Sunday, September 25, 2011


You know that unsettling feeling. You are standing at the cash register. You just swiped your debit or credit card. You have typed in the magic code. You are waiting. Waiting... waiting... almost there... Approved!

If ever you want to experience acceptance, do this. In a topsy-turvy economy where people are losing their jobs, homes, and minds, an approval rating can do wonders for serotonin levels and self-esteem.

A clever friend of mine recently told me that it is better to work from a surplus than a deficit. That helped to put the approval rating into perspective. To one operating from a surplus, an approval rating confirms what he already knows. This describes the grounded person who exhibits quiet calm, minds his own business, and experiences little emotional stress "one way or the other."

To one operating from a deficit, an approval rating is essentially all he has to rely upon. He constantly needs the affirmation of others to tell him that he is good enough or smart enough or that everything will be OK. That he is acceptable and accepted. I am not criticizing one or the other (I think it fair to say that we experience cycles of both). It is just a helpful rule to keep in mind to understand why you might be feeling exceptionally confident or why you might feel that you are in a season of minimizing contact with the world.

You are more vulnerable when you want so badly to be in the club that you might do things conscience wouldn't dictate under normal circumstances. And you are less vulnerable when rituals or rites of inclusion do not alter your core values one way or the other. 

Which reminds me of some great advice I heard in a movie once. Don't drink to be happy. Drink to be happier. And if it makes any difference, whoever reads this has my great big stamp of approval.

Welcome to the club!

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