I want to think it gets easier as we get older to reflect insight-fully about our past. My father passed away over 5 years now and yet rarely does a day go by that I don’t think fondly about him. My Dad was a man of very few words, usually responding to open ended questions with a one-word answer and yet he was the most positive individual I had ever known in my life – never making a disparaging remark about anyone.
Unfortunately, I was one of those kids who needed words of affirmation to feel good about myself. My Dad showed his love for me in many different ways and again, unfortunately, I was unable to see that through my young, inexperienced eyes. I recall many times trying to please him through my achievements.
Growing up, I do not recall ever hearing my father say he was proud of me, except one time. It is one of those memories you will never forget. The compliment came one winter evening when I was leaving the house to go visit friends and he grabbed my arm and told me how proud he was of me for becoming a doctor and that no one else in our family had ever done that.
As I would find out after his death, he had always been proud of me…but because I needed to hear it and never did I felt compelled to keep trying to win his approval when I already had it.
Let me ask a question, whose approval are you trying to get and just how sure are you that you don’t already have it?