The need for approval is tiring isn’t it? I think approval goes hand in hand with being a fixer. I can actually get physically ill at the thought that someone may not like me or finds me displeasing in some way. Even with this blog I struggle with approval. It makes me sad when people don’t come and read. I often have to remind myself that I do this for me. As an example, posting my art on here was a BIG deal. I was so worried people wouldn’t like it. I was actually kind of shocked that it was liked. At 39 years old I still worry what others will think. That’s pathetic. It’s pathetic because I REALLY LOVE my art!
I have never been the kind of person with a million friends. Never been the life of the party. Honestly I was rarely even asked to the party! I guess you would have to call that unpopular. I was virtually invisible walking the halls of my high school and things didn’t change much throughout my young adult life. I think it is a reflection of how I felt in my own home. It’s not like I was ignored or anything but the concept of there being a REAL me in there somewhere was defiantly stifled. I had never explored my natural talents or my creativity as an individual until later in life. I guess I thought I simply didn’t have anything to offer. That or I couldn’t risk rejection.
Back in high school I remember making this ceramic mask for art class. The teacher loved it so much that she put it in the display case in the front of the school. I remember being sort of shocked that she liked it. Looking back it amazes me so much that two things NEVER crossed my mind: 1. It actually WAS good because I had talent. 2. I would be totally brilliant at making MASKS.
I worry about my kids being successful socially, being liked, having friends. It sounds shallow to say I want them to be popular but in essence I really do. I’m not talking about the cool clothes, head cheerleader, quarterback kind of popular. I am talking about wanting them to be good at making friends, at establishing solid bonds with people who truly love them AS THEY ARE.
I want them to have no fear of showing the world their natural talents. I want them to be so comfortable in their own skin that they can face rejection head on and walk away unafraid to continue being who they are. To know that not everybody will like them but plenty of people will……and that’s OK.
I want them to know that when someone treats them poorly they don’t have to allow it. I don’t want them so dependant on being liked that they let themselves be hurt rather than risk rejection.
I want them to know that to do what they love and love what they do will bring them unlimited success in life.
Now, here’s the problem. I have super smart kids. Wanting to be a supportive parent I asked my kids what they wanted to be when they grow up. They KNOW how I am. They KNOW I will encourage them and take full advantage of me.
I asked my 7 year old:
“H, what do you want to be when you grow up?”
“I want to be one of those people that works in a really tall building ummmm you know….”
“YEA!” “…. and I wanna’ work at a desk with all those really tall walls all the way around me”
Not that there is ANYTHING wrong with working in a cubicle but we’re talking about goals here.
“You know what H, you could OWN the building with the cubicles and sit in one any time you wanted to!”
“Nah, I just want the desk and the walls”
Turning to my 14 year old son.
“How about you?”
“I’ve thought a lot about it and I really DO want to be a professional mime.”
“You want to be a street performer?”
“Ummm….OK.” Sigh. “Just be the best darn mime you can be!”
Hey, cut me some slack I was under pressure. It was the best I could come up with.
At this point I am thinking to myself thank GOD my daughter S isn’t here for this conversation. What should I expect from her?
“I want to be a dancer. The kind that twirls and twirls……….you know, around a pole?”
Not that there’s anything wrong with being a pole dancer.
My kids wait until the totally troubled look spreads completely across my face before they bust out laughing.
Kids 1 Mom zippo but I am learning their ways! I’m learning mine too.