This word “Acceptance” has become quite popular in the realms of self help. I absolutely agree that acceptance is important. We should accept ourselves and we should also accept others for who they are and not push to change them. However, does accepting someone as they are mean that we need to accept ALL their behaviour into our lives and allow them to stay? I, like many others, try to be a “nice” person. I like to help others if I can and to be supportive, understanding and accepting. However, I have spent a lot of years trying to be a good girl and do this acceptance business, unfortunately I got a bit confused by it all and assumed that accepting someone fully meant that I had to tolerate their dark side. I thought I had to just put up with their weird and unacceptable behaviour. I thought accepting them meant I had to allow them and all their oddness into my life, even if it was hurting or damaging me… I am a bit of a slow learner, a Taurus girl so not so good at all this change business!
Over a long period of time I have been sent some interesting people. Some people arrive in my life and appear to have lovely qualities. However, I ignore that little warning in my gut telling me there is something not so good beneath the surface and just focus on the “nice” aspects of them. Do I really need to focus any attention on the slightly odd and possibly psychopathic parts? No of course not! I shall be a “good” spiritual person and embrace them into my life warts and all! I shall ignore all shouting and screaming sounds from my gut instinct and override that message in my insane desire to be “nice”, to be liked, to be loved… Then, when those gut feelings turn out to be the thing I should have listened to in the first place I am all hurt and shocked, all upset and bewildered. I think I may have had a little growing up phase this year…. better late than never.
The reason I am writing about this is because I do know that I am not alone in this and therefore I do not feel quite as silly as I did. I have had lengthy conversations with others in my life who also seem to turn a blind eye to the negative and sometimes hurtful behaviour of others. We do it because we understand why someone behaves in the way they do, we empathise, we feel for them, we want to be kind. But does that really mean we should let these things have a negative impact on us? Does accepting someone mean that we have to allow them to manipulate and bulldoze their way through our lives? NO.
When I have gone through a learning experience then I feel it important to share because somewhere, someone may just read this and start to wake up to the fact that they do not have to put up with any more bullshit behaviour in their life. They do not have to put up with being bullied or misled or lied to or just pushed into doing things they do not want to do. This is not a message to say that you or I are victims, we are not. We put ourselves in these situations, largely due to the fact that we want to be liked, we do not want to say “No” to someone for fear they may not like us, good heavens they may even get cross with us and then what would we do?! That would mean a confrontation of some sort, eek! No, no, I shall scuttle back into my corner and continue to behave in this way and allow others negative behaviour to influence me… I also will live in the desperate hope that the person in question may well change and become completely different, people do change…, it could happen… if I wait long enough they may change and then I will not have to deal with this… Oh dear, even writing this I realise more strongly how mad it all sounds and really I should have seen this a long time ago. If I am honest I think I did see it, I knew I was the one at fault allowing these things to happen but I just kept going through the same pattern, over and over, blah blah blah, see, told you I was a slow learner!
This is not really about being a slow learner though, more about avoidance. It is about self worth, valuing yourself and having strong boundaries. For me, herein lies the lesson and it was of course, nature that finally got the message through to me! Over recent months I have once again been dealing with a person who I so wanted to believe in and I once again pushed away my gut instinct and then it all went pear shaped! I was reeling from this and feeling incredibly upset and all woe is me, poor me, why is it happening again when suddenly, the neighbour’s dogs came into our garden and killed Mrs Magoo. She was our lovely old chicken who we have had for several years, she was ancient when we got her and has never laid an egg, a total free loader but we adored her. I was gutted. I cried buckets and then declared “That’s it, I want to move, I don’t feel safe here anymore, let’s leave”. Standard response from me when I have to have a confrontation or remove someone from my life, much easier to just run away… But of course I cannot KEEP doing that, I cannot keep moving when things get difficult. My partner hit the nail on the head, he just said, “Let’s put a proper fence up and reinforce our boundaries”. And there it was, the whole reason for all of this became clear to me… Boundaries. I did not have any, I just had an open door policy to any waif or stray who I felt compassion for. Sadly, I have had to face the fact that sometimes there are people in life that have bad parts to them that we should not ignore. If we ignore the bad parts, life will just keep repeating that pattern until we get the message.
So, I leave you with what I hope is a supportive message for any of you who struggle with these issues. You are not alone. Just because you see the light in someone, does not mean you should ignore the darkness. You cannot change people, we can only do that for ourselves and desperately hoping it will happen does not work. Strengthen your boundaries. Say NO if something feels wrong. Look after yourself, you will not feel any better about yourself by holding onto and allowing into your life someone who makes you feel bad, that is not the way. Tolerate others as they are, yes, but do not allow them into your life if your gut tells you otherwise – listen to your own instincts, if something feels wrong then it probably is, even if you do not know why, listen to it!!
Thank you Mrs Magoo you darling chicken, I am sorry it took such a strong kick up the bottom for me to get the message but I am forever grateful to you, I hope you are running around freely in the giant chicken coop in the sky xxx