I wanted to write an article on how much we crave other people’s approval. I wrote the first draft of a blog post that i was really proud of. I was honest, vulnerable, sharing just how much I need and crave other’s people acknowledgment and approval.
I sent it to Sam, to see what he thought.
His response was ‘meh’.
‘What do you mean - meh?’
‘It’s interesting but it doesn’t really resonate with me’.
(...the melodrama of rejection in my head ensues...)
So the article sat in my computer folder. Meanwhile I’m talking to myself about how wrong Sam was to say that, defending my brilliance and resisting his feedback.
“Of course it doesn’t resonate, he’s so shut down and unconscious and unaware he can’t even relate”
“He’s just so mad at me he just hates everything I write. After all, he’s my ex, of course he doesn’t approve of me.”
My article about search for approval didn’t get me the approval I was craving. Bam.
Searching for approval, acknowledgment, belonging, fitting in, trying to look good to others, is part of EVERYONE’s nature, It’s part of the design of being human.
I don’t know who this came from: “You are only free to the extent that you recognize your constraints”.
Let’s look for ourselves!
Here’s my typical day:
In the morning I go to a business networking meeting to promote my restaurant. It’s a referal group where everyone introduces themselves and their business for 60 seconds. Before my turn comes, I am somewhat anxious and my heart is beating fast in my throat. I’m trying to prepare what I’m going to say and get it right.
I want everyone to think that I have it all together. That I’m impressive and accomplished for my age (I’m 33), to look humble at the same time, and I don’t want to look nervous. I want the person across from me to think I’m attractive, and I want the person on my left to be intrigued around how well I’m handling my life - divorce, restaurant, coaching, and all. I’ll do what I can, mostly without being aware of it, to manipulate people there into thinking whatever I want them to think of me.
When I chat with you in person at the end of the meeting and you ask me how things are, the restaurant is ‘great’; it used to be challenging because I didn’t know what I was doing, but now that I have grown so much and do such a great job, it’s easy.
And my divorce from Sam is going great too!! - because I am so spiritually mature and have all the tools to handle a super amicable divorce. I want you to think I’m evolved, forgiving, loving, Sam and I get along great 99% of the time, because we are so much better than the rest of the world of exes that fight and hate each other.
I want you to not just approve of me, but think of me as an example of how people should live, and acknowledge me for it.
Then I’ll write a blog post or newsletter about something. Of course I want YOUR approval too. I want you to think I’m smart, insightful, and well spoken. And by the way, I’m doing just that right now.
Then I’ll text my other ex, Barry, some interesting piece about my life. I’m not so much interested in his world, I just want to look interesting.
I want people to think I’m fun, important, impressive, friendly, radiate massive amounts of positive anergy, accomplished, kind - and someone to not mess with at the same time, productive, smart, interesting, hot, beautiful, desired, caring, loving, young - and mature - at the same time.
Something might be getting sacrificed here.
People say they lost their life trying to win approval from their parents. How many people are truly present to just how much we want to win approval from EVERYONE?
What if I could truly, truly, truly be free of it. What if I was able to give up, even for a day, the concern for how I look or come across, and completely detach from how I want everyone to see me?
And is it even possible?
To be continued..