Remember when we were kids and we brought home that goofy-looking clay sculpture of a house and when you gave it Mom or Dad, they lit up with delight and said, “Oh! What a lovely DOG!” They would go on to say that that is the best thing they’ve ever seen and that they would treasure it forever. As kids, that made us feel amazing. Eventually, we reached a point in our childhood (most likely our teens) when our parents said things to us for encouragement and our response was, “Oh…well, they HAVE to say that, because they’re Mom/Dad.”
In the meantime, much of the negative things said to us were believed without much conviction. Why is that?
We do this as adults all the time. Somewhere along the line, we stopped believing what our parents told us when we gave them that clay sculpture and started believing nearly everything bad said to us…and just like our teens, we feel that whenever something nice or encouraging is said to us, many of us think that those people “have” to say it out of some form of obligation…mostly family and close friends. As for the bad things, those who are not our friends mainly said these things. Yes, there could be family and friends who say this stuff as well, but most of the time, it’s those who don’t really care of us. Again, we need no help in believing those things. Just like we believe that some have an obligation to be nice and encouraging to us, I strongly believe some people have an obligation to be assholes. So to me, it could go both ways.
As the title suggests, there is absolutely nothing wrong with seeking approval from others. I don’t buy when people say “I don’t need approval from anybody!” Pipe down. #1, Yes you do, whether you believe it or not and #2, It is okay and perfectly normal. There’s nothing shameful in wanting approval from others. The problem is when we work so hard and are utterly desperate for approval from those who will never give it to us.
I believe the reason for this is because of the “Mom-Dad” complex. Society as a whole is generally pretty negative about almost everything, it seems. Just hop on Facebook and go to any random news page. Find a negative story (shouldn’t be difficult) and look at how many comments are there. I’m guessing several hundred and many in a matter of minutes. It could be anything from a crime, a negative comment a celebrity made, pretty much ANYTHING about the government, you name it. Then look for those positive stories. A man who saved someone’s life. A kid who rescued a cat from a tree. There, you’ll see some likes and only a handful of comments. So there’s no shortage of attention to the negativity out there.
From that, many of us put more stock into anything negative, which could explain why we seem to believe more of that than anything else. To make things even more ridiculous, there are people out there who think very highly of themselves and feel that excessive negativity is the TRUTH or FACT. You know those types. Nasty for no good reason. It’s probably because of how their own lives are, but these people in NO way are the experts in what truth or fact is.
Speaking of which, that’s another thing when it comes to the “truth” and “facts” when it comes to negativity. There are way too many people out there who still are confused as to the difference between FACT and OPINION. Here are the definitions:
FACT: 1) Something that actually exists; reality; truth. 2) Something known to exist or to have happened. 3) A truth known by actual experience or observation. 4) Something said to be true or supposed to have happened.
OPINION: 1) a belief or judgment that rests on grounds insufficient to produce complete certainty. 2) A personal view, attitude, or appraisal.
Sounds pretty cut and dry to me. So for all of you out there giving opinions and putting the word FACT at the end of it, stop. Strongly believing in something does NOT change it from opinion to fact, nor does repeating it over and over.
So what is it about those who encourage us who make us question their motives and words, yet those who are negative to us, we believe? Not to mention, those are the ones we seem to try the hardest to impress. Why?
If I tell a woman she is pretty and another person tells her that she isn’t, I honestly think that more often than not, she’ll believe that she isn’t pretty at all. Besides the negativity of society taking over, what about the two of us leads her to believe the other person? Is it totally impossible that I could be telling the truth? What obligation do I have to speak nicely of this lady?
I know, I know…if people can be nasty for no good reason, they can be nice for no good reason also, and that doesn’t make what THEY say to be the truth, either. I totally get that…and that doesn’t change a thing. The same way we can discount someone nice for no reason is the same way we can discount the nasty person. But we still choose the nasty person over the nice one most of the time.
Ask yourselves…what about the negativity makes it easier to believe? I mean, what EXACTLY? Why do you have a harder time believing what someone says is good about you? When it comes to the negative, don’t say that “well more than one person said it,” because that STILL does not make it a fact. That just means that more than one person said it. Hell, that’s where the word RUMOR comes from. A bunch of people saying crap that isn’t true. And how often have you experienced rumors? Way too damn much.
I think this strong belief that the ONLY truth that could exist is the “hard” truth (negativity) is what leads many of us to seek out and work harder for the approval of some because we feel that if we can get THEM to approve of us, then we’ve really done something. We hear so much of that that when we get positive encouragement, we naturally think that people are “forced” to say those things. That does not mean that everything about you is perfect. But that surely doesn’t mean everything about you is horrible, either. The REAL truth is somewhere in the middle.
You have to start telling yourself to stop believing all the bad things people say about you and also stop discounting all the good things. You have absolutely no proof that all those things are bad just like you have no proof that the good is only said to you out of “obligation.” Now I understand that when some of us are told something long enough, we start to believe it. I do get that. I spent most of my childhood feeling that I was ugly. So when I’m complimented on my looks even now, a week and a half from turning 35, it’s still a bit of a surprise. On top of that, I’ve been skinny for most of my life, but I’ve been in the gym on a somewhat regular basis for the last few years. So when people call me a “big” guy or believe I’ve played football, I simply do NOT get it. I’m 5’11” and about 200 pounds. But I get how it feels to be so sure of something or have heard of something so many times that it makes it easier to believe. Just remember that “easier to believe” does not equal TRUTH. Not at all.
Is it possible that people can lie about the good things? Absolutely. But if you say that, then you have to say the same about the bad things as well. What proof do you have that says you should believe one and not the other? I mean FACTUAL proof? Probably none. Just remember that when seeking approval about something. Some people will be totally honest with you. TOTAL honesty means the truth which INCLUDES THE GOOD AND THE BAD.
That’s probably the best place to start. If the person you’re seeking approval from tells you ALL good or ALL bad, they’re probably not telling the honest truth. If you can easily discount the ALL good, then there is nothing stopping you from discounting the ALL bad. You don’t have to go straight to the BAD side.
Start making your way to the middle. That’s where the REAL “truth” is.