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.