Thursday, March 18, 2010

They Will Never Approve

"I thought that if my parents were able to help me, it might make them feel needed, a part of my life."

Bob just stared. He wasn't going to give me the answers. I had to find them myself. "I suppose the main reason would be to get their approval," I admitted.

Bingo! Bob's face lit up like a beacon. "Yes, that's right! But why is their approval so important to you?"

Suddenly, after so many years, I understood. "Because I've never had it."

We weren't finished. Bob asked, "Since you say you've never had your parents' approval and this appears to be a lifelong problem, what would make you believe that suddenly they would give it to you freely?"

Good question. I felt a sudden change in the pattern of my thoughts. It felt like a piece of cobweb had broken loose. There was an awareness that had not been there for 42 years! I could feel the wheels turning in my head.

I sat and stared at Bob while I thought. There were so many feelings flowing that I didn't even see his face. It was as though a movie was being played before my eyes of all the attempts and futile efforts performed by me to get two people to approve of my life and me.

"Oh my gosh, Bob! I never will have their approval. Even when my life was happy and great events were taking place, they didn't approve of me. It was almost like they wanted me to fail."

"So you're saying that, chances are, your parents will never approve?"

"That's right!"

Bob was as excited as I was. "Do you see now why it's so illogical to actively seek something that has never happened and probably never will?"

~Whose Face Is in the Mirror?: The Story of One Woman's Journey from the Nightmare of Domestic Abuse to True Healing by Dianne Schwartz, pages 67-68

8 comments:

Anonymous said...

sounds like standard counseling where the therapist would consider this a very productive realization

Anonymous said...

A thought-provoking post!

Anonymous1:45 said...

I just read the Dr. Wolowelsky article you linked to in your previous post on Yaakov and Essav. It brought back some nice nostalgic memories for me as I had Dr. Wolowelsky in High School. He's a good person; anyways, thanks for posting that article. Regarding this post "They Will Never Approve": I want to connect this post with an idea from Dr. Wolowelskys' article. The idea is that different children need to be raised differently since they are different. This idea need not be limited to children...continued....

Anonymous1:45 said...

Rather we can see that this rule applies to people in general. That is to say, different people are different. What does this have to do with the " They will never approve" post? The child may assume that the parents don't show approval. However, the parents and the child may simply percieve things differently due to having differences in their natures. Often people feeel slighted by one another. While it may be the case that there was a slight, it also happens sometimes that they just have different natures and percieve things differently, so that what one considers a slight and is hurt by, the other doesn't even realize they did anything wrong. Secondly, on the therapists advice...continued....

Anonymous1:45 said...

It is correct; however, it only gets partial credit, for it is only half the story. Yes, one should not expect approval from a place where it has never come before. However, the more important lesson the person should realize from this is that one should not need others approval in order to feel good ar validated. The only approval one needs in life and beyond is from God. Most people do seeek the approval of others, but the fact that that is how most people operate does not make it a worthwhile pursuit. The reason that it is silly to seek othera approval is not because people are evil or won't....continued.....

Anonymous1:45 said...

or won't encourage a person. Rather, it is because ( again to tie it to the same theme) different people, even well meaning and good as they may be, will not always get each other. Other people will not always understand another person; thus it is unwise to foster a need for approval from people because one never knows whether approval will be forthcoming or not. This does not mean that a person can't get approval from others or can't share happiness, only that one needn't foster or have a NEED for or seek others approval. Thus, the only approval a person should need is from God. If you trulybelieve that you are right with God then nothing else should bother you and you don't need anyone elses approval. All that being said, It is nevertheless wise to listen and hear and give serious thought to what love ones (like parents) say, because at the endof the day they do want what is best for their child. So, even though the child should not seek out or base their feelings of self worth on the parents approval, nevertheless the child should think seriousl about their advice. However, at the end of the day approval need only come from God; so if the person sees things differently they need to do what God says not the parent (this is clear cut if a parent tells a child lechalel shabat, but not so clear to some people if the parent disagrees about paths in life,nevertheless, both are cases where Hashems will may differ from parents)...continued....

Anonymous1:45 said...

I think I'm begining to go off into too many tangents so main point - Seeking the approval of other people is a foolish motivation and a trap that most people fall into all their lives. When we look at the great people in the Torah, they often went against the grain (Avraham - Lech lecha...) They were concerned with Hashems' approval, not withother peoples approval. A person who has the need of others approval will constantly be dissapointed, and even more importantly, will often follow the wrong path or be blon off courseor do things they don't want to do because part of their motivation is to gain the approval of others, so they will do things that are not right for them in the pursuit to fill this foolish need. Whereas, if they only seek Hashems' approval then they will do what they truly want to do that is then they will be free to follow their own path in doing what ir right and good by Hashem, since they are happy inthe knowlwdge that they are with Hashem and that Hashem approves of them. This, is something that is not affected by anyone elses opinion. And, in the end this is what matters;not others' (even parents') opinion (though again, the opinions of those that love a person, like parents, should at least be given some thought since they people who love the person do want the best for the person and that is their motivation. But at the end of the day it is not the parents' or anyone eleses approval that the person seeks and so the person must make the decision as to what is right based on and solely on Gods' approval, and there may be certain times when other well meaning loving people with different natures will disagree but if it is Gods' approval that the person seeeks then the person needn't be bothered by this. Preemptive appoligies if anything I said was in any way presumptuous or insulting in any way. In truth , it was actually a commentary on my own past and myself rather then anyone else. So, if a point made by me appears insulting then understand that I am speaking about myself not assuming about anyone else. And if it is still insulting and I have put my foot in my mouth, then I appeal to the court on the grounds that it is 4:00 am and so perhaps I'mnot thinking clearly enough. All the best; and thanks for the notalgic felings due to the Wolowelsky post.

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