I like it when people like me.
I know that everyone likes it when people like them. We were built for community and relationships are really important for our overall health and well-being. But I have to tell you that I really like it when people like me.
It always sort of takes me by surprise. Like I am walking along in my everyday life and someone drops a million dollars in my purse. Surprise!
And I react (inside of course) like I just received a Golden Globe, or the crown at some beauty pageant. “Who, me?” (wave the tears away)
Why is this a big deal?
Because when someone disapproves of me, it throws me into a panic.
This is bad. Really bad.
I have spent most of my life feeling invisible. I can’t say why that is. Perhaps it’s the result of middle-child-syndrome… I am not sure it matters. Sometimes the root can help you deal with a problem, but sometimes it is just a distraction. In this case, I need to deal with this issue more than I need to explore where it came from.
Invisibility can be seductively comfortable. I know how to be invisible. I don’t know how to be seen. Whether in a good light or a negative light.
So praise is a really big deal.
And so is criticism.
It is personal criticism that really brings on the panic. I think it is because as comfortable as invisibility is, there is a part of me desperate to be seen.
To be seen is to be vulnerable, though.
And what I really want is not just to be seen, but to be accepted for who I am flaws and all. So what if someone sees me and loves me for my strengths, but turns when they see my weaknesses?
When I am approval-seeking, my tendency is to hide my imperfections so that people do not have a chance to reject me for my faults. The problem is that what I need is not approval, but acceptance.
Approval is so fickle, but acceptance is forever.
So, here I am World. I choose to throw back the cloak of invisibility and stand fully visible.
I bet you thought I was going to reveal something shocking. The truth is that my faults, like most of yours, are not exceptional. I get grumpy when I am tired. Sometimes I say things without thinking them through. I can get hyper-focused on a subject trying to figure it out, and drive people around me crazy with my incessant need to talk it through. I speed on the highway even when I am not in a hurry…
I am not perfect, and never will be this side of eternity. I am learning to be ok with that. I am also learning to let myself be seen for who I truly am. I believe it is more valuable to be accepted for my whole self than to receive approval for presenting an incomplete picture.
Plus, it gives people around me freedom to be their true selves as well.
Honest relationships, fully accepting (even when not fully approving). That is my goal.
That’s the refreshing life.