I Approve This Message
(or how I believe this to be a High Achievement)
Enough of this off time already. Ending this year with new inspiration. I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas!
I’ve been thinking a lot about how much approval means to, not only me, but everyone in general. It all starts out with the approval we (should) receive from our parents (or other caretakers), when growing up. And that right there might be a false start already. Because it seems that a lot of the older generation parents – and please, don’t shoot me, not all are the same I know – haven’t had their own share of approval.
I couldn’t fault any parent for lacking in the approval department, if that has never been a part of their own upbringing in the first place. And though we all claim to prefer to ‘not become like our parents’ in certain ways, the older we get, we start recognizing some behavior we tried so hard not to copy. I frequently catch myself sounding like my Mom. Of course not all of it is bad, sometimes I only just now understand why she would even go about things like she did.
But we all need approval, don’t say it’s just me 🙄. Doesn’t matter how hard we try to deny it. Some days we can go without it perfectly fine, but there might be days we crave it, even if only to feel some appreciation about what we are doing and where we are going with our lives. Not talking about strangers, although sometimes that can even feel more like a reward, since they might be looking at things from a new / fresh, unbiased, angle. It’s the approval from our loved ones that might give us the incentive to go on, or rather, tip the scale to give up.
Approval is often confused with acceptance, though I wouldn’t say the two go easily without each other, they’re not the same. It’s most often harder to accept anything without giving it our approval first, but like in the case of, for instance, raising kids: we might not approve of their choices, but we certainly can (and should at one point) accept and respect them. Same goes for attention. It’s like a child asking for attention, whether positive or negative, once they get it, their appeased. Wouldn’t recommend going for the negative side though, just to be clear.
To be honest, sometimes the lack of approval, which mostly goes hand in hand with some negative comments, can give us the kick in the butt we need, just to prove them wrong, while proving ourselves right. In other words, it might actually inspire us to go for it. Wouldn’t it be nice to be able to look back and laugh in their faces when that happens? I know, it shouldn’t be the right motivation, but we can’t deny we all had those moments. And it Does Feel Good, to be able to be a little smug afterwards. At the least it means, you’ve overcome any fear of failing, which could hold you back from following your heart.
Been asking myself why it carries so much weight. Is it the mere compliments I am hoping for? Not gonna lie, compliments are nice, but it’s something inside myself that needs to be convinced. Maybe I am just too demanding? Too much of a perfectionist to be satisfied with where I am and what I am doing? Am I a people pleaser? Been talking about it a lot too, with the ones close to me. In a way, we’ve known for a long time, that when approval has been structurally missing in someone’s life, the effects can be severe.
A lot of people keep searching for approval of any kind, for the rest of their lives, even when they’re not aware of it. And that is a sad thing to behold. As with most deep rooted character traits, the lack of approval can issue a lot of unwanted behavior, which I am sure most of you experienced at one point or another. If not in yourself, than undoubtedly in people around you.
For me it often means I step up my game and try even harder, sometimes even up to the point that it feels obsessive and when I reach that point it’s pretty hard to pull the brakes. Hence the little break the last couple of weeks lol. And yeah, all of you who know me, will recognize this from how I would do my job / any job. Leaning towards perfectionism can be a real pain, which is why I did a little research myself and found out there is actually a difference between being a Perfectionist and a High Achiever.
The next article really helped to make the differences clear and also reassured me in some points that, although perfectionism can lead to a lot of difficulties – mostly because one would just ask too much of oneself – being a High Achiever might actually get you somewhere. I will try to go through the next 10 points and apply them to myself, as the High Achiever, using my own words.
A perfectionist will not be satisfied with anything less than achieving the perfect goal, in perfectly executed steps, which they set themselves, even when this goal might be humanly impossible to reach.
The high achiever (Me), might have the same goals, but will be more satisfied with nearing that goal with an – almost – excellent performance, even if the goal is not completely met. In other words: I won’t see it as a failure if the goal is not perfectly met, but will find satisfaction in how I’ve gotten so far. It’s an ‘always look at the bright side of life’, kind of attitude. And no, not always succeeding.
Perfectionists are highly critical on themselves and others and tend to emphasize any ‘failures’ and ‘imperfections’. It’s hard for them to see the good / positive, sides in matters and will judge harshly because of that. Failure is never an option.
As for me, I would try to look for the details that could help me / others, to keep up a positive attitude, even when things won’t go the way I would wish them to go. Encouragement and appreciation both play a big role in any reached achievement. And believe me, sometimes I just Have To Get Over Myself 😂
Pushed by Fear
Perfectionists are pushed towards their goal with fear of failure as their motivation and anything less than perfect means just that. You can imagine how well that would work… The pressure…
I, on the other hand, will be pulled towards my goal, because of my – sometimes zealous – desire, to reach it and will be happy with every step that brings me closer to success. I mean, come on, be happy and maybe even a little proud, if you’re making progress of any kind, why won’t you?
