The word acceptance has at least two meanings when it comes to personal relationships. First, there is internal acceptance: a person’s acceptance of himself. Then there is external acceptance: a person’s acceptance by the people around him. And both of these forms of acceptance are intimately tied up with the notion of self-esteem. In other words, how much a person likes himself, cares about himself, is based on how much he is able to accept who he is, with all of his assets as well as faults, as well as how much other people are able to accept him with all his assets as well as faults.
And up until the present, the assumption has been that all of this human network of human acceptance (as well as rejection) is built on the network of human social connection. According to this theory, it is only people who have the capacity through their emotions to support one another through human acceptance. And individuals who have the capacity through self-love to support themselves.
This all seems very basic and obvious. But I would like to submit that there is another factor that enters into this equation. A factor that my not seem very obvious, but the subtle presence of which is all pervasive. And this factor is the grounding or lack thereof that is provided by a person’s living environment.
If a person is living in a more traditional natural environment with lots of organic stimuli and, therefore, lots of grounding, the combination of the organic stimuli and the grounding contribute to a greater coherence of sense of self and therefore, a greater self-esteem and self-acceptance. Also, the large amount of grounding acts as a template for bonding with others which means both being able to give others greater emotional support as well as being able to receive emotional support from others. Through the emotional bonding, people can form a network of connections which end up giving individuals self-esteem and self-acceptance.
What is being stated here is that its not only other people, family and friends, that end up determining the extent to which a person feels acceptance both internally as well as from other people. It is also the landscape of which a person is a part. It is the totality of something highly intangible. The living environment is intangible, but still very real in the way it elicits primary experience within a person’s life narrative or doesn’t depending on the amount of organic stimuli, the flowing blendable continual stimuli, that the person encounters where he is living. It is this flowing blendable continual stimuli that draws him out into the world, and that pulls him into interactions with others, interactions that create the bondings that lead to the acceptance by others, the self-esteem and the self-acceptance.
Still, some may ask how can a total living environment affect self-esteem and self-acceptance. Aren’t first parents and then friends, teachers, other authority figures, and bosses the sources of how we perceive ourselves and how we like ourselves. And just as these adult figures become the sources of our mirroring and modeling, so these adult figures have, in turn, used the adult figures before them for the same purpose. We could keep going back across the generations to see where the first humans derived their sources for mirroring and modeling (was it God?). But that is sort of begging the question? The point is that maybe mirroring and modeling from humans is not the only vehicle for influence that leads to self-esteem and self-acceptance. Just as most people feel psychologically uplifted on a warm sunny day, so they’re going to feel a deeper psychological uplift in a more traditional natural living environment with lots of organic flowing blendable continual stimuli and, therefore, lots of sources of grounding. An appropriate living environment can provide a source of grounding just as an emotionally healthy family can.
Social acceptance is certainly easier in a more traditional natural living environment. It is no accident that so many honeymooners go to warm tropical islands. Such places are perfect templates for the kind of intense bonding that is considered an appropriate norm for starting a marriage off on the right foot. Such places are also good for personal acceptance, because, in simply communing with nature, sunning oneself on a white sandy beach, one is also communing with oneself. One feels more coherent, and this raises both self-esteem and self-acceptance.
By contrast, living in a modern technological environment, one is subject to the effects of living in an experiential vacuum. One is subject to the effects of the disintegration that comes from entropy. Which can translate into a loss of self-esteem and self-acceptance. And with a disintegrating sense of self, it becomes hard for a person to muster the focus to be able to bond with other people.
Again, I am not trying to deny the importance of good mirroring and modeling (or the lack thereof) in determining a person’s capacity for self-esteem or self-acceptance. I am just trying to present another factor which is not so obvious, but which, nevertheless, has a great influence on people. Where you live can have a profound influence on how you feel about yourself and others.