Today, when people share their brokenness with me, my first goal is to create safe space where they can give voice to whatever they thought was unspeakable – and learn, in the words of theologian Paul Tillich, to “accept the fact that they are accepted.” My ultimate goal is to be able to say from the depths of my own human experience, “Welcome to the human race.”

– Parker J. Palmer*

This quote from one of Palmer’s essays in his most recent book touched me deeply. I wrote it in my journal and have continued to read it, again and again, and to see the many aspects of life – my own in particular – that it addresses. As a compassionate listener, I have reflected on the many wounds of life and the ways in which they carved out my early experiences and moved me through the evolution of the person that I am becoming…more and more.

The first word to catch my eye…and my heart…was brokenness. We each have parts of ourselves needing healing from brokenness of some kind – or many kinds. As I enter the Autumn and perhaps early Winter of my life, I know the importance of acknowledging our brokenness as a first step toward the acceptance and ultimately the healing of the wounds which underlie it.

His reference to Tillich’s quote, to “accept the fact that they are accepted” is so very important. As a compassionate listener for many years, I have heard and seen the challenge that this can be for so many who are hurting. When we feel we are not seen or heard by others, we may not feel worthy of acceptance – by others or even by ourselves. Our resistance to our own worthiness and acceptance of ourselves as we are keeps many of us running…for our lives. Unable to face ourselves, we distract ourselves with too much work, or too much physical activity, among many other distractions.  We smile and create a story that keeps us moving, overdoing, over thinking, and unfamiliar with our essence…our very being.

Accepting ourselves as and for who we are is one of the most important gifts we give to all of us.

Welcome to the human race.


*from the essay, “Embracing the Human Frailty”, p.152; On the Brink of Everything: Grace, Gravity and Getting Old

11 thoughts on “acceptance

  • Being welcomed to the human race feels so awesome. It reminds me of when I felt that unconditional love and acceptance! Sometimes we don’t even know it until it appears later in life. Thank you for sharing your wisdom 💛


  • Profound reflections about acceptance and feeling worthy, Carrie. Last night, I had an unexpected visitor, a lovely young woman running away from an abusive relationship. It was clear that she had no image of self-worth and little hope that her life would ever be different. I couldn’t tell if her incoherent rambling and agitated state were due to drugs or alcohol. The best I could do was listen to her calmly, call a cab for her, and hand her a little money for cab fare and dinner. My parting words were “Take care of yourself.” I truly hope she made wise decisions.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Carol, what a wonderful gift…to listen to one who is hurting so much. Your compassion has made a difference. Like you, I hope she will make wise decisions. Hers is a clear example of unworthiness and fear and represents every woman in some way. It has much for us to see in it. Thank you for your compassion for this woman. ❤️

      Liked by 1 person

  • This is a very wise and timely post for me. I have been reflecting a lot on the fact that I have accepted my husband and father are no longer here. I think I’m in the process of accepting my life as it is now, i.e. accepting the fact that I have accepted.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Wow, Helen…what an example of acceptance that is! I am reminded that letting go is a part of acceptance and acceptance is closest to being complete, when we let go. Perhaps letting go of or changing a story helps us move in that direction. Not an easy path. However, it is essential for growth, evolution and peaceful existence. Wishing you well dear Helen, in these transitions. ❤️​☮️​

      Liked by 1 person

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