The Healing Power of Acceptance – By Ellie Parkins

“To confine our attention to terrestrial matters would be to limit the human spirit.” – Stephen Hawking

My past hypocrisy is amusing. During the days of hating humanity and introverting myself, I mocked people’s pathetic and obvious attempts for attention, meanwhile conveniently forgetting about my personal obsession with the size of my body – something viewed by the outside world, by other human beings. I convinced myself and others it was not about my physical self; there was no dysmorphia and other people’s perception of my body was irrelevant and unwanted.

With regret I am now able to see the truth behind it all. I wanted to look strange, I wanted people to think or wonder over whether or not I had a problem. I desired to be like all the girls I found interesting whilst also being able to fit into any clothing as then the opportunities, it seemed, were endless.

I, like the cliche dictates, wanted some form of attention. Unfortunately, the concept of ‘seeking attention’ is narrowed down to a colloquial definition that dismisses any real depth. This characteristic was not new to me however, and the root to the disorder can to some extent stem from a conscious decision to change my personality so that I could be liked and would be popular.

This ability to adapt and manipulate from such a young age (around eleven years old) was an insight into all the opportunities and people I could – supposedly – be if I wanted. And the acting is genuinely fun, especially seeing the effect it has upon my life. It was and still is, fascinating to see people respond to my performance and to test them.

The paradox that comes with this constant theatrical display is that you can never be inherently perfect at the character you are attempting to be. Alas, some traits of the person naturally grate against your true self and so begins a sudden dawning that this costume doesn’t quite fit you, others or your situation. Consequently, you begin the endless repetition of testing and trying, in the hope to find some sort of sweet comfortability to mask the insecurity and hopelessness within your true self.

Constant attempts to change who you are over time takes you so far away from yourself that when the day comes that you try to ‘just be’ it’s scary and you’re swamped with unease; who am I? What sadness am I capable of? Where will my mind lead me if I don’t restrict or control it?

This need to please everyone is a clear indication that I needed constant self assurance and approval for who I was. I was sick of being the girl that was liked, adopted by someone as their ‘best friend forever’, then dropped after a week and teased. Really all I needed was some strength in my character and the ability to know how to stand up for myself or deal with the situation appropriately.

I have that now, I feel strong in myself and who I am, my decisions and my relationships now that I’ve realised the extent to which I was trying to hide.

To accept yourself and not challenge your inherent character is something truly healing. Everything deepens, you become more open and honest with others, you feel confident with the friends that you make because you know that they are liking you for you, and therefore there’s no pressure to be another person for them. You relax and go with the flow.

Push past the uneasiness, you’re not as warped as you think you are. However foreign your mind my seem – becoming one with yourself is a holistic reality check that seeps through to all branches of your life and all relationships.
      

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