The goals of a perfectionist aren’t even always humanly possible to reach, just beyond their limitations. I am not talking Uncomfortable here, I am talking Unhappy.
While I might set high goals, just a tad higher than I would feel comfortable with, just to challenge myself and make ‘the impossible’ possible, by stretching my limits just a little further than I did before and have fun doing it! Yeah, that definitely sounds like me… Why would you choose to always be in your comfort zone 😉
Focused on Results
Perfectionists are so set on reaching the perfect goal, they are often unable to enjoy the whole process of getting there, because the only thing they can think of is not reaching it, or not meeting – their own – expectations.
Whilst I would try to learn from every step and feel like I am actually chasing that goal. Getting there might actually be more fun than reaching the final destination. It’s like a road trip to my holiday destination, where the destination appears to be a disappointment and the trip itself was pure anticipation and joy. Anti-climax much?
Depressed by Unmet Goals
Easy going is not what any perfectionist would be called. They would beat themselves up when goals aren’t met and their negative feelings would fairly swallow them whole.
High achievers seem to bounce back more easily from disappointments and just get on with it. Overall more happy people. Hmm, think that’s me yeah.
Fear of Failure
Well this one seems obvious where perfectionists are concerned. They value reaching their goals above anything else, which would make their fear of Not Reaching It a force to reckon with. So afraid of failure, that procrastinating is a natural consequence: anything to prolong facing any possible failure.
I am not saying I enjoy failure, nor that I would never fear it. But what’s done is done and if I failed somehow, I would tell myself to just get over it – after a reasonable time of ‘mourning’ 😂 – and try to look at learning moments. Tough nut to crack and all that.
Well there you have it. Perfectionists are prone to it, since their fear of failure can actually freeze them up, unable to move, too afraid they will not succeed. The only way to make sure one would avoid failure is to not do anything at all… Or Is It.
I would put off things for sure, I mean, writing at least 1 article every week… This is what I laid upon myself hahah. Again, it was good to have a little break, this time I did not wait too long, but acted before it gotten out of hand. And though things sometimes might feel like failure, I know in my heart it’s not. It will only be a failure if I believe it to be, other than that, I can still make sure something good can come out of it. Setting goals has never been my forte anyways, so adjustments are easily made.
Perfectionists apparently don’t deal with criticism well. Being anything less than perfect just won’t do and afraid of failure, they will go on the defense with anyone who dares to comment. You have to understand: you’re not the enemy here, failure is.
Again, not gonna lie, nobody likes to be criticized, but when I am being honest to myself – after a reasonable time of cooling down 😅 – I will see it for what it is and try to learn from any mistakes and be better next time. Not saying it will happen soon…
Okay, this one is pretty serious. A high achiever tends to have an equally high self esteem. Unfortunately for the perfectionists, it’s quite the opposite. Their self criticism can be severe and lead to low self esteem. Even worse, it could also lead to isolation and loneliness, because their way of looking at things will eventually push other people away. We’ve all seen it happen at one point, it’s a sad story really. Especially, when they’re not aware of it, which they mostly aren’t.
When imperfection hits me / my work, yeah it might hurt, but I value myself enough, to know I am Not That Failure, it’s Not Who I Am.
My guess is, with all the above, approval seem to take a prominent place, whether I like it or not. It’s not that my life depends on it, nor do my decisions. But it can certainly be an influence for the better, when received, or for worse, when lacked. You see, the perfectionist seems to do well without any approval – since they’re the only ones judging and will only be satisfied when their idea of perfection is met, no matter what anybody else says.
The high achiever however, might thrive on approval. Not only by receiving it, but also by serving it to the people around them. In my opinion, they don’t act alone, they are the team players. And though I might be the one writing the articles, I am not alone in this. Without people around me who support me, I wouldn’t last long. I need them not only to cheer me on, but to also hold me back when I get too carried away.
That’s approval of the best kind, why? They Know Me. And though their approval does not always come in words, they make me aware, that I Got This, even without going bat crazy. They Got Me. Their Approval is in the way they care enough to tell me when things are good, but also when I go too far. Their Approval is in the way they reassure me: I Don’t Have to Lose Myself to see progress. A contradiction for sure, but I apparently need that in my life. You think I got that backwards? Fortunately I don’t need your approval on it 😉 because I Approve This Message.
Wishing y’all a Sparkling New Year’s Eve and we’ll meet again on the other side ❤