Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Secrets Week: I Constantly Seek Approval

Disclaimer from Ashley's Blog: My blog has never been geared towards throwing people under the bus or talking about those who cannot speak for themselves here. However, in order to share the events of my life and how they have shaped me, I feel that some details are necessary for background story purposes. Along with that, this week is meant for myself (and those participating) to share their stories without judgement. I would greatly appreciate no negative comments directed at me, my readers, or those participating as it’s supposed to be a positive, freeing experience for everyone involved. I understand that these touchy issues are not something everyone agrees with, but these moments in life are hard enough for us to share as is. I appreciate everyone’s cooperation and support!
~Ashley
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I would first off like to thank Ashley, for such a freeing and frightening opportunity to open up and share something with all of you wonderful people.

I know that I appear to be an independent and self-assured young woman, and for the most part I am. However, for as long as I can remember I have had a nagging feeling that tells me I have to ask someone if what I am doing is ok, looks good, or is right. I need someone to say "great work!" and assure me that I have made the right decision. 

I'm not sure exactly how this came to be. I am a bit of a people pleaser, and I suppose between seeking the approval of my parents, other authority figures and of course school friends I began at some point to always hope, if not ask for, that positive reinforcement.

This trait was the worst in the higher levels of elementary school (grades 7&8). I wanted so badly to be accepted by our constantly growing group of friends, that I never said no. I remember basically being bullied (by a 'friend') to give up most of my lunch because she didn't have one, and I always had an ample food supply (thanks dad). Of course I was willing to share my lunch with a friend, but for some reason this request just didn't feel right. I gave in and said yes, because I didn't want her to be mad at me. And then I made sure to tell some other friends in hopes they would tell me that was a nice thing to do. I ended up giving a lot of food away over the next little while, because I suppose the vultures learned that I was easy to take advantage of. Eventually my group of 'friends' decided that I wasn't allowed in the group anymore. I had to spend my recesses and lunch hours alone in the school yard or trying to keep up with the boys on the football field. A lot of good that bout of approval seeking did me, kids are terrible.
I started to realize then that seeking approval isn't all is cracked up to be, and began to do things I liked to do, with no goal of being accepted or commended. Now, I'm not saying I overcame this little trait, in fact I have seen rear it's ugly little head many a time since I was in elementary school. But I am constantly working  towards decisions and opinions that are uniquely mine and do not require the approval of anyone else. 

I understand that approval is sometimes required, in order for us to know that we are on the right track. But I am aiming to stay away from approval that is solely to make other people happy or feel good. From now on, I am aiming to receive positive reinforcement only from myself; if I receive it from others I will welcome the positivity, but I will do my best not to seek it out.

I hope you're having a wonderful afternoon, and doing things because you want to and think it is the right thing to do!

xox
 

2 comments:

  1. I used to be exactly like this. I needed approval to feel worth anyone's time. And it was so hard on me.

    I'm SO happy that you've grown from this and see that you deserve to be happy, too. Not by making others miserable, but by choosing to do what's best for you. You're one of the most wonderful people I know and it makes me so happy that you're seeking positivity from within yourself instead of others. :)

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  2. I'm just writing to let you know that you are not alone in this! :) you're doing great job. take care!

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