I believe in the acceptance of individuality. From the day we are conceived, we are the only person we are ever going to be. We are created by millions of chances both genetic and environmental, each making us different from everyone else. Who am I? I am me.
After 19 years of conformity, I finally came to accept myself as an individual. I am a gay man and for the longest time I was not willing to accept that, all I wanted was to be like everyone else. Although I finally came to love myself, I yearned for one more thing—the love and acceptance of my mother. With courage, and some anxiety I must admit, I sat down with my mother in her bedroom and told her my story. Without hesitation, my mother walked over to me and said through teary eyes “No matter what, I will always love you.” We cried in each others arms. I have felt empowered ever since that day.
We are all individuals, but we can not recognize that fact until we acknowledge our own individuality. Upon accepting myself and opening up the world, I became an accepting person, and acceptance is powerful. No human is perfect and no one is an exception to that rule no matter how hard they try. Big, tall, small, black, white, male, female, gay, straight, Christian, atheist, anything at all, I accept you, I love you.
By accepting ourselves, and everyone else as individual, we connect with one another and over time those connections influence us more than we could ever imagine. Since I came out, I have forged the strongest relationships with people that I have ever had. My coming out has taught others that it is okay to be different and open about embracing those differences. Many tell me that I am the first homosexual person that they have come to truly know and that our relationship has made them challenge their beliefs, rethink their philosophies, and develop new ideas of their own. These changes will be remembered and they will pass them on to many others throughout their lives, all because they accepted my individuality and came to understand their own.
Unfortunately, our world is full of hatred, most of which is based on difference. Hatred fuels crime, violence, and war. Religious terrorism, the genocide in Darfur, and the discrimination against homosexuals in our own nation just to name a few, are all stimulated by our inability to accept individuals and their beliefs. If we accept individuality, we accept each other. This acceptance will lead to peace, understanding, and love just as I have developed with my mother. Who am I? I am me. Who are you? You. Acceptance is the key. This I believe.
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