When We Seek Approval We….

“Our imperfections do not make us inadequate; they are what connect us to each other and to our humanity.”   Brene Brown, Connections Curriculum

When I was growing up I found a quote by George Bernard Shaw, he said, “The more things a man is ashamed of, the more respectable he is.”

That quote certainly fit the times I found myself living in but it didn’t impress me enough to follow along or want to be with anyone who thought like that – though I had lots of choices in that category.

We are each wired – hard wired – for community, for love, leaving us open to the longing for approval. Approval = connection, approval is community, approval means we are worthy. We matter if someone cool thinks we are cool. We matter if we are not alone, part of a greater whole.

So how can we belong if we can’t be perfect? How can we speak our minds if we don’t fit in? How can we have boundaries if we long for approval? When every song, every article, every fashion asks us to fit its mold, where is our authenticity?

If I listen to my clients, it’s on the back burner. It’s what they call me for and what they struggle in and with, and on a lonely evening it goes to the back of the closet. Later, I’ll do that, be that, later. Right now I want a hot date, what’s wrong with that?

So the quote I started with, about our imperfections, gets misplaced. My imperfections are only OK if they fit into your imperfections or if you find mine acceptable – which you might for the first while, but if I get comfortable with them, well, you might get uncomfortable. I gets very complicated this authenticity thing. It might be why Facebook has that as a choice for describing relationship. It is complicated!

It is so hard to do what everyone knows – which is: our first, our only relationship is with ourself. Period. Bah Humbug. We cultivate that. Have our hot date with who we really are, get to know that person – warts and all as we sometimes say – then we can start to look beyond out into the broader world where we have been all along because, you know, we really are all alike in this. We are in this together.

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