Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Who Do YOU Appreciate?

Would you rather appreciate someone, or have that someone appreciate you?

A self-sustaining personality is one which appreciates itself so much that it doesn't depend on others for appreciation, acceptance, etc.

For such personalities, being appreciated by others is not necessary, though it is enjoyable. It can be seen as a mirror image of the appreciation that a personality has for itself.

Which of us are stable personalities, then? Which of us appreciate ourselves so much that it is unnecessary for others to appreciate us?

Children come to mind.

They start out that way. They begin life appreciating themselves.

And then they learn, as they grow, that some of their expressions and attributes are NOT appreciated. They are told so repeatedly by their parents, siblings, friends, teachers, etc. And because they are new to life, they are susceptible to the beliefs and opinions of others. And before you know it, you have yourself an adult (or teenager, or adolescent) who has learned NOT to appreciate himself, and who has grown to rely on the acceptance and appreciation of others to feel good about himself (or herself).

To address this, we must dismantle those antiquated but entrenched self-judgments and self-criticisms. They are what keep us from accepting ourselves, and this lack of self-acceptance makes it impossible to appreciate ourselves.

We in our society have fooled ourselves into thinking that we need to DO things in order to be appreciated. We learn this at home growing up, we learn it at school, and we practice it at work.

Yet the truth is, you don't need to do ANYTHING in order to be acceptable. And in fact, the more you do in an effort to be accepted and appreciated, the more you are expressing the belief that you aren't acceptable just the way you are.

Wouldn't it be nice if you accepted and appreciated yourself so much that you weren't dependent upon anybody else's appreciation of you? No more fishing for compliments, no more unwanted commitments, no more fake smiles or false apologies or grudges or self-doubt or regret or any of the other unpleasant experiences that go along with protecting some sort of image of yourself.

Yes, that would be tremendous. And it was. Once upon a time, long ago. Back before you learned to do all of those things in order to be accepted.

And appreciated.

16 comments:

  1. D00d73511:32 PM

    Yipes.

    A lo of research suggests that primate/human intelligence evolved from modeling, observing what happens to another individual when they do "X" and modeling self behavior accordingly. Having said that, if you spend your life evaluating yourself through the perceptions of others, wow are you in trouble. Kind of contradictory, huh?

    ReplyDelete
  2. Perhaps it was the development of the ego, the sense of self, that added a layer of complexity to the equation. Instead of simply observing physical cause and effect, the ego started to ask, "how does this make me feel about myself?"

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