Enjoy. And remember that YOU, whoever you are and whatever you are living, ARE Somebody Worth Accepting Now.
"Do you know the Ugly Duckling story? Here it is in a paragraph: A mama duck was sitting on her eggs, impatiently waiting for the last, and biggest, one to hatch. All the rest of the ducklings had come out of their shells already, and they were all normal, healthy, cute babies. After what seemed a particularly long wait, the last egg finally cracked open and out came the ugliest duckling that any of the farmyard animals had ever seen! Well, he survived in that farmyard for a while, always on the outside of things – always being pecked at and beat up by the other ducks, always wishing that someone – anyone – could find a way to like and accept him. Finally one day he couldn’t take it anymore and he left the farmyard. He wandered and wandered, depressed and lonely, hoping he could find a way to get someone to love him – hoping he could find a way to fit in somewhere. He tried to fit in with various other animals; geese, chickens, a cat…always with the same results – he continued to be picked on and to feel ugly and unworthy of happiness. Then one day he saw a group of beautiful, graceful birds from a distance. He wondered what kind of birds they were – he felt a strong attraction to them, they were so beautiful! But he just knew he would never be accepted by them – why would those gorgeous birds want an ugly thing like him around? So he turned around and went the other way, to live a sad and lonely life on his own. Winter came, and to the ugly duckling’s surprise (and disappointment), he survived it. He was still wandering, alone and miserable, wondering why he had ever been given this life at all if he had to spend it like this. Spring came, and in his wanderings, he found another group of those beautiful, graceful birds swimming in a pond. He made a decision in that moment to go to them and ask them if they could accept him into their group, even though he was so ugly. He told himself, “I am what I am, and I want to be myself.” He decided he wanted to be accepted for what he was – he didn’t want to have to pretend to be something else in order to fit in. So he gathered up his courage, and he moved toward the group of birds floating on the pond. As he came into view and they saw him, imagine his surprise and amazement to find that they were happy to see him! They rushed to him and welcomed him as one of them even before he opened his mouth to say anything! He didn’t understand; he thought maybe they were playing some sort of cruel game with him. He lowered his head, wondering what he should do, not trusting the situation. He didn’t get it until, as he lowered his head, he saw his own reflection in the water. And what did he see? He saw that he was every bit as beautiful and graceful as those wonderful birds who were welcoming him into their group! He had finally found a place where he fit in, and he said, “I never dreamed of such happiness as this, while I was an ugly duckling!”
There are two very important points that I want to make here. Number one is with regard to the last sentence in that story, “I never dreamed of such happiness as this, while I was an ugly duckling!” The Truth is that he was never an ugly duckling! He was never a duck at all! He only thought he was a duck because his circumstances had told him he was a duck. The truth – that he was really a swan – was there all along, he just needed to find it for himself.
And the second point I’d like to make is this: He never would have been accepted into that group of swans if he hadn’t first accepted himself for what he was. He had to do that before he could even begin to take the steps needed to get himself moving in their direction. And if he hadn’t been able to accept himself for what he was in the first place, he would have continued to believe what the circumstances of his life had always told him, and he would have turned around and walked the other way, never knowing the truth – always living his life as less than he really was.
So what’s our Truth here? The Truth is that it’s never too late for us to accept ourselves for who we really are. It’s never too late for us to stop pretending to be something we’re not, just so we can fit in somewhere or get someone to love us. The Truth is that we are all SWANs and we all deserve to live lives of beauty and happiness! That is the Truth – I know it for my Self and I now live my life from that place of Knowing.
The biggest and most profound decision I have ever made was on the Greyhound bus on the way to Arizona. That decision was: “I want to be who I really am, not what everyone else says I am or thinks I should be. I now accept myself as myself and for myself, and I know that it’s okay for me to live my life the way I want to live it. It’s okay for me to be happy!”
That decision opened up a whole new way of living for me. And now when I look at myself in the mirror, I don’t see ugliness, or a duck, any more. The Truth is that I was never a duck. I have always been a swan, I just needed to figure that out for myself. And as soon as I did that, my whole life changed.
I am – and you are, too – Somebody Worth Accepting Now!"