Overcoming the Need for Approval.

by Frannie Banannie 25 Replies latest jw friends

  • Markfromcali

    The two suggestions mentioned seem to only kind of 'tone down the volume' in a way, (not important enough to be concerned, people aren't thinking about you) which does not address the root of the issue of being attached or kind of enmeshed, be it your parents or whoever.

    Lets just put it in plain language: you want to be liked, and you are afraid of not being liked. None of that actually deals with who you are, which at some point may become a conflict with the conditions of being liked 'set' by others, whether consciously or unconsciously. Ideally, of course, at some point you know yourself pretty well, and as far as what other people think or feel about you, you are also at peace with that - but you do not try to pretend to be someone you're not for the sake of being liked by others.

    There is being free from something and being free to something. When you have a (seemingly) big hangup like wanting to be liked by people, maybe certain specific people, then the concern naturally revolves around being free from that. In general this is where people start focusing on, and the way to do that is to simply question it - is it true? (if you program yourself with affirmations to the opposite effect, it would be more of a competing thought) More importantly, it helps to make a distinction between that tendancy to wanting others to like you and YOU, who you are, and when you recognize it's just a tendancy maybe extending from childhood or whatever, (which doesn't have to be a big psychological drama, after all it's quite natural and prevalent) then it doesn't seem like such a powerful thing - you have become conscious of that behavior.

    But here I want to emphasize the very subtle behavior of turning that recognition into a concept and not going deeply into it all the way. You can say "oh yes, I see how my relationship with my parents contributed to this" or whatever, but having that thought in the head isn't in itself going to free the whole mind. In other words, there's no substitute for a complete realization of how your consciousness is as a whole, and seeing past that framework. We may have a thought like that after we've actually gotten some perspective and see ourselves and where we're at, but that thought is actually an after effect. It may start with a specific inquiry, but for this to happen thoroughly it has to open up to include your whole mind, which is a kind of relaxing, taking in the big picture you might say. To put it another way, to shift your consciousness you don't work at it in a piecemeal manner, but you see the whole and the whole thing shifts.

  • Frannie Banannie
    Frannie Banannie

    Sooooooo.......what's yer point, Mark?

  • Markfromcali

    What, message is too long?

    Well if all else fails the last point is a good bet, conclusion and whatnot. Look, wanting to overcome this need for approval has to do with YOU, your life, right? It's not like do I feel like having Chinese or Italian food for takeout tonight. If you really want to be free from that, you just have to take on the whole thing. Having some nice ideas, including the ones I mentioned isn't going to do it, but that is why I try to write the messages in a way that kind of 'describes the view', pointing the reader in the direction of looking at him or herself. Insights and epiphanies happen, but it doesn't happen by looking without - kind of like how approval from others is not ultimately satisfying.

  • Frannie Banannie
    Frannie Banannie

    So, Mark......doin' what pleases ME most of all, even if it hair-lips everyone in China, is overcoming the need for approval? Just wondering if I'm understanding you right, not seeking approval.

  • heathen

    In the world we live in it seems so important what others think of you or have to say about you . In the work environment you are always being evaluated and with corporate downsizing today it doesn't take much before they show you the door . They exspect loyalty without offering security . I have never been a suckup to anybody at work therefore can testify to the fact that only suckups get ahead . I am finding it harder and harder to just be who I want to without somebody exspecting their perception of the ideal person for the job . I also find that talking politics and religion is always a bad idea in the work place . As far as the health issue of type A people it sounds more like a dietary or excercise problem than somebody so stressed out they have heart attacks .

  • gumby
    Many parents made the mistake of giving love and approval to their children only when their children did something that they wanted them to do.

    An EASY bad trait to have. Of these 60% who fail in this area, I'll bet 90% of them have no idea of the consequences it causes. Humanity isn't schooled enough in social skills and if they were, the world would be a different place.

    Even if they dislike you entirely, it has nothing to do with your own personal worth and value as a person.

    If only everyone could convince themselves of this. Tha't the hard part....convincing yourself.


  • Markfromcali
    doin' what pleases ME most of all, even if it hair-lips everyone in China, is overcoming the need for approval?

    Nooo.... Where did you get that? My whole point is about understanding yourself as a whole, not about pleasing anybody. Although things tend to move in that direction where the individual develops autonomy with all that that implies, it's certainly not about just pleasing yourself and screw the world or something like that.

