acceptance based on false pretences – is it worth it?

(some more thoughts following on from my earlier rambling)

the desire to feel accepted sometimes leads us to pretence – say there’s a bunch of people who seem to value intelligence, and you want these people to like you, so you might pretend to be smarter than you really are. or say they all like a particular type of music, you might pretend to absolutely love that music just so that you can belong in that group.

and so you end up being accepted but knowing very well that you were accepted based on false pretences, so you are going to be forever waiting in fear of being found out and rejected.

a bit like not daring to tell people you’re gay, pretending to be in a straight relationship and thus gaining temporary acceptance from people around you, and never knowing how many of them will stand by you if the truth comes out – never knowing who your true friends are. because you’ve never given people the opportunity to become your true friends – you haven’t shown them who the real you is.

that’s why when I met the man I’m now married to, I made a point of getting all the skeletons out of my cupboard very early on – if he was going to reject me because of things in my past, I preferred that to happen early on, before I’d invested too much in the relationship. And I did not want to spend my whole married life in fear of what he might one day find out about me – what if we bump into someone who knew me back when…

that’s why I put something clear about my faith in my profile both here and on fb – if one of my relatives sees it and decides they don’t want to know me, fine, let that happen sooner rather than later.

the more honest and open I am about who I am, the more chance I have of forming real friendships of lasting value. the more I hide, the more I will have to fear – being found out is scary only if you have secrets that you don’t want people to know about. in my early army days I was chucked out of a course because of security issues, because they found out that I was bisexual – and the IDF policy is (or at least was) to treat that as a danger to security because, according to their logic, it means someone could blackmail you into providing them with military secrets. The ridiculous irony in my case, as I tried in vain to explain to them, was that the army was the only place where I’d tried to hide it – once they knew, that was it, there was no danger of blackmail…

when I first came to England I went through a pretend marriage in order to get a visa so that I could stay here. I had to keep that going for a year so that I could get a permanent visa – they gave me a one-year visa to start with, and then me and that guy had to go to the Home Office and say we were still married. and so for a year I pretended at work to be married to this guy, and had to keep remembering my intricate web of lies in all sorts of conversations. it was a huge relief to stop playing that game when the year was over.

but most of the time our deceits are less drastic than these. most of the time it’s stuff like pretending to see what the joke is when everyone’s laughing; pretending to think something is rubbish because that’s what everyone else thinks; pretending to absolutely love something because everyone else does; pretending to know more than you do, to impress everyone; pretending to know less than you do, so that the others won’t feel threatened by you; etc etc. small deceptions. all because we long to feel accepted.

the truth is there’s only one place where we can get total unconditional acceptance, and that’s from God – he is the one who knows each of us exactly as we are, he knows even the bits we hide from ourselves, and he still loves us. Psalm 139 says it so well.

10 thoughts on “acceptance based on false pretences – is it worth it?

  1. You were in the army? I had a brief stint in the Navy but got kicked out (of basic training) for insubordination. I was un-trainable. You're right though. God loves with the mud on our faces and all. I'm fortunate that I have a wife who is the same (sounds like you landed a husband in that genre). She met me at the tail end of my worst, knew all of my secrets right out of the gate and fell in love with me anyway. She even stuck with me after meeting my family :)

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  2. lol… you and I have so much in common… if military service wasn't compulsory in Israel I wouldn't have dreamt of doing it, the whole concept of being given commands… not my scene… and even less so when I was 18! (that's the age you have to go) I was far from ideal soldier material…

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  3. teeny tangent: have you seen the movie Kinamand? it's the story of a danish dude that marries a chinese woman in order for her to move the country. excellent story. i think you'd like it. it's a bit awkward in some ways, but i think that's part of the charm. touching movie.

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  4. thanks, hadn't heard of that film – I did see Green Card a long time ago, I think there it was an American woman marrying some guy, was he French? so that he could stay in the US. don't remember much now, except that it had Gerard Depardieu in it.

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  5. I didn't realize it was a requirement in Israel. When I was in high school, grade 11 (graduated 12 in 1977 .. shhh), there was a girl in my english class and we got talking one day about the army cadet program offered at school. We decided to join up. We had to wear icky green wool uniforms and black boots (but they didn't have my size and wouldn't give me a men's boot). There was a spot in the basement, reinforced, where we got to shoot a .22 at a paper target, lying on the ground, with the rifle propped up against rectangular hay bales that were covered in itchy blankets. Had to do a parade in the gym one day, in front of the whole school for visiting officers, and there we were, Robin and I, the only two women (girls lol) in the pack. It was a good experience, but I didn't stay with it or pursue it once I got out of high school.

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  6. sounds like a great way to find out what it's like, a taster so you could see if it was your kind of thing or not. we learned to shoot in basic training, we learned to fire an uzzi submachine gun and I really enjoyed that – discovered I was good at it! our uniforms weren't scratchy, but the concept of having to wear a uniform was something the young rebellious me did not like at all… (and btw, we're not all that far apart in ages, from what you said… shhh…)

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  7. Blows me away when I think of it at times. My son is older than the oldest high school kid I dragged off to school in the bus, and for some, I was older than their parents !! Some days, I felt really really old haha(won't say a word to anyone .. it'll be our secret *wink*)

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