16 December 2009

Acceptance

Confession time... I have two very annoying habits: 1) I'm Little Miss Fix-It. I want to fix everything because, from where I'm sitting, content people are less likely to lash out and therefore I am far less likely to be in the firing line; and 2) I want...well, maybe it's more of a need...to be liked, to be...wanted. I crave a purpose, because with a purpose I am necessary. It's like, I have a place as long as I please others, so I do and I fix. I try to be necessary. And yes, that can be incredibly annoying for friends who can't work out why I am trying to 'fix' and 'assist' and...'be of use'.

I'm also constantly seeking approval - I need...validation. And if others approve, then I believe, somewhere, that I am less likely to be pushed away. I'm always anxious - am I getting whatever I am doing/saying wrong? So, I need boundaries/exact parameters for everything...because then I know where the line is (so that I don't step beyond it). I need to be accepted and will compromise in order to receive it rather than trusting that people will accept me for who I am. Because who I am is never enough. I know, it all sounds screwed, but from where I sit it is my reality.

All of this came up in a discussion with the unnamed expert earlier this month as I realized (which I suppose in itself is a positive) that I'm constantly seeking approval/positive reinforcement. It's my coping mechanism. When we're young, we don't know who we are, so we begin to form a sense of self by how others see us - this is known as mirroring. If the mirroring isn't positive...or accurate...then our sense of self is distorted. Thus, the need for validation.

So, where now? It's a case of building my sense of self so that instead of seeking external validation I learn to trust myself and look internally. *puts on hiking boots* This is going to be a long climb...

11 comments:

  1. I think what you just admitted is very brave and insightful of your own self. The fact that you recognize the perhaps unnecessary need for validation means you'll get to where you want to be and will eventually stop questioning your choices. My little sister used to be like that, always needing people to like her but once she realized it was impossible, her whole outlook changed. The world didn't crumble around her and the people who are truly her friends are still her friends. She's just stopped trying to please everyone :) I love how honest you are on your blog!! Good luck with your 'climb' ;)

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  2. I think we all want a little validation. I am like that. I used to drive myself crazy wondering if someone had issues with me, liked me, etc...

    Good luck on your hike. Stop and breath in the crisp clean "I'm special and I know it" air.

    :D

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  3. Thank you Katie! Hopefully this post lived up to the spirit with which I started this blog :) And thank you for your insight - I'm glad to hear that your sister found her way past it - I hope I will too. This need for validation - it's unconscious...although I guess recognizing it is the first step :)

    I used to drive myself crazy wondering if someone had issues with me, liked me, etc...

    KB - thank you! That's it in a nutshell! The time I spend worrying...or apologizing...scary! I'll be sure to try and remember to stop and just breathe...and take in the view :)

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  4. I agree with KB--I think everyone wants acceptance and validation. I know I do. I used to drive myself crazy wondering if people liked me or not. I do still want people to like me, of course, but I'm not going to change my personality or be completely hurt if they don't (or that's what I tell myself anyway :P).

    Good luck with your climb! Although it could be that you're perfect just as you are. :)

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  5. Thank you heidenkind. And I agree with both you and KB, everyone does want acceptance and validation to a certain degree...it's just that I've come to realize that my need for both is...constant...and..at times, overwhelming. And I often compromise (not on behalf of others - I can be staunch in their defense - but for myself) in order to ensure that acceptance remains.

    I guess, like anything, it's about learning to find the balance between external validation and that which is reaffirmed internally, although I think I need to build my internal model first. If that makes sense :) So, I guess I should have used the building analogy rather than the climbing one *grin*

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  6. Oh, and apologies if this all seems rather rambling. Me and feelings = oil & water. They don't mix, so I'm kind of trying to explain things I don't really understand...like grasping for straws.

    ...and I think I just proved my point to myself by apologising for not explaining myself at all well.. *head desk*

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  7. (((orannia))) I wish you well and much love on your journey.

    Personally speaking, I might give it some thought if someone has a problem with me, but not too long. I've always been pretty self- contained and not given to too much thought about what others think of me. Every once in a while someone will say something that will get me thinking, but for the most part I don't really care. I know that I always try my best, have good intentions and don't wish (almost) anyone any harm. If that's recognized, how nice; if not, it won't change my behavior. I can only control myself and my actions; how others perceive it will be filtered by their experiences.

    I do have some idea of where you're coming from, but mostly through my daughter. She very much needs constant affirmation/validation. It's difficult for me, since I'm not like that. I love her more than life, and I struggle to understand why she is this way. I always expected that my daughter would be tougher emotionally; aloof. I don't get it; her need for this validation. We've been in counseling and I try to put her in activities that will boost her self-confidence and esteem. She's so highly emotional now (pre teen) that I find myself frustrated more often than not. I'm hoping this is all tied into the puberty thing... we'll see...

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  8. Thank you Mariana for your thoughts and insight! And all your best with your daughter. I think it's fantastic that you've recognized the issue now and are taking steps to address it :)

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  9. Orannia, may this first step take you on a wonderful journey of self-discovery and provide what you need. (((Hugs)))

    My experieces mirror Mariana's. I've always been the type not to care what others think of me. Although the "take me as I am, or don't take me at all" attitude can also be a problem and something I had to work on myself. The opposite, I'm afraid.

    But, my daughter... well, like Mariana, I had to struggle to understand her because we are opposites, and I recognize her in your post. She had a need for validation that I never experienced. Through the years, we've worked together and I think we've helped each other. I'm not as cutting in my assessments (I take more time to self-analyze) and she's more confident in her own abilities and needs less & less validation from others. We've both learned some balance.

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  10. (((Hilcia))) Thank you! And I love that you and your daughter together each found balance!

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