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THE HALO EFFECT|
By Martha Beck
Are you the kind of person who thinks she's being good (self-sacrificing! angelic!) by cooing over things you hate and sucking up to strangers for tiny morsels of approval? Martha Beck encourages you to hang up your wings.
Causes and Consequences of Approval Prostitution
We approval whores are people who will do anything to get affirmation and acceptance from others. Approval whores like me tend to think that we're being good (saintly! angelic!) when we let others have their way with us in exchange for a hit of praise. The people in our lives are likely to reinforce our sickness, because we'll do pretty much anything to please them, and what's not to love about that?
Here's what: Being dependent on approval—so dependent that we barter away all our time, energy, and personal preferences to get it—ruins lives.
This is a good time of year to see what I'm talking about, because during the holidays even the most upstanding citizens are pressured to act a little slutty, approval-wise. You know the story: You coo in false delight while gnawing Aunt Wanda's petrified fruitcake or simulate ecstasy over a hand-knitted sweater that makes you look like an Amish land whale. Don't be ashamed; a little social prostitution during the holidays is virtually universal. However, if you are an approval whore year-round, this season may deepen your dysfunction to the point where your efforts to please become truly exhausting and other people's appreciation is less and less rewarding. If you feel drained or angry as the season progresses, it's time to get off the street. Learn to respect yourself. Give yourself the gift of the real you, clean and sober.
Pleasing others is like sex: When we do it because we really want to, it's a wonderfully life-affirming way to strengthen a relationship, but when it's motivated by obligation, powerlessness, or calculated advantage, it's the very definition of degrading. The key to an authentic emotional life, like the key to an authentic sex life, is to follow your real desires.
Suppose that every morning of this holiday season, you asked yourself what you really, truly wanted to do that day, and then did just that. Would you spend time you don't have buying things you can't afford for people you don't like? I didn't think so. Would you bake goodies, decorate, light the menorah or the Kwanzaa candles? Maybe. Would you engage in activities you love, in the places you love, with the people you love? Oh, yeah. That would be terrific!
So do it.
[ Last edited by hly_2009 at 2008-10-29 09:10 PM ]