to offer (someone) emotional support or encouragement.
To a certain degree, we all crave and desire affirmation–some of us more than others.
When you are in a state where you feel like you want affirmation for something you have done, or are in the process of doing, or are even considering doing, and you do not get it, it really can sting.
What is this piercing pain, and where does it come from? It’s likely linked to a whole host of things: feeling unsupported, misunderstood, devalued, foolish, immature, etc. And while these feelings are real, are they actually true?
What do I mean by that? To clarify I’ll use an example:
Let’s say as a child you had a bad experience on a rollercoaster and ever since the event you’ve said no to any opportunity to ride again. Whether or not you should choose to ride again is beside the point, the event left you with a seemingly permanent posture of ‘roller coasters scare (fill in the blank) me thus, they are bad/wrong for me.’
Your experience of riding a rollercoaster and having had a bad experience is REAL, but to say riding rollercoasters is wrong/bad for you is NOT TRUE.
If we let too many past experiences dictate our outlook of the future and thus, our behavior, more than anything we are living with limiting beliefs about ourselves, and our ability to experience life in new/redeeming ways. When we fall prey to this trap, at the core, fear and or hurt are what we give our authority to.
No one would happily say they’re content to give into fear or hurt in their lives, so why do we do it, or more precisely, do we have a choice in the matter?
With as much passion as possible, I would like to yell, shout, affirm, that YES we DO have the choice, but it requires acknowledging the thing we’ve been fearful/afraid of and consequently, probably for a period, experience the pain that comes with growth.
In my humanness, I would like to assert that sometimes I don’t want to feel the pain of growth, feel uncomfortable, feel isolated/lonely in my experiences, or unsupported. Isn’t it possible to grow and feel good simultaneously? Yes, but it’s not always the case (I have to say to myself).
For the time being, if we can see that fear/hurt can affect us in profound ways, that they are more than just real, then we can say they are a type of actor in our lives. By default it seems we allow them to shape us negatively, but what if we could begin to see them as teachers?
This sounds like some sort of Buddhist philosophical insight now, which I’m not saying it is or isn’t, but what if these emotions in our lives are meant to be mirrors for us, pointing at our opportunities for growth?
How can we interact with this mirroring?
1) Acknowledging what we have been hurt by or fear,
2) Taking responsibility in the matter.
Strictly speaking, this responsibility comes in the form of asking ourselves, ‘why and how have I allowed this pain/hurt to control me/have authority over me in my life’?
3), ‘by having these emotions in the driver’s seat, are they serving or stopping my growth in life?’
Once you’ve answered these questions honestly, hopefully, you will see that more often than not, emotions like fear and hurt are not meant to be truth speaking leaders in our lives, but rather question asking teachers who say, ‘Are you paying attention?’
I get that this sucks, but come on, if our live’s are not being fully lived out because of paralysis by fear/hurt, ask yourself this:
what experiences/opportunities are you missing out on,
and, by limiting your growth, are your actions stalling the growth of the people you love?
Remember, you are an influence in this world.
Take a stand for your life, for the lives of those whom you love, affirm your personal growth, look for lessons in shitty experiences, and give yourself permission to feel whatever it is you need to, but do not let it stop there.
We should not depend on the affirmations of others. It’s in our best interest to grow beyond the limiting beliefs others may have about us or those we’ve placed on ourselves.
Today, acknowledge what you wish or have felt the need for affirmation over, release yourself from it, and take personal responsibility for your dreams, aspirations, hopes, and visions–you see them more clearly than anyone else.
If you’re having insights, have questions, and or like what’s been said here, please comment and share. I’m more than happy to engage here.
Here’s a small list of books for our journey: