The Holy Grail of Human Fulfillment

Posted: July 28, 2011 in Deeper Things, Inspired!
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I’ve heard many reasons for the wish to succeed. They can be broad or narrow, shallow or deep; whatever the case there are a multitude of motivations for one to do well whether financially, or emotionally. I’m sure you can identify with some of these examples I’ve heard recently:

  • To have lots of money
  • To have a comfortable life with my family
  • To give my kids more opportunities
  • To take part in activities I missed out on growing up
  • A sense of security
  • A nice house
  • Feeling of purpose fulfilled
  • To be happy
  • For my ideas to become reality
  • To prove I’m responsible
  • For people to like me
  • To find my place in the world
  • To be heard by those I respect..

Most of them have to do with money, a sense of comfort, or purpose. People in almost all walks of life have this thought that they must do ‘well’ in their lives. The reasons given above are just a few. What I’ve realised though is as varied as the reasons are, for me there’s a somewhat uniting thread that connects them. We all got this idea of ‘success’ or ‘doing well in life’ from somewhere. For some of us our parents said things like “you must have a bigger house than me” or even “be more educated than I was”. Some saw their ‘rich uncles’ living in luxury houses with all the accessories we could only dream of (is it just me, or was there always a rich uncle?), and it motivated us to be more ‘like them’. Others still grew up with little or no opportunities, and desired to overcome their situation so their own children didn’t have to go through the same situations, or have a better start.

However the thread that I’ve thought of for a while is one that attaches itself to a very intrinsic human need in every heart. I believe that many times it is from this foundation that people start or grow in their desire to succeed. That need, is ACCEPTANCE.

Cue Choir of Angels!

From all that we think or even do, the need to be accepted is a very strong motivating factor. Whether it was because of socio-economic standards, or just because we saw ‘successful’ people on television, somewhere in our minds we formed a picture of what was accepted by society, family, and even by ourselves! To become anything less than what was accepted, was seen to be a failure. We think of our parents telling us to do better than them, the adverts showing us what kind of man/woman indulges in ‘the good life’, our friends talking about the cars they are going to drive one day, the place we grew up in and the common talk of ‘becoming better than this’; all these contexts have given us, are their terms of acceptance. These terms become a hidden cause in our quest for achievement, and can be a positive motivator, yet most times they can haunt us. Especially when things don’t go as planned.

I’m sure you have this ‘pressure’ that just lingers inside you when you think of your future and who you want to be. I call this kind of pressure the ‘threat of failure/punishment’. There’s pressure to become someone ‘accepted’ is so great, and yet most of the time this pressure is self-inflicted. Sure, some people you looked up to probably began the pressure-building with the demands they put on you with phrases like “you must succeed…you must pass exams…youmust get married by 30”, but we continued that script in our minds, repeating the words with those people’s faces showing, and our own voices saying their lines!

There are people, societies, and even memories that we seek acceptance from. We push ourselves to achieve these goals and hopefully ‘evolve’ from one state to the next, in the process accumulating those items or titles that were deemed ‘acceptable’. It really is about the need for acceptance. Think about this:the kind of success people are mostly after, is the kind that can be seen! To be recognised, praised, acknowledged, spoken highly of…these are part of the ‘acceptance-matrix’. You’re not going to make money unless people accept your service/product; you want that car, not only to be in it…but also to be seen in it!

I know this all sounds very proud and selfish, but it’s not like you can act as though you don’t want to be recognised. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that. It’s not like I’m writing this blog with no desire for it to be read by YOU! Of course you want to be seen…admit it! This kind of motivation is what makes movie stars and music icons. You think someone starts a business to not have great response from his/her target market? They want to make a killer profit! That only happens if they are recognisedStature increases your audience; whether that’s a good or bad thing is up to you, but something in us likes the idea of being accepted.

This is probably why people wrongly define ‘success’ in the first place. You’ve probably noticed the kind of ‘success’ I’ve referred mostly is the kind associated with money and popularity; the kind that is glamorised in almost all forms of media. This externally accepted version of doing well refers to something that can be identified by an audience. This results in a misdirection of motivation for success, as it undermines the most important form of acceptance we all need: SELF-ACCEPTANCE!

This is what we are really trying to do here on this earth. We’re all trying to achieve a state of being that we can live with, an image that we can look at in the mirror and smile at. All those ‘terms of acceptance’ we grew up hearing, we adopted; through repetition, prolonged thought, accepting of pressure…they became OUR OWN terms of acceptance! Many times, we are trying to attain the level of self-acceptance through external means…and that works in the same way a drug does: temporarily! Once the effects of the process wear off, we need another fix…so we aim higher!

Don’t get me wrong, some people do this because they actually believe in themselves. They succeed, and become, and do, and increase their goals, all because they have accepted their positive internal reality. Many, however, do the exact same things, to try to erase a negative internal reality; one that says they are not accepted until they meet the terms of acceptance. If you re-visited the list at the beginning of this post, how many of you would’ve added: “For my father to say he was proud of me”, or “so that my mum would know I wasn’t a failure”?

Where do you stand in your quest for Acceptance? Whether you’re doing it for you, for your kids, or even God…Acceptance truly is the Holy Grail of human fulfillment! Everybody wants it. Everybody seeks it. Everybody needs it!

True success is when you accept yourself. It makes all your achievements a natural bi-product to be accepted by others for who you are, as opposed to who they think you should be!

"The greatest success is successful self-acceptance" - Ben Sweet

Live by your own terms of acceptance. The high will never end.



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