Many of us, as adults, do all sorts of things to gain acceptance, approval and love from our parents and other loved ones. In many cases, our efforts go unnoticed or unrewarded. No matter what we do, it’s not good enough. No matter what we do, we receive criticism and harsh judgment. No matter what we do, we don’t get the same attention and consideration that is shown to others.
The end result is our feeling bad about ourselves. We feel unloved and unlovable. We feel defective and inadequate. We feel rejected and abandoned. It’s very painful.
Despite this pain that we cause ourselves by repeatedly putting ourselves in these no-win situations, hoping against hope that somehow something will change, we continue the love-seeking and approval-seeking behaviors that get us nowhere.
When we try to communicate our needs and generate a dialogue in an attempt to learn if there’s something we’re doing that’s getting in the way or pushing them away, these efforts fall on deaf ears. We don’t get honest answers. We are left feeling confused, hurt and angry.
And still we seek their love and believe there’s an emptiness inside of us that only their love can fill.
Truth be told, we will never feel whole if we are waiting for approval and love from others. We must learn to love ourselves despite how others perceive us and treat us.
One way to begin the process of loving ourselves is to stop victimizing ourselves and beating ourselves up by repeatedly putting ourselves in situations where we get rejected and hurt.
If we have made efforts to break through whatever walls have been put up, and these efforts continue to be ignored, unappreciated, and invalidated, at some point we need to stop making these efforts and accept the fact that we’re most likely never going to get the love and approval we desire.
At some point we need to accept the fact that we can’t squeeze blood from a stone. At some point we need to appreciate that it’s okay to want love from others but not to need it, and that we shouldn’t jump through hoops in attempts to get it.
At some point we need to respect ourselves, validate ourselves, nurture ourselves and love ourselves by discontinuing these desperate attempts to achieve the impossible.
Instead, we mourn the relationships that haven’t lived up to the potentials we hoped for. We feel sad that we don’t have the love that we would like from those relationships. But we don’t minimize ourselves anymore. We don’t put ourselves in situations that will lead to us feeling neglected and rejected. We stop trying to push the river where it doesn’t want to go.
We accept the relationships as they are, with their limitations. We release any anger and resentments we are harboring. We feel good about ourselves for taking care of ourselves, for not living in denial, for not doing the same things and expecting different results. And we look elsewhere for acceptance and love if that is what we desire.