The feeling of being accepted can be the most beautiful thing to happen to you.

“A close-up of a frozen spider web in Neumühl.” by Nicolas Picard on Unsplash

I’ve always had trouble trusting. You know, like, people all seem…basically constantly half-distracted by their own worries. I’m no less guilty of it. We’re all always a little bit caught up in the general concerns of just coping, and those concerns for taking care of ourselves tend to boil our brains just enough that none of us have much extra space in our over-pressurized noggins. What care we might feel for other people tends to slide around on the skim of the fragile bubbles of our mental stability, always in danger of either sliding off or of puncturing our minds and leaving our personalities in a splattery mess. In order to prevent the all too likely breakdown of our mental integrity, most of us make it difficult to get inside of us.

So I get it, you know? It’s hard to trust people.

Maybe it is. Maybe it’s just me. I don’t know.

I think that the roughest fact of life is the fact that what we seem wired to want more than anything is acceptance, and that at the same time the hardest thing to know for sure about other people is whether they really accept us or not. Because of being a society of enlightened individuals, we have all learned how to doubt. Doubt, more or less, became the defining feature of the species in the past couple hundred years. To varying degrees, we’ve all been infected by that bug. No matter how much we decide to believe things, we’ve all been conditioned to entertain an inch or two of doubt, to protect us from the potential of disappointment.

I might be shielding myself by speaking inclusively like this. I know this subject agitates me.

I think that the best gift I can ever give to anybody else is acceptance. I can accept people, in all their glorious ignominy, and see what happens. It’s the greatest thing any of us can do — to let the membrane around my psyche ooze enough to allow its permeation by alien influences and permit myself to be altered.

Which, like…it’s a choice I made for myself. It’s the gesture I choose to make towards my fellow people. It might be a small gesture, but it’s what I know how to do.

It’s odd, but in spite of feeling like the whole point and purpose of being alive, when this strange, intimate experience happens to me it happens with a surprising quiet. There’s no swell of music or great parenthesis in the form of some grand announcement. Nothing stands at the edges of it and says, “pay attention to this!”

The feeling of being accepted can be the most beautiful thing to happen to you. To me, I guess I should say.

Somehow, I have always failed to fully appreciate it at the moment it happens: when I’ve been falling and have been allowed past the fragile edge of another person’s mind and accepted.

It happened to me once. The moments piled onto each other and have tried to hide that first quiet nod — that first hand held out with no hidden agenda except to say yes.

Fortunately for me — poor, scatter-brained me — she’s been willing to repeat the gesture a lot of times.

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