Monthly Archives: April 2010

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.

Self-Understanding Quick Course

Yesterday I was a guest of Cath Duncan, as a part of her Bottom Line Book club. What fun! Cath is an astute and kind coach who is offering a wonderful service to folks who want to find a fast track to self understanding. She offers a “Cliff Notes” to self-help programs and interviews an expert every month. I was quite impressed by the program, and by the expert questions she asked this “not really an expert.”