Is your cup of care full or empty or somewhere between? My whole life it’s been full: full of care for my family, friends, neighbors, and sometimes strangers. As the years went on, the cup slowly started to empty. I began to realize it didn’t matter how much care I had for anyone because it wasn’t received in the fashion I was giving it; more like “yes keep on giving please and I have nothing in return for you.” The approval addict started to emerge. Yes, there is such a disease and help exists. Check the bookstore in the self-help aisle.
Approval addiction is tough. You want to not seek someone’s approval but the inherent force pulls you toward the ones that never give it. I’m sure just like any other addiction there are steps to follow that will lead to the road of recovery. While I don’t officially know what these steps are, I can tell you what worked for me. The first step, which is quite difficult to do much less master, is to basically give all those people you sought approval from a big FU. Yup right in the kisser…then run and hide because immediately you are going to want to say you are sorry and take it back. Don’t do it! After doing this only a few times and feeling tremendous guilt, I learned to master that technique (not really, but I will pat myself on the back for doing a good job). So what if people didn’t like me? So what if they talked crap behind my back? Oh, it was painful but I marched on, head held high, ears perked up (of course I couldn’t walk away 100%. I had to hear what they might be saying.) So, the cup of care slowly started to empty. FU here, FU there…I was starting to feel empowered. Basically, it took me 30-something years to figure out that I don’t have to give a shit. There are only a few people left in my life that I care most about. They are the ones who give me unconditional love and support. They don’t question my actions or motives. If you don’t have that for me then my cup of care just got dumped the drain. You better scoop it up for yourself because no one is refilling it here.