Who doesn’t enjoy approval? A nice pat on the back for our egos, a common bond with another human being, respect from someone who to us really counts? Its no wonder people will do almost anything to obtain the approval of others. It starts when we are children we want the approval from our parents, we want the job well done for a good report card, a praise and hanging on the refrigerator of our best fingerpainting, even an “aren’t you just the cutest little thing” type of comment. We are taught through this that we have to be exactly what people expect us to be in order to be loved, and overcoming that lesson and realizing that “really” they just want us to be who we are, but ofcourse still good, honest, attractive and successful, is probably one of the most life altering moments of our lives.
I am a people pleaser by nature, and I always have been. I am that girl who cried over a B in math because I thought my parents would be mad at me. I also am that girl that will do anything you ask me to, that would walk through fire for just about anyone, and at one point in my life was also the girl that would put aside her beliefs, feelings and thoughts to fit in, be loved and just to have someone to sit with a lunch time.
I ran around with a group of girls in middle school that were the type of girls that really hurt to look at, they were beautiful already even at such a young age, were popular, and had everything they could ever want. I have always been moderately popular myself, really more of a friends with everyone type of person, but I had made my way into this clique of girls by association. One of them really honestly liked me, the real me, and she and I had become close friends and with that the rest of her “group” had taken me in as well. I never really was one of them though. My thighs touched when i walked, THE HORROR, and I also had red frizzy hair that I was always trying to lighten with that sun in crap since my mother wouldn’t let me dye my hair. I also had braces and curves and wasn’t experienced with boys the way they were. Basically I was that tag along, probably the butt of a few jokes. It was at this point in my life that I really feel like I longed for approval of others in a way that was truly bad for my health, and my pysche for the first time. These girls used my longing for acceptance against me by pushing me around, making my choices for me, and basically not allowing me to be myself. They told me I was only allowed to like certain boys, , that I had to play spin the bottle with the jock boys and let them feel me up at the park on the weekends, and that I had to be rude to girls that weren’t in our clique and basically be a mean girl to everyone, and I did. This was also the first time in my life that I skipped lunch and sipped a diet soda through a straw because I didn’t want people to see me eat, weighed obsessively, and hated every inch of my body. Approval is lovely isn’t it? I tried so hard to be everything they wanted me to be, but I just never could reach the approval I was after. No matter how many times I skipped dinner and how many boys I let get past first base I was still chubbier then the rest of them, and still never had a boyfriend that played for the East Boise All Stars (serisously, it is that lame lol) and because of those ridiculous things I was a failure to them. It was a learning experience though as that summer I got some distance. I still hung with my close friend but I got a reprieve for the most part from the rest of them. I made pals with another girl from school who had wanted their approval as much as I did but now that I think back on it could never achieve it because honestly they were intimdated by her and the fact that she was and still is now probably the most stunning woman I have ever seen. It was over that summer that I did a lot of reflecting, fell in love that was actually recipricated for the first time and realized that it wasn’t me that was the problem it was these girls. I was over it and on the first day of school that year when I had been instructed on what to wear to match the rest of the group I blew it off and in turn blew them off, and it felt GOOD!
I’d love to say that from that moment I never did anything for anyones approval ever again, but if I did it would be a lie. I married a man at age 20 just because that was what I was expected to do, even though I was only sexual attracted to women. I bought a house because it was the next step even though the original mortgage was $1300 a month which was like 85% of my total income. I let people in and pushed people away in order to be everything everyone wanted me to be. I’ve yo yo dieted with the best of them in order to fit the media’s ideal image of beauty but those are all lessons that I’ve learned from too and changed me for the better now. Without them maybe I wouldn’t be at the place I am now, where for the first time I feel I am truly living my life for myself, with a love for the woman of my dreams, the interests and hobbies that speak to my heart, and a love for my body at whatever size it may be at that given moment. Its my life, and its a fat and fearless life, and mine is the only approval that matters.
It’s all baby steps right?