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.
• Do I want something? Approval. Connection just is. It’s there all along. I just need to recognize it. I can’t get it from them.
• Who’s in charge? If I’m trying to gain their acceptance, then I have nothing to say about it. Powerless. All I can do is to guess how to get it. Connection puts me in charge of my own experience. If I’m not feeling connected, it’s my job to find out what’s in the way. Powerful.
• Whose business am I in? Wanting their approval, I’m in their business, reading what they think of me. Not possible to know. Again, my business to connect with myself.
• What’s my motive? If I’m imagining myself from their eyes, getting their admiration, I’m going for acceptance. If I’m just in the moment, I’m seeing the world through my eyes. Transparent. Authentic. Open to my experience. Joy in what just is.
I’d love for you to share your experience. Let me know what I’m missing and tell me what breaks you through to your own authentic self. A sharing of our common experience brings us all closer to our own freedom.