What’s so bad about doing a good job on something, and then looking for approval? It seems childish, but we parents encourage our children to behave that way on purpose. All of a sudden, when you hit a certain age, it’s not okay anymore. “Look what I did!” is totally rude and out of fashion. Should we change the way we raise our children, or just teach them not to act that way around anyone except Mom and Dad, or to knock it off at a certain age? What? I’m confused!
There are people in my church who knew me in grade school, and frankly, I can barely look them in the eyes I’m so embarrassed. My life was all about me back then. I did my absolute best all the time because it’s what my parents and teachers wanted. They were pleased, and they had ways of showing their approval. Should I have tried to please my fickle peers instead? Impossible! Then why am I so embarrassed? People hated me, but should I have done less than my best? Even now, my efforts at making friends and being nice to people are looked at askance because some believe that I’m just a glutton for approval. At least, that’s how I interpret their reactions.
The other day, I asked a lady in the church where to find such-and-such cleaner. I wanted to find out ahead of time because I was going to be cleaning the church by myself for the first time. I mentioned this fact, so she would know why I was asking, but clearly, I should have merely asked the question and kept my reasons to myself. Instead of telling me where I could find the cleaner, she said, “Good for you.” Am I reading too much into her reaction? Or was I subconsciously looking for her approval? I want to be who God wants me to be, and if I’m too arrogant or approval-seeking, I want to change those things about myself. But how then should I behave? I want others to feel comfortable around me and vice versa. I am haunted by my past as an over-achiever.