Seeking approval

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I nervously checked my email. For the fifth time… that hour. I’d been a bit on edge since clicking ‘send.’

I felt good about what I had sent. I had worked hard. I had checked and double checked the requirements. I had read and re-read my words. I had revised and re-revised.

I liked what I had done. In a vacuum, I felt good about it.

And yet, I wanted that feeling to be affirmed. I wanted the confirmation. I wanted to see those words: good! on track! yes!

I wanted to see the exclamation points.

Wanted… no I needed those as an assurance that I had done well.

And this is me.

Recently, I’ve gotten better at this. I have some intuition now; I’ve earned it with age it seems. I have some way to gauge whether my work is good, appropriate, my best effort. I have some ability to assess that on my own, without needing the words of others. I know what I want and I know when what I’ve produced is just that and when it is something different.

But still, I seek approval.

She does it too. She looks at me after she draws a picture, makes a joke, dances a dance, sings a song. Big, dark brown eyes locked on me, waiting. Waiting for me to smile or laugh. I put my hand up for a high five and only then does her face relax into a proud smile.

I don’t want her to seek my approval. I don’t want her to seek anyone’s approval. I want her to be proud of her pictures, even if nobody else appreciates what she sees. I want her to laugh at her own jokes, dance as the music moves her and sing her heart out, all for her and only her.

I don’t want her to nervously check her email, waiting for someone to tell her what she already knows in her heart.

I want her to feel confidence.

I want to model this for her.

I wish it came naturally to me. To us both.

But there is something to this way of learning together. Something to this shared experience of taking on confidence together that makes me more understanding of her when she falters.

There is something about knowing that someday, I’ll be able to look back and marvel at how far we’ve both come.

little girl sitting at park

~~~~~

linking up with Shell to Pour My Heart Out.

16 Comments

  1. I really like this post! I totally relate.

    Thanks for sharing. Stopping by from SItS.

  2. I want the same thing for my son. I need to work on being a good role model for him.

  3. This is a lovely post. We all want that for our children, don’t we? We have to be so careful about how we speak to our kids. Saying, “You must be so proud of yourself” can mean a lot more than “I am so proud of you.”
    Thanks for stopping by on my SITS day. xx

    • Being careful about how we speak to them – so very very true. I try so hard to say “You must be so proud of yourself” instead of making it about me and I do think it makes a difference. Thanks for your comment!

  4. Love this post! I think we all seek some sort of approval. It might not necessarily be a bad thing. But learning together? What a wonderful adventure for the two of you!

    Visiting from SITS.

  5. I think it’s natural to still want that approval. I hope my boys don’t feel like they need it, but I think they’ll always still want it.

    • I think you’re right. The line between need and want is a tough one for me but I’m glad you brought up the difference between the two. Definitely important to consider for a balanced approach.

  6. Love this post. It is the strangest thing, how raising another little life makes us understand our own so clearly.

  7. I think this is why a lot of people blog, facebook, tweet, etc. It feels good to get approval. I think as a sahm these outlets allow me to feel good about my accomplishments. We totally need to hear we are doing a good job!

    • So true! I definitely post pictures on my Facebook, and even sometimes write here, for people to notice and say good things.

  8. I think we all want this on some level – especially from our parents. I work with so many kids who don’t get that “approval” from their parents and they never stop trying. You are doing a world of good giving her confidence, and someday she will only desire approval from the people who matter 🙂

  9. I think I have sought approval my whole life – from my parents, teachers, friends, spouse, children and God. I think I even seek out approval from myself, never thinking I am “good enough”. Is it a woman “thing” or just general insecurity? I don’t know, but I do know that I don’t want that behavior to transfer to my daughters. I don’t want them to look to all the outward influences for approval, but rely on their own personal perspective. Great post!

  10. beautifully written.

  11. I hear you. One of the hardest things for me to accept is, that I can’t expect children to do things that I won’t do for myself.

  12. So many things we want for our kids we need to be willing to accept for ourselves too, right? Great post. Thoughtful.

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