Saturday, November 14, 2015


As I think of the term 'acceptance' I have come to appreciate the depths of meaning it has. Or better yet, the levels of acceptance there exist in one's life.

I see these different levels in the acceptance of:
  • gifts;
  • self;
  • the outcome of a situation;
And I am sure there are others, yet in my flu/cold rattled brain, and upended emotional state, these are the only ones I can think of at this time.

In terms of gifts, during my early developmental years I accepted gifts unquestionably. Especially when it was my birthday or a holiday. After all, I was the center of attention. But, when I started dating, accepting a gift often meant a string was attached. At least in my mind. And maybe his.

When I first came out, I wanted so much to meet men and date. I went out to bars, clubs and eventually tried the personal ads, both placing and responding. (This was in the stone age before dating apps were on your smartphone and the nearest hookup might only be 100 yards away and 30 minutes after your last one.) Via one ad, I attracted the attention of a French-Canadian doctor living in Southern California and we dated a few times. We weren't exclusive and he sometimes showed up with gifts and/or took me out for a nice meal. I was a starving student teacher at that point and meals that weren't necessarily instant or packaged in Styrofoam were a treat. Yes, I felt guilty for accepting his gifts/meals and we ended up being intimate. And I felt guilty afterwards because I didn't find him attractive. Understandably, my self-esteem suffered.

I have now learned that just because someone wants to buy me a nice meal, or give me some other extravagant gift, it doesn't mean he is entitled to have me as his dessert. I can merely say, "Thank you", accept the gift and let him ponder his next move.

I'm not going to elaborate on acceptance of self, as earlier posts in this blog have dealt with my self-acceptance on coming out and in other areas of life. But I do want to mention that part of acceptance of self, includes the acceptance of the parts we don't particularly like, our 'shadow' self. Our shadow self is that part of our self we may not identify with, i.e., negative traits. We may not think of ourselves as the jealous type, and repress those feelings, only to have them surface at a later time. Some psychologists believe the shadow self represents our primitive self, our deepest, darkest secrets/fantasies that we are afraid to name, or simply those negative traits/self-concepts/fears we are trying to avoid. The most important part of the shadow self is to simply accept that it exists so we may be aware of it when it arises. Accepting those unflattering traits we all possess is never easy. The shadow will arise, often at a most inopportune moment, possibly changing the course of your life and affecting that of others.

Accepting unexpected outcomes is never easy, in fact it can be quite painful; my divorce, for example.

I've blogged on how it was a shock, how it left me devastated, how it left me depressed-especially after sixteen years together-and how I've overcome all of that. I have now accepted the outcome of my divorce as a blessing and a period of exponential personal growth.

I recently found myself in a situation I never dreamed of. After swearing off dating and relationships, I found myself in a relationship with someone I never expected. He was almost the exact opposite of what I inscribed on my "list of needs" -not quite my age, not quite my contemporary-yet he possessed qualities and attributes I never dreamed were important to me. He awakened those needs in me, and I realized these recently discovered needs superseded those on my "list." And we grew closer, and I grew closer to him than I did to my ex-husband, which I understand is normal in post-divorce relationships, as we've now learned our lessons from the past. I grew to want this relationship to succeed in spite of; no, because of the differences between us. After all, a challenging relationship is never dull. We would continue to grow into ourselves as we faced and overcame the challenges, both individually and as a couple. And we both saw this. And we both wanted it to succeed. Yet, other forces brought challenges from outside the relationship adding to our own, causing us to take a good look at where we are.

I may have to eventually accept whatever direction this takes, even if it is not what I want. As will he, even if it's not what he wants.

And, if it's meant to be, it will find a way...someday...maybe...

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