Approval Vs. Affirmation
"I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with loving kindness."1
As a youth I never felt fully loved. For many years I substituted approval for love. I got lots of approval for the many good things I did and, yes, it felt good at the time, but it never satisfied or lasted. Why?
Approval is based on what we do. Affirmation is based on who we are. Approval is a good thing when given and received for the right reasons, but when substituted for love, it can become another addiction to avoid facing the pain of not feeling loved.
Many of us codependents suffer from this affliction. We only feel good when we feel needed. But deep down what we really need is to feel loved and affirmed at the core of our being—for who we are and not for what we do. Most of all, we need to experience love and affirmation from God the heavenly Father. Only when we feel so affirmed, can we get off the merry-go-round of doing things to get approval.
And how do we experience God the Father's love and affirmation at the core of our being? First, by believing that God loves us because his Word says so. And second, by sharing my total self (including my dark side) with one or two safe and trusted friends who will love and accept me just as I am—warts and all. As they love and accept me in this way, little by little, I come to love and accept myself, and in so doing, I open myself to accepting God the Father's love and acceptance through them.
Suggested prayer: "Dear God, help me to believe, know, and experience your love for me in the core of my being. Help me to find a trusted friend who reflects your unconditional love and with whom I can share my total self, 'warts and all,' and experience your love through them. Thank you for hearing and answering my prayer. Gratefully, in Jesus' name, amen."
1. Jeremiah 31:3 (NIV).