Tuesday, June 8, 2010

I need a gold star! Do you?


image For the past few days I have had this post floating around my head. It really touches home for me, which is why it was not something I could post immediately. I had to think about my feelings and mull it around in my head to accept that my feelings may be shared by other people.

So here goes … (insert several deep breaths here)

I long for acceptance and approval all day long and every single day of the year. On holidays this feeling is only amplified by a million.

When I wake up in the morning I long for someone to tell me that I look nice or that the outfit I have chosen for the day is a good choice.

For birthdays and holidays I check and double check from everyone who would listen that the present I choose was the best choice possible.

Since I have been back at work I secretly (not so secretly anymore) enjoy the comments from my co-workers that I am the only one that can perform a certain task.

Now that I am back in school I hang my “A” papers on the fridge and when I was asked to join Kappa Delta Pi (the International Education Honors Society) I planned my future role as the President.

I want everyone to see that I am doing a great job and I look for the gold star recognition.

Everything I do I look for my gold star of approval. To be honest it is e-x-h-a-u-s-t-i-n-g!!

When I clean out a kitchen cabinet, I ask Dan to look at it, and then I wait for him to tell me that I did a good job.

Why am I like this?

Until recently I didn’t even realize that I have this problem. I actually discovered my less than desirable motive by reading the book The Happiness Project; Or Why I Spent a Year Trying to Sing in the Morning, Clean My Closets, Fight Right, Read Aristotle, and Generally Have More Fun by Gretchen Rubin.

In Gretchen’s book she admits to this behavior as well. Gretchen says, “I nagged Jamie [her husband] to give me more praise. I realized that what I really wanted – even more than help – was for Jamie to say something such as ‘Wow, the photograph of the girls is terrific! You’re doing a great job with these Valentine’s cards!’ I wanted that gold star stuck to my homework. Why did I have such a need for gold stars? Was it vanity that needed to be stoked? Was it insecurity that needed to be soothed? Whatever the reason, I knew I should get over my need for Jamie to applaud the nice things I did, and, even more, I should get over my need for Jamie even to notice the nice things I did.”

Reading those words were like a slap to the face. Then after the initial stung disappeared and I let Gretchen’s words sink in, I knew that my need for a gold star was that my insecurity needed to be soothed. Every time someone complimented me I felt like the brick wall that held all of my insecurities began to crumble. In actuality my gold star approvals added more bricks to my wall.

In past posts you may (or may not) have discovered that I cannot make my own decisions. Large decisions, small decisions, insignificant decisions, and elephant size decisions all need to be discussed and analyzed by everyone I know. Everyone I know never comes to the same conclusion and in reality no decision is ever made by me it just seems to happen to me by my inactivity of each decision. (That was a mouthful and I am hoping it makes sense)

I am still trying to analyze my need for the gold stars. The more I analyze the more deep the roots go. I am not sure I will ever get to the root of my problem but I hope that I can overcome this need forever.

I am sure that I feel this way because I am a perfectionist, a control freak, a confrontation avoider, and a failure fearing person. But I do want to change. I want to be in charge of giving myself my own gold stars. I work hard everyday to be the best mother, girlfriend, daughter, friend, grand daughter, niece, cousin, and student possible and just be attempting to good by everyone I already deserve a gold star.

Do you tend to need a gold star? I look forward to hearing all thoughts and ideas on the subject.


  1. Oohh...that was convicting: "My need for a gold star was that my insecurity needed to be soothed."

    I was just thinking about this very thing today, about my need for approval, my perfectionism, and how, sometimes, just "being me" isn't enough (for me, that is). I realized that, for me, it's a pride issue. To think that I can even BE perfect, or that I should be somebody other than myself, is just prideful. God made me, He loves me, and I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.

    This was a great, thoughtful post! And thanks for stopping by my blog! Cheers!


  2. That is such an interesting way to look at it and I had never really thought about it before! I think I am that way a lot too. I think that's one reason I miss my Mom SO much, because she was always my cheerleader, always making me feel I had made the right decision, always supporting and encouraging. I think I just got so used to having her support that I didn't even realize how much it meant to me until I no longer had it. I am a perfectionist and fear failure too and I have alot of anxiety because of that. Thanks for sharing this.


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