Captive of Approvals…

Captivity in negativity is something I came across a while back when Prison Break was such a big deal. T-Bag, one of the characters played by Robert Knepper was an author of a book, memoir perhaps going by Captivity in negativity. According to T-Bag, This refers to a depression in which you feel you can not escape, which makes you feel worse in succession. Through the TV series, he tries to play and detail the impact of negative energy on our lives and how it shapes our perspective of life and things around us that might not seem such a big deal but in the long run shape all we know, do see and desire.

T-Bag From Prison Break

So what do I term as Negative Energy? In my own thinking and experience, it is the way we end up feeling pulled down by things and situations as perceived and reacted upon by people around us; This is especially the people we constantly seek approval and acceptance from in one given way or another. As children, we grew up understanding right and wrong from our parents. As we came home, from school or a given assignment, the reaction we received depending on our mannerisms and the outcome realized shaped our perception and understanding of what was right and wrong. From that we strived to comply with generally accepted norms and abhor those that were not acceptable.

As we grow older, terms of what is considered acceptable and not accepted is what shapes us in versions of which our parents are or want us to be, become. One thing I have however gathered is parents never stop seeing us as immature, irresponsible and less knowing. At a given point we need to move away from customs laid and defined by our parents and elders as we become mature and grown in our own right. Realizing who we are, who we’ve become and who we want to be… This is where we get disconnected…

As some document I read through details, It’s natural to want your mother’s or your father’s approval as a child. After all, these are the people who made you! But when you’re 25 or 35 or 50 and there are still times when you find yourself nervous, irritated or stressed because your parent appears to be… oh, is it possible? … Judging you and finding you lacking in some way. The paper gave some steps to evaluate why we’re too concerned about seeking parental approval at this late date, and how to free one-self.

First, recognize that it is very natural to want your parents’ approval. For most children, parents are our first and most important role models. In general, it is from our parents that we learn our earliest values. It is our parents who tell us when we’ve been good or bad, have achieved great things or have disappointed them. What’s more, our parents’ expectations are often imprinted on us for life.

Next, remind yourself that you have reached adulthood. You probably still love and respect your parents (or, in some cases, you may not). Whichever is the case, the values they instilled are still living somewhere within you.  The question is – do YOU still hold these values?

Think about the areas in which you feel you are still seeking your parent’s approval. Often, these may include issues including:

  • Your career
  • Your choice of a mate, sexual orientation, or choice not to have a mate
  • Your looks and fashion sense
  • Your weight or level of fitness
  • Your educational choices
  • Your religious beliefs or lack thereof
  • Your decision whether or not to have children
  • Your methods of raising these children
  • Your cooking, or the fact that you don’t cook much

…and so on!

Decide: Deep down, do you agree with your parent on the issues at hand?

For example, a parent may feel you are too permissive with your child, Janie. You wish the parent approved of the way you are raising Janie. But how do you, YOURSELF, feel about your skills and approach as a parent? That alone is the key to what you must do next.

IF YOU AGREE with your parent makes yourself understand clearly that the approval you REALLY seek is your OWN. Take responsibility for the fact that you want to live up to expectations you yourself hold. (Sure, you hear your parent talking or you sense what she/he may be thinking, but – face up! – The things she/he is saying are in fact the things you believe. Take ownership of the fact that you agree and want to do things the way both you and your parent feel is best.)

IF YOU DISAGREE with your parent, and feel you are NOT too permissive with Janie, recognize this. Depending on your relationships with your parent, you may choose to confront the issue: “No, I am comfortable that little Janie has limits and understands them. They may not be the limits you would have chosen, but they work for our family.”
Or you may simply ask your parent to respect your differences. Or (sigh) you may just listen, nod, and repeat to yourself, “I am an adult making my own choices. I do not need Mom/Dad’s approval. If a parent continually vocalizes disapproval or disappointment and you have absolutely had it with hearing that you are, for example, overweight, respond. “Mom, I know you’d like me to lose weight, and I’d like that, too. But talking about it every time we meet doesn’t help. I’m aware of the issue and I’d like you to let me deal with it on my own.”

There is importance in making your own in making your own choices, decisions, learning your own lessons from achievements and mistakes. They say experience is the best teacher. Having been raised on a platform where our actions rated appropriate or not so by guardians and those we look up to. We struggle every so often to seek approval which is constantly met with disapproval every so often when we miss a step, when we trip. It is important to note that it is only you who can define Who, What, When, Where, Why and How of your future. So stop getting trapped in negativity and forge forth.

Play List – Can’t Be Tamed, Miley Cyrus

3 thoughts on “Captive of Approvals…

  1. This is one that most of us can relate to. suddenly I remember times when this has happened, seeking that stamp of approval and how hurting it can sometime get when I don’t get it. It’s wonderful to feel I’m not the only one, and that it’s ok to believe I’m capable of making my own decisions, whether right or wrong!

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