I mentioned last week that one of the main goals of referees is to ruin our lives, or words to that effect. See? I may have let a recent negative event/emotion tap into a childhood hurt and make it something it probably isn’t (I’m quite sure that only 40% of referees that do my matches are actually out to make my life more difficult).
One of those previous hurts for me was during a farm league (4th and 5th grade) baseball game. I was on a good team that was playing the other good team. I came sliding into home plate with the potentially tying run. I was called out and the game was over. Inasmuch that I never actually got all the way to home plate (about two inches short) I do suppose that the call was a good one.
At that point, I remember the first thing that came into my mind was “I hope that no one in my family finds out about this.” I think my mom and perhaps my grandfather were there but that was it, dad was out of town and my 4 brothers and sister were doing something else. I was afraid of what they all might say and think. I was afraid of being made fun of for not even getting to home plate. I had made the last out and it was my fault that we lost. I was so embarrassed.
Acceptance. I needed to be accepted despite my poor performance. I needed to be loved despite my shortcomings. That is the basic definition of acceptance (today’s emotional/relational need). Being loved despite having done something wrong or falling short in some way. Whereas our post last week focused on Approval/Blessing which is to be loved FOR your place in someone else’s life. Acceptance is to be loved DESPITE shortcomings or faults/mistakes.
If you see the world, or at least your world, as very black and white, right or wrong, my way or the high way, you probably didn’t get a lot of acceptance as a child. There is no grey area in your world because there wasn’t much for you as a child. If you didn’t measure up, you were told and it wasn’t…wait for it, acceptable. You now carry that on today.
You may also be familiar with or suffer from “Performance Pressure.” Whenever you do something you feel like that HAVE to do/be the best. Getting a “B” on a test is not acceptable. Being in the top 25% is failure, top 5% is barely acceptable. If you can’t do something great, it isn’t even entertained let alone done. You my friend, have a high need for Acceptance. Neglected as a child? Held to a super high standard? Snubbed when you fell short of a goal/expectations? You very well may have a high need for Acceptance.
Notice I said, “You very well may have…” in that last sentence. One of the more interesting if not maddening things about emotional/relational needs is the varying degree we have in the desire for a need not met in childhood. One person who didn’t get a lot (or any) of an emotional/relational need met as a child may have a huge need for it as an adult. Another person equally neglected in the same need may have no desire at all to have that need met as an adult. Yet to further complicate things, you may have had a TON of acceptance as a child, “Oh, you set the school on fire honey? That’s ok, mommy loves you. I”ll bet you set the best fire they’ve ever seen.” may also have a high need for it as an adult.
It’s not so much my desire to tell you if you have these needs but to help you identify what they are and how they affect your life. Acceptance isn’t complicated (once differentiated from Approval) but is just as important as any other.