Wait… you mean I’m fine the way I am? Like I don’t need to change?
Strolling in the crowded mall waiting for the time his shift begins…
Me: I need to be more patient. That’s the problem throughout my life. I know I need to change.
He: Hmm… why do you think you need to change? *puzzled*
Me: So I can be a better version of myself!
He: And you right now is not good enough?
Me: Of course not! I have tons of flaws and need to strive to become a better person. I need to learn and grow. *with conviction*
He: I don’t think so. *firm*
Me: What do you mean? Can’t you see that we all can be better than who we are now? *in disbelief*
He: I have to go but I think you are fine the way you are. I accept you for who you are and I hope you will accept yourself too. *walked away with an apologetic expression*
Still standing in front of the mannequin display, I felt like I was hit by a train.
“How can he possibly think that? I thought we had shared values. Now I’m not so sure anymore. How can we be content with who we are now? So flawed!” *thoughts and questions racing in my head*
But strangely, I also felt relieved to hear that I am accepted.
He: Your impatience also allowed us to get close and become best friends in a short period of time.
Me: Hmm.. right, I didn’t think about that.
The idea that our weaknesses are also our advantages is foreign.
While impatience is generally viewed in the negative light, in certain situations, it may come in handy.
While impatience had led me to make reckless decisions or appear too eager, it also built me into a self-starter, someone who is quick to action.
This coin has two sides.
In a heated argument about his tendency to procrastinate…
Me: Honestly, I don’t want to seem pushy but I can’t wait for you forever! *shouting in frustration*
He: That’s been the way I do things since I was little! It takes time. I need time to think. *seemingly hurt*
Me: I know… but that makes me wonder if you’ve forgotten. I feel anxious and the need to remind you. Then I would feel bad for being pushy. *defeated*
He: *paused to think for a moment* I’m sorry. I know you don’t have much patience. I want to love that part of you but I haven’t done that.
Me: …? *caught off guard*
He: Let’s try solving this problem together. We shouldn’t dismiss either of our feelings, but we also shouldn’t be forced to change for each other.
Me: Then how can we solve this conflict?
Genuinely accepting oneself and others is difficult. It is a learning curve.
For many of us, this form of thinking does not come naturally. It takes practice and the gentle reminders from those around you. You will catch moments of self-criticizing, and times when you judge others, harshly.
I will be the first to admit that I still struggle with self-acceptance on a daily basis, but I also realized the impact this repeated practice has on my level of empathy for others.
They teach us to be who we are, but how?
Perhaps the answer varies from person to person and comes in all shapes and sizes.
But for me, I believe it’s accepting and learning to work with what you are given.