, I reflect.

I’ll take a drive through the backroads of our town, sit on my deck and watch the hummingbirds, think about life near the calm waters of the lake at our town park.

I found this written in the pages of my planner last Sunday.

a list of what I want by monthtomilestones.com

I found it fitting that the highlighted line underneath tells me to head to my favorite place on earth. I’ve long been a beach girl. It’s where I feel closest to God.

And though I think it was metaphorical, the whole beach and shell thing, it’s exactly what I plan to do.

I’ll find the roaring voice inside me, the one that sounds like the gushing waves of the ocean.

I’ll search for all the little shells of wisdom, different in shape, size and color, and I’ll stick them in my pocket. My fingers will study them, the smooth top, the rough edges.

And I won’t be afraid to show them to the world.

How are you finding your voice? Was it lost? Are you just now discovering it? I’d love to hear from you.

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I cannot wait to show you the culmination of a year’s work, my Month to Milestones Bracelet. Stay tuned in the coming weeks for where to find it so you can Reward the Journey!