I don’t know what caused it, but I have a significant character flaw in craving approval or, conversely, avoiding disapproval. Example – yesterday after a Wednesday yoga class, I was visiting with one of my favorite yoga instructors, Melissa Burns, and as I was walking away she said, “I’ll see you tomorrow.” Her statement was based on the fact that I regularly participated in her uber-challenging hot-vinyasa practice on Thursday. I responded, “You bet,” even though I had already decided that I was going to take an alternative, easier yoga class on Thursday – Dhyana’s slow-burn class.
Why did I do that? I did it because I didn’t want Melissa to think that I was rejecting her class in favor of Dhyana’s, even though I was. Then when Thursday rolled around, I tried to please both yogis by attending back-to-back classes, but was unable to pull it off because Melissa’s killer class left me completely drained. As I dragged myself out of the yoga studio following Melissa’s class, Dhyana was walking in.
This character flaw of mine would be bad enough if it were limited to situations like choosing a yoga class. Unfortunately, it has more significant ramifications. Probably the most significant is that it causes me to communicate inaccurately with others. Instead of communicating the unvarnished truth, I often distort the truth into something that the listener wants to hear, especially when the truth will cause the listener to think less of me.
I’ve searched the internet and haven’t found a consensus about what causes individuals to act like I do. The TV psychologists often point to a disconnect between the love of a parent and child, but that doesn’t resonate with my personal recollection of growing up. In any event, I think I’m getting better with this problem as I grow older, but I’m still clearly a work in progress.