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Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Words That Can Haunt Me, Part 12: Approval

On a scale of 1-10, with one representing "I don't care at all" and ten representing "I care so much I can get immobilized", how important is the approval of others to you?

Since starting to attend a few writer's groups a while back, I've been re-thinking where I fall on that continuum and the corresponding impact on my creativity. In these situations, someone in the group typically offers a prompt and then each of us writes for a few minutes. Each person then either reads aloud what they've written or passes. Sometimes people comment on what others have written, sometimes there is silence. As this process unfolds, I'm honestly relieved no one can see my scribbles or worse, hear my self-talk.

I never comment publicly on the writing of others. If something moves me, I'll tell the writer privately. And so far, I've always read my responses to the prompts. But later when I'm alone re-reading what I wrote and then read, I often wish I'd passed. It doesn't appear to matter how little is at stake for me here; a "1" is far out of reach. What price do I pay needing any approval in situations like this?


  1. Approval is one of the many aspects of the journey through which I have struggled, with various intensity at different stages of life. For me, the person giving the approval holds as much weight as the situation. Fortunately for me, as I have attempted to grow into myself, integrity has begun to significantly and consistently trump approval...even with my mother (and that's not easy with her Italian/Brooklyn root system!)
    I can relate to your book club apprehension. Though I've never been part of a book club, in attending various meetings, whether professional, school-related, or otherwise, I tend to keep quiet regardless of the validity of the statements floating around my head. I've never thought of this as a approval issue, so much as wondering if others would care to take the time to listen to what I have to say. But I see here, you are probably on to something for me!

    Thank you for sharing! d.

    1. d; Thanks for both your comments today. You are so on target when you say "...the person giving the approval holds as much weight as the situation." That's the part I'm still working on all the time. By the time I nail it, I'll probably not remember why it was important in the first place!