Dear Younger Me,
Most of your life you have struggled to feel accepted. You’ve wanted to fit in with people, and you’ve wanted to be liked, and it has been a constant battle.
Watching other people, trying to be like them, always considering the impact of everything you do and say, constantly silencing your own thoughts and desires to fit in with others’ wishes… Let’s face it – it’s a tiring way to live!
The reality is you’re never going to please everyone, and not everyone is going to accept you. That doesn’t mean there’s anything wrong with you – it’s just part of life.
You know how hard it was in high school trying to fit in with a group of friends who wouldn’t accept you for who you were. To be accepted, you had to change your behaviour and your attitudes, and you know that wasn’t good. You never felt comfortable because it wasn’t who you really were. Eventually you dared to be yourself on two things – you got serious about focusing on music, and you refused to deny your faith – and they rejected you. You had become too different.
Deep down you know it was for the best, and you found new friends who were much more accepting (and a much better influence), but you still struggle with the idea of being accepted for who you are.
You always feel there’s something you have to do, a certain standard you have to achieve to make yourself acceptable. You’re constantly striving to prove yourself, and yet you never feel it’s enough. There are parts of you which you feel are deeply unacceptable, which you hide and deny.
If there’s a lesson I wish you could learn sooner than I did, it is that people-pleasing is a futile goal. You can’t please all the people all the time, and you can’t please some of the people any of the time! If that’s where you’re seeking acceptance, it will only lead to disappointment.
The good news is that God completely accepts you, exactly as you are. There’s nothing you have to do, nothing you have to prove… because it doesn’t depend on your goodness, but on Jesus’.
“He has reconciled you to himself through the death of Christ in his physical body. As a result, he has brought you into his own presence. And you are holy and blameless as you stand before him without a single fault.” (Colossians 1:22 NLT)
Forget trying to be accepted by people, and concentrate on the fact that you are already completely accepted by God. Once you grasp that, you’ll be free to be who he made you to be, and you won’t care so much about what people think, because you’ll be secure in him.
It may take a while for this truth to sink in, but keep reminding yourself. God accepts you, and that’s what really matters. Doesn’t that take away a lot of the pressure?
This post is part of “Dear Younger Me…” – a series for Write 31 Days in October 2019. Each day I am basing my writing on the one-word prompt provided. Today the prompt is “accept.” You can find an introduction to the series and an index of all the posts here, and you can find out more about the challenge and check out other people’s series here.