APPROVAL SEEKING

APPROVAL SEEKING

Being born to a highly critical mother left me spending much of my life seeking approval or at least acceptance.

I am long past blaming my mother. I knew my grandmother, and so I know from whence the judging consciousness came from. My mother spent her entire life seeking approval from a woman who was not capable of giving it. This continued long after my grandmother’s death. I lived and experienced this long enough to see that my mothers torment was of her own making.

I vowed that I would not make the same mistake.

While my pattern was particularly geared toward gaining the attention and affection of men the mother dynamic is to this day alive and active. The differential that keeps me from torment is that I know and can relate to the dynamic. As long as I can relate to it, it does not fully have me.

I know well the feeling that approval-seeking has in my body. I am well acquainted with the stories that spin in my head when I perceive that I am being somehow maligned. I know the compensating behaviors that I am tempted to employ. And I am intimate with the suffering that ensues when I fall into any of these traps.

There is a scrutinizing tyrant that has a seat in my consciousness. It is always ready to point out my mistakes, my imperfections, my faulty way of being. It is constantly scrutinizing and evaluating. It sees me as never enough. It usually will speak first and speak loudest.

What it cannot do is stop me from speaking back.

I erroneously thought that the healing of this “mom-torture” would be that it would go away. That I would be forever freed of it. That it would die and be replaced by a fount of all affirmative self-talk. That the mother approval I had always longed for would come gushing up from within and all around.

Wrong.

My latest report to self is that the voice is still speaking. The temptation to approval-seek is still active. The need to be accepted is at least to some degree ever-present.

Rather than being rid of these impulses there is simply more awareness around them. I am not free of, but I am free with. I have an experience of these dynamics; the dynamics do not have me.

As soon as I feel the effect of these voices in my body, I bring my attention to the energy and stay as present as I possibly can. I begin to relate to the energy and to the voices. I accept that they are there. I approve of the way I am staying awake and relating to.

Wait.

I accept the energy that is moving within me and I approve of the way I am relating to it.

Being born to a highly critical mother left me spending much of my life seeking approval or at least acceptance.

And now I have it.

Not hers. That ship has sailed.

I have my own acceptance and approval. And that is a gift no one can take away.