Who doesn’t want to be acknowledged and adored for their accomplishments? Or even just because of the wonderful person we are? Even those of us who are the most introverted want some type of recognition at times.
But what happens when we don’t get the acknowledgement and adoration we feel we deserve for a job well-done? Or as much as we feel we deserve?
I was faced with that dilemma just the other day after a friend stopped over. My kitchen is a work in progress and I also recently renovated the finished part of my basement so I was a little anxious to see what her reaction would be…
For the kitchen – “Oh, I like the counter top.”
For the basement – “Oh, that’s a nice paint color.”
There was some other discussion, but the conversation quickly turned to other things, which is fine. I don’t really like talking about myself for long periods of time. The longer someone’s attention is focused on me the more uncomfortable I become. But I know when I’ve done a good job and a part of me would like someone else to see it and acknowledge it.
That didn’t happen this time. It was a huge let down and for the remainder of the visit I felt disappointed and hurt and doubt started to creep in. I started to question whether or not the work I had done was really all that great.
That’s when I stopped. It was the next day and I was making breakfast and I was still having all of these negative thoughts run through my mind. So I literally stopped what I was doing to figure out what the problem was.
***If you’ve never done that before then I suggest you start because I have found that the only way to change my train of thought is to consciously think about what I’m thinking about. You will also be amazed at how many negative and self-destructive thoughts creep in throughout the day. You’ll be way happier if you become purposeful in your thinking and start thinking about things that will actually help you instead of all the bad things that has ever happened to you.***
So I stopped and stared out my kitchen window for a few moments and thought about why I was so hurt that my friend didn’t seem to care about the amount of work I had put in or the fact that my house is on its way to be completely renovated and it looks freaking awesome. Then I asked myself why I cared about what someone else thought or why I needed someone else’s approval to feel good about the work I had done and by extension myself as a person.
The short answer is that I really don’t care whether someone else likes me or approves of me or acknowledges my work. Don’t get me wrong it’s nice to have that from time to time, but approval and acknowledgement and adoration from others is such a fleeting and fickle thing. And if everything I do is just to gain approval and acknowledgement from others there is no way I’m ever going to be truly happy, because even if someone says all the right things chances are their body language is telling a different story.
Like with my friend, even though she complimented the work I did when she came over the way she said them and then quickly moved on told me a completely different story. It wasn’t that she hated the work I had done or thought it was bad. It was more like she was comparing her house to mine and found her’s lacking. So it made it difficult for her to be happy about the improvements I’ve been making.
Just like I have trouble being happy for friends and family when their accomplishments make me feel inadequate. It makes it difficult to say all the right things. I don’t know about you but nothing gets stuck in my mouth easier than praise and compliments for other people and their work. It’s easier for me to say ‘I’m sorry’ than it is to tell someone what a good job they did or that I’m proud of them. Which makes me wonder if people who find it easy are really genuine in their praise, because I don’t want that either – fake acknowledgement and adoration.
Obviously this is something that I will be mulling over for a while. It’s something that will keep coming up because I am constantly working on one project or another. I guess what is important is that I know when my work, my creations, my art is something worth acknowledging and that I recognize it even if no one else does.
I don’t need someone else’s approval or acknowledgement or adoration to feel a sense of self-worth and accomplishment. I don’t need others to understand everything I do or why I do them to be happy. Truth is no one, not even my family, has ever really understood me or accepted me. So why should I look for or expect it from people who haven’t known me for nearly as long?
There’s a true sense of freedom when we can stop being pressured by what we think others expect from us. We are free to be ourselves and be happy.
Who wants to be happy with me?