“I am who I am. Your approval isn’t needed.”
True? Yes, true!
But kind of not true as well.
Your approval isn’t needed –
But it meant something to me.
The Rich and Beautiful
There’s a reason why we flick through all those glossy magazines and linger over photos, and read the interviews.
We want the scoop on famous people who’ve succeeded in some way. The film stars, politicians, great musicians, and so on.
It’s something to aspire to – and there’s nothing wrong with that.
Or, perhaps it simply highlights we’re instinctively intrigued by people who have made it, and are living out the dream.
But, of course, this also forces stark comparisons as well.
We’re not those kinds of people. They can make our life look bland.
This doesn’t really matter when we’re talking about ‘stars’. We aren’t in their league; we know we’ll never have their lives.
Bringing it Closer to Home
But when it comes to my small circle, then I want to feel I’m loved. I want to feel I matter, and that someone values me.
This is absolutely normal.
But why is that the case?
Why should I even care what other people think of me?
What the Research Shows
The research indicates it’s rooted in biology. To have a sense of self, and to believe we’re valuable, we need to have key people who communicate our worth.
It is something that is programmed – as the following quote reveals:
“Very early in life, parents’ responsiveness to their babies affects the development of self-confidence and self-esteem.
It takes little effort to summon a picture of a doting parent responding to a baby with loving noises, engaged chattering, focused attention, and cuddling.
Baby smiles, parent smiles back. As the infant matures, parents continue to respond and mirror what the baby is doing.
Parental mirroring through early childhood, adolescence, and young adulthood communicates acceptance, acknowledgement, and admiration.
This contributes significantly to the development of self-esteem and self-confidence.”
I would argue that this need continues throughout all of life. (Although it doesn’t matter quite as much in adult life.)
But, still, the way we notice people in those magazines might hint at a deep need that is a very human need.
The Impact of Rejection and Betrayal
These communicate a message, and a very painful one.
They say there’s something wrong with you – at least that’s how it feels.
They say that “I’ve lost interest”.
That “You’re not quite good enough.”
They say “I wanted something else, or something more than you.”
Why does this Matter?
Why? Our partner mattered to us. So, we wanted them to think that, somehow, we were special.
More than enough.
We wanted their approval.
And they gave it for a while.
But then they sent the message that
“You’re not quite good enough”.