Acceptance of Self and Others

Posted on August 4, 2011

Belonging begins with acceptance

To be beautiful means to be yourself. You don’t need to be accepted by others. You need to accept yourself. ~Thich Nhat Hanh

One of the things that causes immense amounts of human suffering comes from the desire to be accepted. In fact the need for belonging is one of the foundations of Maslow’s work related to achieving that level of self actualization where we live in peace and the knowing that all is well.

And in the current shift from viewing mental health issues as solely biological to that of including ones past experiences we can see that this issue of belonging and acceptance is also one of the key components of todays Recovery Movement.

Living in a state of well being or supporting others to discover their own intrinsic value is sort of like building a house; its a process not a one time event.

Part of that process is learning to become aware of the difference between seeking approval and seeking belonging.

How do we do that?

Sometimes by simply checking how we are feeling and recognizing that our feeling of beauty and self worth comes from within and if we are feeling less than worthy perhaps we are seeking approval from our relationships rather than belonging.

Self-awareness will most always take us down the path to self-acceptance and guide us to that place where we belong.

And as we support others who are seeking to belong and discover their own inner strength and beauty we can begin by making that shift from asking “whats wrong with you?” and thus minimizing defining ours or others life experiences to valuing those who suffer by shifting to understanding and asking “what happened to you?”.

Creating an environment where we feel as though we belong begins with cultivating acceptance of ones self and others as we are – without judgement or the labels that can distract from the source of human suffering or the expression of it.

Read more on the wisdom of Thich Nhat Hanh from his book The Art of Power by clicking here. 

For more information on personal empowerment and creating an environment of acceptance and belonging visit