    For example, mature adults negotiate and come to agreements, you go to work for so many hours and you get paid so much money - but that doesn't mean you gotta be a slave whenever other people has extra work that needs to be done and always accept it. You might try to work with that, being a part of the team, but you got your own life outside of work. So work in this case can be any endeavor where we need to interact with others. But of course by negotiation I don't mean to imply it is always a business transaction of sorts, when people are really supportive of each other in a group that is experientially different than when everybody wants to just please themselves, even if say the number of work hours ends up being the same.

  • Frannie Banannie
    Frannie Banannie

    LOL, Mark....I was just yankin' yer chain, cher...

    But I usually am dealing with an agency I work thru where the owner expects us to kowtow IMMENSELY to every decree from her or we WILL be punished....I can only achieve autonomy (within reason) when I work independently....and, of course, this involves a certain amount of give and take....compromise, if you will.

  • Markfromcali

    I imagine that's not too uncommon. So there would be a person who has gone in the opposite direction of being all self centered atleast in so far as her work demands, I would hesitate to say she's pleasing herself though because with that attitude I don't know how pleasing her interaction with people are, certainly can't be all people indefinitely.

    See to me it's not even a compromise, because it would only be a matter of compromising myself. I consider it a very straight forward thing, I can do this for you, this is who I am, take it or leave it. I don't care about how much money I can make kissing ass, or some watered down version of that. (wouldn't that be like diarrhea?) But as far as I'm concerned that's professional, it has nothing to do with my personality and how much brown nosing I do. If people in some messed up codependent corporate household wants someone to play in that dynamic, then I just wouldn't be interested. If I wanted that, I can watch soap operas or something.

  • Cicatrix

    Very interesting topic, and timely for me, Frannie. Thanks for the info.

    I just realized that I'm having difficulty with this when I found myself trying to get approval from a person by basically throwing out my ideology on her behalf, just to try and gain her approval. Then it occurred to me that this is the same relationship I've had with my parents.

    My mother just wrote me the other day, and somehow, instead of feeling better and more connected after reading her letter, I felt guilty, as if I haven't done my duty as a daughter. I've been expected by my mother to help financially support her and one of my sisters for years. And for years, I have, thinking that this is what families do for one another. Then I realized that because I was always loaning them money and giving them money, my own children have had to do without things like dental care. And I also realized that no matter how much money I hand over, there really is never any approval forthcoming, or rarely even so much as a thank you.

    I also realized that my mother, who is only seventeen years older than me, has come up with more excuses than Carter's got liver pills so that she doesn't have to work.She refuses to get a job, even though she has graduated from college with a bachelor's degree.She claims that she can't work because she has (the disease of the week), or her car has too many miles on it, or that it is also her duty to babysit for free for my sister who lives and hour away from her one way, and who also has a degree and is working. I find it kind of odd that she feels well enough to babysit, and has no problem with the idea of driving two hours per day to babysit, but won't rack up miles on her car to get a job!Instead, she expects me to send her money, even though I'm caring for four children, and trying to scrape together money not only for my college tuition, but my children's, also.

    Last year,I helped said sister out when she couldn't buy her kids school clothes. I bought her son some clothes and shoes, and do to so, I had to reduce the amount of clothing I bought for my own children, rendering them short on some stuff for that year. Her response-"I don't like shoes from KMart-I wish you would've bought him shoes from XXXX store." The store sold only designer shoes-the type of shoes I had never bought for myself or my own kids!

    I'm tempted to write my mother a nice pointed letter back, mentioning that I'm surprised that she is so worried about racking up the miles on her car to go to work, when she does so nearly every day to babysit for free, and to tell her that if she just broke down and got a job like the rest of us, whatever job she can find, she would be able to afford a phone and all those other niceties that her "unloving" children are making her do without!

    Don't get me wrong, if she was eighty, or younger and suffering from an ACTUAL illness, I would help her in a second. But I guess I'm just getting tired of the manipulation, and I've just realized that the ideology I was taught as a JW (you know, be in agreement, honor your parents, and all that) has kept me jumping to people's tunes like I have a case of St Vitus' dance or something, even when there is no valid reason for me to do so.

    I am aware this manipulation is happening now, but I still just automatically react. I guess it's gonna take lots of little baby steps to stop reacting.

    But I just took a couple of babysteps, anyway. I bought my children's school pictures for the first time in years, and I bought my son his first pair of non-discount store shoes (but not the expensive ones, lol).

    Whew, that felt good to get that out, heehee. Guess I can get off my soap box now.

    Thanks again Frannie, it's nice to know that others are struggling with this.

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