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As I'm a man who is now 13 years out of the closet, the concept of acceptance did not immediately grab my attention. Admittedly, I am surrounded in a bubble of love and support and sometimes take for granted the general level of acceptance that I am awarded. But in the past year, while on a journey to find acceptance within myself as an HIV-positive man, the weight of self-acceptance has never felt heavier.
To me, acceptance is synonymous with forgiveness. Although it is not to say that I or anyone else has done something "wrong," the biggest impediment in achieving self-acceptance is learning how to forgive yourself for any mistake made in the past. Or maybe it's not something you need to forgive, but rather accept that you do not understand.
Either way, the path to self-acceptance is merely a path to finding love within you. No matter who you are, everyone has something that they struggle with. Learning to allow yourself to be human and love yourself regardless is true self-acceptance.
It is only through accepting yourself for all the things you are and anything you aren't that you can allow others to embrace you. The beauty of acceptance is that it creates the opportunity to meet others who may have been closed to you before. Flaws alone are just flaws. But when you weave your flaws with the flaws of others without judgment, you might just find something beautiful.
Quite simply, without acceptance you can never truly love. And the only kind of love worth having is that of the unconditional kind. But how do you remove the limitations of love set by the preconceived notions of judgment?
Simple ... Acceptance.
And let's face it, everyone wants to love and be loved. I know I do.
TYLER CURRY created the Needle Prick Project as an editorial and visual campaign to elicit a candid and open conversation on what it means to be HIV-positive today. To learn more about the Needle Prick Project, visit www.facebook.com/getpricked or follow Tyler Curry on Twitter at @iamtylercurry.
Share your holiday shopping photos using #AcceptanceMatters and you can win a $100 gift card. Find out how here.