Monday, October 5, 9936

Social Acceptance versus Love

Social acceptance is a major ego need. The ego wants to be considered valued and worthy, not only by itself, but also by others, because it is vaguely aware of what a fraud it is, so it depends on others to give it the sense of value that it inherently lacks. As a result, we look for ways to make ourselves appear worthy to others in order to gain their esteem. We then act, not the way we (our true selves) would like to act, but within the narrow confines of other people’s egos’ preferences. So we are slaves not only to our own egos, but also to the egos of others!

Social acceptance is different from love. We are inherently loving beings (although the ego, which is incapable of love, often masks our love). We want to love and be loved, not as an egoic way to add value to ourselves, but because love is characteristic of who we really are. We love unconditionally, and enjoy it when others love us unconditionally. Social acceptance, on the other hand, is a very conditional state wherein the ego is temporarily gratified by someone else’s behavior or appearance. This “acceptance” is always in jeopardy, because as soon as someone acts or appears in a displeasing way, the “acceptance” vanishes and is replaced with anger, criticism, or disgust.

We see the fragility of social acceptance all the time. Someone might appear acceptable to others for a while, so they have no reason to reject him, but one day he says or does something questionable, and instead of discussing it with him, they criticize and reject him. They let one act erase months or years of goodness. Why? Because the ego wants to feel superior to others, so it looks for any excuse to consider someone else to be less worthy than it. Anything less than 100% perfection is all the reason the ego needs to reject someone, because it considers the feeling of superiority to be much more important than friendship or love.  Remember, the ego cannot love.

In a nutshell, social acceptance is the ego’s conditional, temporary state of non-rejection (while always being in a state of non-love); while love is the true self’s unconditional, eternal way of being. There is no such thing as conditional love or unconditional acceptance.