I don’t do a lot of reflecting on my childhood. I’m not saying that is a positive or negative, I just don’t. If I press myself I can remember things but as a general rule I don’t experience waves of nostalgia. Side note – a can of Sunkist gets me every time. I can almost smell my dad’s car. (which one for the Hardings?)
Interestingly enough, I do remember being on stage a few times. Awards. Recognitions. Sure, those are memorable things for probably everyone, but I only remember a certain few and today, given other circumstances, it has caused some introspection.
I like approval. I like being needed and wanted. My terms of course, but I would imagine that this applies to all of us. Certainly, at different periods of our lives we experience this differently, but it would apply to most whom I’ve met. Even those who claim they don’t want approval are usually still seeking approval although it may be outside of the conventional understanding of our culture and timeframe.
We can probably all look back and recognize when a desire for acceptance and approval drove our behavior. If we are transparent, we might even recognize when it led to behavior that was detrimental to others. As an aside, if we are adults we probably don’t have to go all the way back to our childhood to remember such instances, we probably have acted this way as adults.
So here’s a few things that at times I’ve noted about myself when it comes to seeking approval. Recognizing these behaviors can help me keep a better perspective of myself and leads to less demands for recognition.
When I can’t concede any points to those who would disagree with me on a topic. The Deceiver would be pleased to keep us focused on the inconsistencies and faults of others, which will continuously boost our desire for recognition and validation. Thus Adam pointed to Eve, and Eve pointed to the Serpent.
An unfriendly person pursues selfish ends
and against all sound judgment starts quarrels.
Fools find no pleasure in understanding
but delight in airing their own opinions.
When I can’t make simple, complete, self-evaluating statements. It might just be me, but the more I refuse to acknowledge the choices that I have made the more I begin to seek approval. When I refuse to acknowledge my choices to those closest to me I become a danger to myself as I seek approval outside of those who know and care for me. Here are some phrases I’ve had to learn – and practice. Acknowledging my choices means accepting blame for my actions.
I was wrong.
You are right.
I am sorry.
I know you may not have meant , but I felt, , and I responded badly. It’s my fault.
I don’t fully understand.
Pride goes before destruction,
a haughty spirit before a fall.
Better to be lowly in spirit along with the oppressed
than to share plunder with the proud.
A Little More
Henry Cloud and John Townsend have written several books centered around the theme, Boundaries. They are well worth your time and money.