Children are such good role models. They live in the moment, they constantly express their creativity and they go for what they want – sometimes over and over again! And when you praise a child for something they’ve done or said they will usually repeat the behaviour. Sometimes they repeat it immediately, just to see if you’ll keep the accolades coming.
They want to live awash in that love and approval. Guess what? We all do! That desire for recognition and connection never goes away, it is part of what makes us human and keeps us reaching out and connecting to one another. In many ways it keeps us vital and alive.
In fact, people who don’t have love and connection in their lives often become ill. Studies have shown that people who receive love and companionship from pets thrive and are healthier than people who don’t have any love in their lives at all. We’ve wired for love, caring and companionship.
As children we learn to understand conditional love – the praise we would get for doing something our parents approved of. We figure out very quickly that if we behave in a way they want us to, we gain their approval and we feel loved. As an adult, that can turn into want to please people to win their approval, their admiration, their affection.
This early need for approval can be transferred into behaviors that can lead to perfectionism. It can also get us away from our true nature or what we want for ourselves because we are caught up seeking the approval of others, not feeding our own souls and get our ‘approval’ from within.
I find in business our insecurity and need for acceptance often manifests in our relationship showing our neediness of being a child. It’s not your fault! Part of maturing and feeding ourselves the love we need – and I do believe we need to do that in order to love other people – is to know that self-love is not an ego move, but a powerful way to nurture ourselves. As you see and understand that and grow to love and approve yourself, you’ll find that other naturally feel that way toward you.
If you’re willing to take the risk of recognizing yourself for your accomplishments – not in a conceited way, but rather in a kind and loving way – you’ll find you feel more satisfied and confident. You’ll prosper if you can appreciate your own efforts; love yourself for who you are and know that what you have to give to the world is unique and yours alone to do.
We all have places in our lives and in our hearts where this is difficult. Truly, it’s a process.