“The number one need in all people is the need for acceptance, the need to experience a sense of belonging to something and someone. The need for acceptance is more powerful in your family than anywhere else…. If that need is not met by your family, trust me, your kids will go elsewhere to seek it in order to find approval and acceptance.” PHIL MCGRAW, Family First
Family is the first and last sanctuary of acceptance. Without acceptance, we are emotional islands. We are thrust into this world through pangs of contraction and throes of violence and then land gently upon a breast of comfort. While we were utterly helpless, some soul cared for us, protected us, and nurtured us. Most did so without asking nor receiving recompense or reward. Parents give without asked repayment. It is this dynamic that sets up the dynamic for acceptance. The child feels loved… the child feels valued… the child feels cherished. We all desire that feeling. We are created to desire that. We are also created to want (even if we are not loved or cherished) to at least be accepted.
As we grew older, many of us still felt those things from our parents, to a lesser extent from our siblings, and to even a lesser extent from our extended families. Acceptance might be all we feel from them, but we typically did, because we were blood. But then we went out into a cold world of strangers… of people who are not blood…of people who do not accept.
Blood, even if we are jerks or failures, accepts us. Acceptance can be by co-workers, bowling team, tattoo club, or religious fellowship. Typically, however, acceptance by most groups is conditional – we have to conform to some minimal behavior or belief to remain accepted. But not family. Not kin. Not family. We should not be an island to blood, we should be a part of the continent.
Many people who cross our paths are lonely islands. They have rightly or wrongly been cut off from acceptance… and whether rightly or wrongly cut off, each of them desires to be accepted. When you meet others, be open to the possibility that you could be person who gives the acceptance he or she needs to press on in this life. Family or not, you may be their last sanctuary of acceptance.
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