Life and Everyday

Approval vs. Affirmation

Love is within us. But often the need for self-affirmation is greater.  Once we take this affirmation for granted from one source, that source is often no longer stimulating. Our self-image wants affirmation now from another source and another, and another, and another, and another. Love is there, but often, it is not the motivating factor. Unfortunately, the need for affirmation is the motivator of most of our feelings and actions.

As a kid I never felt fully loved. For many years I substituted approval for love. I much of my approval for the many good things I did and, yes, it felt good at the time, but it never satisfied or lasted. Why?

Approval is based on what we do. Affirmation is based on who we are. Approval is a good thing when given and received for the right reasons, but when substituted for love, it can become another addiction to avoid facing the pain of not feeling loved.

Many of us suffer from this affliction. We only feel good when we feel needed. But deep down what we really need is to feel loved and affirmed at the core of our being—for who we are and not for what we do. Most of all, we need to experience love and affirmation from God the heavenly Father. Only when we feel so affirmed, can we get off the merry-go-round of doing things to get approval.

And how do we experience God the Father’s love and affirmation at the core of our being? First, by believing that God loves us because his Word says so.  Second, by sharing my total self (including my dark side) with one or two safe and trusted friends who will love and accept me just as I am—warts and all. As they love and accept me in this way, little by little, I come to love and accept myself, and in so doing, I open myself to accepting God the Father’s love and acceptance through them.

I am still searching most days.  My BFF is so far away from me now (distance-wise).  I feel very alone where I live.  Sometimes I wonder where I stand with God as well.  In my heart, I know He is still with me, but my head plays games with me.  That distance between my head and my heart seems miles and miles apart.

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