Sunday, January 4, 2009

YOU ARE APPROVED ! Certified, Signed and Stamped by YOU !

The Seal of Approval is almost as coveted as the mysterious and elusive Holy Grail. Both are the result of Man’s quest for “Divinity by Proximity” because possessing either would mean raising of the mere mortal to the realms of the supreme spirit. From nothingness to everything, finite to infinite, inconsequential to undeniably intrinsic, banished to proclaimed, wastrel to apostle, rejected to celebrated !

Ah ! Rejection, the scourge of mortal mankind. For no man is an island, therefore he must relate to others and integrate with the rest of the world. Which in many ways translates to being accepted and approved by others in order to develop competence in the area of interpersonal relationships. Wrong !

All of us undeniably need to be appreciated, which is a positive stroke to our sense of being and doing. Dependency on this need in order to feel better about ourselves is a disorder of rationality and often an emotional overrun stemming from a whole spectrum of causes. Let’s take a look at some of them and see if we can figure a way to transcend these obstacles to a sense of self worth and equilibrium with the rest of the world.

We have been schooled to judge ourselves the ways others see us. Our education system itself unwittingly endorses this inequity, with our sense of competence and ability being judged by others in the close confines and constraints of an academic assessment of memory skills rather than processed thought, applied knowledge and competence to deliver. We ignore the multiple intelligences across which learning can be delivered and force-feed it in a manner which cannot possibly produce the best results. Those who “beat the system” by mastering the manipulation of clear process flaws, such as offered by almost any coaching or tutorial class, are approved, whilst the real student of learning can often be denied approval or competitive levels of the certification of competences , which have not really been tested.

Collective experiences of being undervalued across life often find origins in the shrouding of one’s capability in the advocated cloak of “humility” , a virtue we are told to hold dear by a generation of an old world , going into oblivion, as a guide to a new world they have barely experienced and an emerging world they could not possibly accept. Values and belief systems of a dated perception of reality, have contributed to our continued subscription to a single window of assessment of ourselves rather than a 360 degree multiple window assessment centre.

The overpowering need for approval from others has its roots in a deep scarring of a sense of self and an erosion of our deposits of self worth. Lack of approval or acceptance both direct and discreet is what we consider to be “rejection”. But how bad is rejection and what does it really mean to us ?

“I take rejection as someone blowing a bugle in my ear to wake me up and get going, rather than retreat.” Says the famous American actor Sylvester Stallone, true to his reel-life personas Rambo and Rocky Balboa

Rejection is a word we are plagued with because we have described it to ourselves as failure and we consider failure to be a destination rather than an event. To experience rejection is to experience failure – if viewed positively, this just means that somehow something we do, does not meet with what somebody expects or needs. It does not mean that we become useless or worthless. A one million dollar cheque given to a man too poor to have a bank account, does not make either the one million dollars less that what it is worth or the man poorer than he originally was. The inability to encash the cheque, simply suspends the delivery of wealth at that moment. It does not deny it. Self worth is the multi-million dollar potential we are all born with.

Each and every one of us is born priceless, and everyday we gain in value no matter what we do, simply because we are there to witness the day. We can deny the acceptance of the moment and embrace the rejection of those to come. Rejection at it’s worst is a judgement of the past, not of the future. And since the future holds all the wealth we want or desire, what prevents us from going forward ? A fall in the past ? If all our futures were pinned on the “sins’’ of the past, we would not survive childhood.

Karl Stern the noted German-Canadian neurologist and psychiatrist puts rejection into succinct perspective when he says “Psychoanalysis shows the human infant as the passive recipient of love, unable to bear hostility. Development is the learning to love actively and to bear rejection.”

So how do we get beyond the fear of rejection? Simple. Learn to love ourselves. Which means, learn to appreciate yourself, concentrating on reframing your focus from what’s wrong to what’s right in your life, approving of yourself wholeheartedly, celebrating who you are, remembering we are all Work in Progress and that Perfection is an endeavour, a journey. It is the journey that is significant, for the journey and not the pit-stops we make en-route, is the longest experience.

The next time you feel rejected, issue yourself a Certificate of Approval, signed and stamped by YOU! Encash your multi-million dollar future NOW!


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