It is often quoted that one of the most supreme values of being a human is the ability to love. Humanity, bestowed with emotions, has this innate ability to love that makes all the life worthwhile. Love – in its various forms across relationships – makes bonds stronger and gives a strong purpose in life.
With an alarming deterioration of the mental health across the globe, the most common and oft-repeated solution to this menace is love and kindness. And as mental health advocates and organizations, step up and counsel the patients, they primarily focus on acceptance of the situation, and love of the immediate family and caregivers.
Yet, acceptance – a word that has been ingrained so strong into a woman’s psyche – is always somewhere strongly linked to suppression. A few notches more if the woman is Indian! Are you accepting because there is no other choice? Are you accepting because you are worried on what will the extended family or the society say? Are you accepting because of you demeaning your own self-worth? Are you accepting because you have always seen women around you like your moms and aunts do that?
And that is what demarcates the acceptance by a strong woman vis a vis acceptance by a weaker woman, who does it either under pressure or due to lack of a fall-back option.
Acceptance with all your heart and soul is perfectly fine.
Let me tell you a story of a woman – Fran Drescher – an American actress, activist and writer known for her super successful comedy series, The Nanny. While most of the world remembers her for her comic timing and nasal voice, quite a few of us are awed by her for her ability to accept some adversities of her life extremely gracefully.
She met her ex-husband Peter Marc Jacobson when she was in her teens, and together they went on to become not only life partners, but also extremely synergetic professional partners with their show – The Nanny. They were together for about two decades and eventually the marriage ended with a big confession that came by even later – that her husband is gay. While the initial years of separation were mauled with anger, self-pity and frustration, the whole scenario changed when the second adversity hit Fran – the Big C. She was diagnosed with Uterine Cancer.
And it became a turning point in their relationship, where both accepted each other for what they are as their relationship was built on true love. Another two decades have passed since those tumultuous times in their lives, but Fran held on to her love, respect and admiration for her ex-husband and has accepted him as-is while giving herself the space to live her own life on her own terms. Not only did she accept him for what he was, but she became one of the major advocates of gay rights and said in an interview, ‘We are the same people with the same love for each other. We just adjusted the dynamics of our relationship.‘
Now that is true acceptance.
Fran is just one of those million women around who did that. I am sure when you look around, you are going to find many like Fran.
We never realise, but the truth is our lives are very fragile. And the only bond that can strengthen this life is unconditional love that we can give and get from those around us.
So, the next time, you are accepting a situation in your life, do sit back and think – are you accepting with love or with a lack of any other choice?
And if it is the former, it is perfectly fine.
And the only one who would know the difference is you. Whether your heart feels light and happy or heavy and sad, is the key question here.