I recently heard Seth Godin talking about reassurance, and his point was – if you’re looking for reassurance, there will never be enough. That really struck a chord with me and I’ve been thinking about it a lot since then.
The craving to be part of the “in crowd” in middle school is one of the first symptoms of this quixotic quest for reassurance. Rosalind Wiseman wrote the book that the movie Mean Girls was based on. I had heard of the movie but had never seen it or thought much about it until she spoke in our community recently. She has a newer book about boys that I’ve been reading and one of the things she talks about it is – even the kids in the popular crowd are stressed about maintaining their status. I think this is a perfect example of what Seth is saying. These kids are looking for reassurance from their status, but even the ones who have made it to the pinnacle of the social hierarchy aren’t “quenched”. There’s never enough reassurance.
This need (addiction might be a better word) for reassurance doesn’t go away as we grow older. I seem to have a hard time saying “No” when asked to help with things. If I honestly assess what’s happening in those situations, I think there’s a subconcious fear of “them” withholding approval (approval is reassuring) and since we crave reassurance – I need the approval. I can tell you from experience – there’s never enough approval either.
What’s great about this is – as soon as you recognize what’s going on and the futility of it, you are free to stop seeking reassurance and to get on with the business at hand.
No more tilting at the windmill of Reassurance!