The student news website of Omaha Central High School

Nuances within acceptance

November 10, 2021

Reentering the world of socialization after a prolonged period of isolation is a strange process; one that has led me to question my desires to interact with others. 

Human beings long to feel accepted and loved: a necessity we have all become extremely aware of after the past year and a half. Needing to feel accepted is not a negative thing, it is simply an element of human existence.  

We all desire to feel safe and secure, and once those desires are met on a physical level, they extend to the emotional plane. This means feeling secure in relationships, thoughts, a sense of inner peace, amongst other aspects.  

After being able to spend a lot of time with myself, I was able to develop a solid sense of inner peace and internal satisfaction with myself. I discovered how to care for myself in the ways that are best for me, and what I need to do to be happy.  

Acceptance from others was not part of my emotional wellbeing. Now, however, as social events are re-emerging, I find myself being affected by that sense of approval from others once again. Like I mentioned earlier, this need for approval is not inherently bad. It is some of the side-effects of the need for approval that introduce problems. 

I find myself giving up alone time, something I discovered I need to feel safe and secure within myself, to attend social events. The fear of missing a group activity feels threatening, as if the one event I choose not to attend will alter all future interactions and invitations. I may miss that transformative moment that increases the bond between everyone in attendance, leaving me on the outside.  

I know these fears are slightly irrational, maybe even completely irrational, yet they feel so very real. It is as if I have developed hyperawareness of myself from an outsider’s lens, and my actions are largely reactive to that lens. 

Then again, I think about the genuine relationships I have been able to create through social interaction. These people do indeed make me feel safe and secure on an emotional level, and I doubt they will ever truly know the gratitude I have for their existence.  

There are some connections I wish could last forever; some people I wish could last forever. Life tends to keep moving forward when all I want to do is stop and exist now. Exist without the fear of what happens next, exist without the “why’s” and the “when’s” and the “what if’s”; just exist.  

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