Posts Categorized: Approval

Getting Naked

One of my friends is leading a Teleclass called “Getting Naked.” When she told me about it, I decided right there that she’s one of the bravest people I’ve ever met. Once I let go of the images of stripping in front of a webcam for all the world to see (which, to be clear, was NOT a part of this class), I was flooded with snapshot images from my past: Read More>>

Happiness, The Blue Arrow, and This Body

I recently heard about signs scattered around New York. Big blue arrows, pointing to one word. Happiness.

Sound familiar? It does to me. Pretty much the way I’ve lived a whole lot of my life in this body. The loop goes something like this: If I get this (name the ailment or condition) taken care of, THEN I’ll have happiness in and with this body.

A whole avalanche of conditions could fill this page. You have your own, but here’s a sample from my mind:

Something is too big (Fat knees, big thighs/hips, belly. Depends on the day).

I’m too sore from exercising. I’m not sore enough.

I could injure myself.

My feet hurt.

My knees are creaky.

I have to pee. Now. Read More>>

The Hour I First Believed

My body for so long was my secret shame, the taboo subject. I remember lying on the couch, looking at my seven-year-old legs and declaring to myself that they were too fat.

I had become a believer. In that specific moment, all the judgments I’d absorbed from the world around me just popped into my head, a full-grown bundle of beliefs that I’ve carried most of my life.

My religion had simple rules: it was good to be thinner. Read More>>

Acceptance or Connection?

What’s the difference between a desire for approval (a strategy for gaining acceptance) and a desire for connection? I’ve been sitting with this question during the past week.
Here are some of the what I’ve noticed, in the form of “Questions to Self.”
Where’s my focus? A dead give away. If it’s on others, I’m usually thinking about what they expect of me. Is it on my own sense peace and well-being? It’s connection.

Personalities want something.

I’m reminded this morning of one of Byron Katie’s oft-repeated phrases:

“Personalities don’t love. They want something.”

I’ve been looking at my need for approval and appreciation this month, and this is the refrain that keeps showing up in my mind. When mind is quiet, I’m just simple and present. There’s a space for love to show up, and I love sharing that.
When my “personality” (my social self) runs the show, I do want something. I want others to do what I want them to do so that I can have what I want.

The “Look Good” Religion

I was raised in a traditional religion, but my family had another religion that was more powerful. I call it the Look Goods. As a principal’s daughter in the rural midwest, how I looked and whether I fit in seemed like the bottom line. I can imagine now the beliefs forming in my six-year old head. “Please approve of me,” which carried another assumption: if you did you wouldn’t leave me.”

I would belong. A powerful motivator for a first grader. What did I stand to lose if “they” didn’t approve? Everything. Security. Comfort. So what I did was become inauthentic to gain that approval. I began to do, to dress, to say what I thought would win them over. I became a false version of me.

“Personalities don’t love…they want something” Byron Katie

This week I’ve been noticing when I use my well-honed charm and persuasive personality to get something from other people. Something like approval. Appreciation. Respect. Income.

Something like love. But, I notice, it’s not love. It’s about me. When I put on my “look goods,” I’ve found, I can get the approval I think I crave. But there’s always something missing. I tend to believe, deep down inside, that they’re buying my act. And then I need to keep acting or manipulating to get more of it.

It’s an expensive addiction.

The Cost of Dodging Disapproval

I’m noticing another aspect of my approval-seeking habits. My inner Disapproval Dodger may even be more powerful than my Approval Junkie. Hard to admit.
I got started people pleasing early in life. About the same time I decided I needed their approval, I also figured out I REALLY wanted to avoid their disapproval. (What kid doesn’t?)