The Quest for Affirmation

Because we all want to be loved and accepted, we yield too much power to people’s presence and opinions.

We seek it first at home. Our blood bond assures acceptance, unconditional love, loyalty. But oftentimes those promises come with conditions. If you are to fit in, you must walk like them, talk like them, be like them. You must be careful not to challenge their ideals or beliefs or remind them of dark chapters in their past. You must not evolve into something more if they are rooted in stagnation. If you can accomplish all of that, then you will fit in just fine.

If you are to fit in, you must walk like them, talk like them, be like them.

But woe unto you who has their own mind, who sees the world through a different lens. Too bad for you if you are too dark or too light, too pretty or not pretty enough, too passive or aggressive, too smart or not smart enough. Woe unto the one who cannot hide their anomalies.

Sometimes you must walk alone.

It takes great courage to come out from among them and tread an unfamiliar path; to do something different. But you must be careful not to expect too much from an unsupportive family when you set your course. You cannot look to them for affirmation and commendations. They don’t have it to give. Pride, ignorance, maybe even envy, harden their hearts and stitch their mouths shut. You can not do enough to impress them. You must understand this before you step out on that road. If you don’t, you will waste many years seeking their approval, striving to prove you are worthy of it; hoping they finally understand and accept you for who you are.

Next, when you can’t get what you’re looking for from your family, you’ll seek it from your peers. You will encounter other travelers on your road to self-discovery, prosperity, success—whatever it is you’re seeking. Some will be able to relate to you and a few will help you along the way. Everybody has ideas, some good, great even. But not every great idea is good for you, but when you’re bereft of affirmation, you will venture into strange lands and drink cloudy water—you’ll do what you see others do to achieve success. You’ll wear clothes that don’t fit quite right, shoes too big or too tight. You may receive the praise and validation you sought, but how does it feel after a while? How much did it cost?

Not every great idea is good for you.

You stand to lose more than you ever hoped to gain when you’re always seeking approval and acceptance from your peers; when you need them to validate your existence. People who have the authority to make you also have the authority to break you, so you must be careful who you give that kind of power to.

Yes, that’s right. It comes from you. You have the power, hiding in your hunger and thirst for affirmation and commendation; culminating in your desires, passions and zeal. Whoever you seek to affirm you, gains that power. You cannot control what a person, entity, or system does with it once you relinquish it to them. You become their servant, a slave even, doing tricks and flips for praise, anything to be received and accepted. The quality of your life is measured by their standards. You must conform to their way…

Nothing to prove. Just be.

Or be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind (Rom. 12:2). You must discover who you are and understand your true value. No one knows what another person’s life is worth, and no person can render it to them.

You must realize you are not alone, not invisible, not irrelevant. You are a purposeful somebody fearfully and wonderfully made. Not because your family, friends, peers or followers told you, but because God told you and you dared to believe Him.

–D.L. Lunsford

D.L. Lunsford

Saying a lot with few words.

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