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Monday, November 3, 2008

A Stamp of Approval


Newsweek has a fascinating article on Bush's response to his ever plummeting approval rating (which many say is now under 25%). The article explains how those close to Bush say that he has handled the dislike for his administration with balance and poise. I am not certain how to receive that. Does President Bush really have enough resolve or confidence in his decisions so that the nation's approval does not matter? Or does he simply brush it off knowing no matter what he does there would be pros and cons? I am not certain, but I cannot imagine that his "I'm rubber, you're glue" disposition is honest.

Everyone has a need for approval.

For whatever reason I have had a greater sense of this recently. I have seen it in myself and in others. I have a growing sense that humanity is constantly working to receive approval from someone or something. Our motives for love, appreciation, and reward consume us.

It starts when we are young. We are told throughout our youth "to be good". We are shown that if we eat all of our food we get dessert. We are told if we get straight A's we will get to watch an entire evening of GUTS, Wild and Crazy Kids, and What Would You Do. From there we join teams, go to colleges, and take jobs with the approval of others in mind. In some ways we are raised to live our lives seeking approval.

While I do not believe that living for reward is inherently evil, too many times we abandon our character in order to appease our own motives. When we operate out of these motives for approval our character deteriorates. We no longer consider how our actions can positively impact others but only how our actions will satisfy our need for approval.

I will not end this with Christian cliche (because its cliche does not make it any less true) saying that God approves of us regardless of our actions. Rather a simple question to all who struggle with this as I do. Who are we trying to please and can they truly give us the kind of value that will erase our desire for approval?

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