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Needing Approval More Than Advice

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  • Mark Sedrak
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    Message 1 of 1 , Jan 31, 2008
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      Needing Approval More Than Advice

      By: Michael Josephson

      No matter what Gary did, it was never enough to please his father. When he got seven A’s and three B’s, his dad asked about the B’s. When Gary told him about a wonderful girl he’d fallen in love with, he got a lecture cautioning that she may turn out to be different than he thought.

      Gary ’s dad was stunned and hurt when Gary took a job in another town. He tried to talk him out of it, explaining the advantages of being close to family and the pitfalls of moving.

      Finally, Gary exploded. "Dad, I’m moving to get away from you! I love you, but I can’t stand the way you tear down everything I do."

      He braced himself for a counterattack, but for the first time in his life he saw his father’s mask of confidence dissolve into vulnerability.

      "All I ever wanted to do was make you better and help you reach your potential and avoid risks,” his dad stammered with tears in his eyes. “It’s what I do. It’s why my business has been so successful. Do you want me to ignore my experience and just be a cheerleader?"

      "Dad," Gary replied, "our relationship isn’t about productivity. You’re my dad. Sometimes I need praise more than I need a push and approval more than I need advice. Constantly trying to make me better just makes me feel worse. It’s not enough that you love me. I need you to appreciate me."

      It’s an important lesson. In personal relationships, there may be benefits to the relentless pursuit of better, but the cost may be too high.

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