“Acceptance: (noun) the act of accepting or the state of being accepted or acceptable; favorable reception; approval.” (World English Dictionary)
“Approval: (noun) A favorable opinion; commendation.” (World English Dictionary)
How many of us seek acceptance of the real us, the us we are sometimes afraid to show others? How many more want approval – from our bosses, our parents, our spouse, or our friends?
I think it’s a natural instinct to want to be approved of for what we do and accepted for who we are. Some of us settle for being accepted and approved of in whatever way we can, even if it means becoming someone we are not. Even more of us do such a good job of becoming who and what others want us to be that we forget who we really are.
I want to make my home a place of acceptance, and yes, approval, for all who enter, but most importantly for those that I’ve been blessed to call my family. I feel deeply that it is my duty, my calling as the mother, the heart of our home, to express that approval and acceptance of all my children equally. I’m not talking about approving of their actions or accepting the good job they did cleaning the house. I want to take it “to the next level.” I am not their boss or their teacher or their coach. I’m not even their best friend at this stage in their life. Their actions and their accomplishments are secondary to what’s really important to me. I’m invested in their emotional wellbeing – their heart.
I’m talking about a deep desire for my children to know that they are accepted and approved of just for being themselves. That there isn’t anything they need to do to make me accept them, there isn’t anything they can do for me to approve of them – they are just accepted and approved of because they had the privilege of being born. I want to be that soft place for them to land and that gentle reassurance that they are special and unique. I never want them to doubt that God created them just the way they are for a purpose, for a reason, for a specific goal.
That is easier said than done sometimes. Will I fail at that job? Absolutely and I have, more times that I care to admit. I fail to notice their seeking approval in many ways: Sometimes brushing it off or other times mistaking it as a way to manipulate the situation. This usually occurs when I tired, stressed, distracted, busy, or overwhelmed, focusing too much on my own needs or issues. My prayer is that when this happens, I will first of all, quickly realize that I need to step up my game and second, make the corrections needed in my own life so that I can again create the right atmosphere in our home.
I might have focused on my children, but I think it’s just as important to carry that approval and acceptance over to my spouse, my extended family, and my friends. Everyone will benefit from the gift of approval and acceptance with no strings attached.
Are you creating an environment that is accepting and approving of the loved ones in your life or do you need to “take it to the next level?” Let’s hold each other accountable in this area.