The Pathway

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The Path to Happiness

                         The Path to "Acceptance" Happiness

Happiness is something that we seek. We sacrifice the little things in life in order to obtain it. One of the happiest days of my life was when I came out to my parents as gay - at least that is what I thought. They happily “accepted” me. The reason why I place quotation marks around the word has to do with the fact that my parents did not “accept” me. With acceptance comes the possibility of rejection. We seek acceptance of others, but fear the possibility of rejection that might come along with it. The difference in my case is that I didn’t fear rejection because it wasn’t a possibility to begin with. Since birth, my parents have loved and supported me unconditionally, so to say that they have “accepted” me now is similar to saying that I have not been their son until that moment I decided to be fully honest with them. 

Why is it that some people, including myself, base our happiness on the acceptance of others - whether it be acceptance into a school, acceptance to a job, or acceptance by friends? Psychology suggests that nurture - our environment -  plays an important role in shaping our perspectives and behaviors. We believe that in order to feel happy, we must be dependent on others for that happiness. Of course, this is not to say that some of our happiness mustn’t come from others. Promoting isolation will definitely not guarantee happiness. Instead, the goal should be to redirect our main source of happiness to coming from the person himself. Our ultimate source of happiness should be because we choose to; not because someone else decides for us. I believe that the first step to obtaining happiness is by actually doing it: obtaining it intrinsically. 

The fear of rejection will always lurk over our shoulders, but we shouldn’t let our happiness be dependent on it. Nor should we let our happiness be dependent on “acceptance”. In retrospect, coming out to my parents wasn’t a plea for acceptance, but rather an act of communication, bonding, and honesty. I love my parents, and they love me. But most importantly, I love myself for being honest, for supporting my own decisions, for striving to do better than who I was a minute, 3 months, 5 years, or however many years ago. I love myself because in order for me to love someone else, I must first take the time to love, appreciate, and value my own person I am today. And for that, I am happy.

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