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Why do we seek approval?  Should we pay for it, and how much should we pay?  Is it cost effective, and if it is not why do we urgently seek it out, and if it is, why is it that it seems that there is not enough of it to go around?  Approval, how about we strike it from the dictionary completely and see if it is missed, and then contemplate the lives that have been affected by this word, a word which in itself begs for the very thing it may deny others.

As soon as we are born, although we do not know it, are not aware of it, we become the subject of approval: to be thought well of, commend, authorise, so the definition says, and that stays with us, weaving its way through our lives, lives depending on it, lives failing by it, lives denied by it, lives controlled by it, lives foiled by it, lives sadly wiped out by it.

We require approval from our parents from a very early age, and at that stage it makes us feel. Feelings and approval: cousins, sisters, brothers, it cannot be denied, these two are related and like siblings, first cousins, step children, they do not always get along.  They tussle, they squabble, they fight, they vie for parental affection, believing that they are the first among equals.  But sadly this is not so, because as we know, no parent loves one sibling more than the other.  Or so they lead us to believe.  But we know, approval tells us so!

Later on, when we are older, bolder, approval hangs around like a boulder: huge, solid, unmovable, it dictates the way we should go.  Approved of, we feel nurtured, loved and accepted.  Disapproval on the other hand, based on faulty premises, leaves us feeling like orphans, un-loved, un-accepted, lacking, unseen, in some cases, guilty and ashamed.

We need approval.  It appears to be essential for a life well lived.  But in order to live a life with no regrets, the only approval worth investing in, is the approval we give ourselves.  Let’s keep that word in the dictionary and approve its existence but with the proviso that it includes not only approval from others, but above all approval from ourselves for ourselves in order to live our best life.

~Marie Williams 2016