ADDICTED TO APPROVAL


The necessary growth in human consciousness happening all over the world today is something most of us can feel, like a continual, small, relentless pressure somewhere deep inside our psyche. Whatever our level of wakefulness, something somewhere is pushing us forward urgently. We surf the internet, wander the library and bookstore, talk with friends, endlessly, like old-time prospectors gold-panning a river, looking for the occasional nugget.

One daily activity I have been feeling frustrated in is my blog. Even when I had my cold and wasn’t posting for a few days, I came in to look hopefully for comments from viewers. Even without posts, people still drop in to read the odd thing. But for some reason, even on maximum viewing days, there have only been a tiny handful of comments, all appearing just after I started the blog.

I’d really appreciate your insights and comments…even if you think, wow, this woman is so full of self-pity…or, goodness, at least she’s a good sport (as someone once commented after watching me at a country & western dance), or you might think of a seminar or website that would give me some helpful growth potential in some area you can see I am lacking in. Let me hear your thoughts. Since putting the blog up in late August, there have been almost 500 views, but only…what?…six maybe? comments.

There is a direct link between learning and teaching. When we share our experiences, we are teaching, and when we get feedback, we are learning. Then we expand. That’s what counts.

Recently I was in the local library, tired of mysteries and humour chic lit, (and I love both) and noticed a book by Barbara de Angelis. I’d seen articles about her but never read her books yet, and so took it off the shelf, lay it down and let it fall open somewhere. My hands were full of four heavy books, (spy stories, I admit it). So I couldn’t hold it and open it at will. Wow. God is in the details!

It fell open at the title to a chapter: Addicted to Approval.

I thought, HUH??? Can you be addicted to other people’s approval? Then I realized in a flash of astounding insight that the distress I’d been going through lately was all about wanting a certain sibling‘s approval.

It seems I can never get this brother’s approval nowhow. We are probably on different levels of consciousness, but I don’t even know that for sure, since we never have a meaningful conversation, something he and his wife avoid assiduously. They could be way ahead of me for all I know.

For some reason, this brother likes to punish with complete and total withdrawal of approval in the most obvious and painful ways if I say the slightest thing that happens to offend whatever it is he thinks about life in any area. Of course, what he thinks is a mystery to me, since we talk exclusively about surface, non-important matters only. So it’s easy to put my foot in my mouth when we talk or email. And does he make me pay for any mistakes!! For years I have been in so much pain wishing I could make him think well of me, which, trust me, will never happen….for some reason.

I stood there in the library staring down at that page. Addicted to Approval. In one blinding moment, I saw that this described my predicament. And as I realized I didn’t need his approval, or his wife’s approval, it was as though a wheelbarrow-load of bricks fell off my shoulders.

AHA!! SO!! I DON’T NEED YOUR APPROVAL, SUNSHINE! So go wear that one, you miserable bully…what made me think I had to have your dumb approval anyway??? Who made you God??

In that moment, I was free. By the time I put my key in my front door and hugged my dog, I knew my brother had no more power over me. Hallelujah!! Thank you, Barbara de Angelis.

When I opened my email that evening, it was without fear and anxiety, knowing whatever punishing comment he might have there for me, or even, worst of all…no response at all…it didn’t matter.

And would never, ever matter again. What a gift.

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About gentlenurse

Blogging is not only a pleasure, it is a basic necessity...I don't know how I have lived so much of my life without a blog. It gives me a place to write, a motivation to write, lots of reasons for reading lots of mind-expanding and challenging books, plenty to think about and be happy about. It has become a centerpiece of my retirement life along with my friends and pets, my faith and my afterlife journeys.
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