You Are Unique! Accept It!
There are things I don\’t like about myself. For one, I\’m much too anxious. I apparently have been dealt an unusually high number of stress hormones. No matter how many positive messages I give myself, there are situations to which I react with sheer panic. This can make life most uncomfortable, to say the least. Then there are the painful joints and a torn tendon that are the blessings of activity and age. Other things I don\’t like, that really don\’t matter much, are straight baby-fine hair, glasses, and orthopedic shoes.
I\’m working on managing my variety of infirmities. However, there are times when problem resolutions and coping mechanisms have been thoroughly explored and implemented, and I am still plagued by problems beyond my control. What, then, can I do? One of the best ways I\’ve found to handle such challenges is through acceptance. Acceptance is not easy to come by, at least not for me. But without it, a variety of negative thoughts and emotions can fill my mind and erode my spirit.
Sometimes I get angry about having the problems I have. Nothing like adding anger to pain and stress! Smart, eh? I\’ve discovered that the symptoms of anger can be similar to the symptoms of stress: headache, blurred vision, shakiness, knotted stomach, so that I am adding problem upon problem.
Critical of Self
I can also be quite critical of myself and blame myself for any ill health. We all do that to some degree. A friend of mine told me that she blamed herself for having breast cancer. It\’s unlikely that she had anything to do with contracting the disease. But, that\’s how she felt. I am no different.
Critical of Others
When I am critical of myself, I tend to be critical of others. This is a carry-over effect. No one at this point in my life is asking me to be perfect. No one, except me. And when I set up standards of perfection for myself, I do the same for others. Everyone falls short, and no one comes up to my impossible expectations. We are all unsatisfied.
Not accepting physical and emotional challenges may lead to self-pity which saps productive energy. There are people who suffer from afflictions far greater than mine and who are as productive as they can be. Their ability to accept their crosses puts me to shame. My friend, Betsy, suffers from bipolar disease. Her medication gives her tremors and has caused diabetes. She regularly volunteers at a local high school, assisting the librarian in setting up a cataloging system. Betsy also visits people in nursing homes, nurturing and cheering the ill. Harold, my husband and a fine artist, suffers from a variety of illnesses, including cardiovascular disease and diabetes. Yet, he diligently paints one portrait after another, delighting the recipients with his interpretation of their serenity and elegance. What an inspiration these two people are!
Acceptance of Uniqueness
When I fret about my ailments, I am actually expressing frustration over the things God has allowed to come into my life, as well as how He made me. Og Mandino, in his book, The Greatest Miracle in the World, tells us, “Proclaim your rarity.” He wrote a chapter called “God\’s Memorandum.” It\’s God\’s message to you and me:
“Never, in all the seventy billion humans who have walked this planet since the beginning of time has there been anyone exactly like you.
“You arrived, bringing with you, as does every child, the message that I was not yet discouraged of man. Two cells now united in a miracle. Two cells, each containing twenty-three chromosomes and within each chromosome hundreds of genes, which would govern every characteristic about you, from the color of your eyes to the charm of your manner, to the size of your brain.
“With all the combinations at my command, beginning with that single sperm from your father\’s four hundred million, through the hundreds of genes in each of the chromosomes from your mother and father, I could have created three hundred thousand billion humans, each different from the other.
“But who did I bring forth?
“You! One of a kind. Rarest of the rare. A priceless treasure, possessed of qualities in mind and speech, and movement and appearance and actions as no other who has ever lived, lives, or shall live.”1
What a staggering thought! What a reason to learn to appreciate and accept ourselves just the way we are!
Advantages of Acceptance
So, then, acceptance decreases anger, lessens criticism of myself and others, and reduces self-pity which, in turn, increases productivity. This results in a large measure of contentment and a sense of gratitude for how God created and molded me.
As you look at all the facets of your created being, what you see as both the good and the bad, accept what is the end result: a rare and precious jewel!
1 Og Mandino, The Greatest Miracle in the World (New York: Bantam Books, 1981), 97-98.