All of us have some people in our lives whose approval matters a lot. And this set of people who we want approval from doesn’t remain constant. Sometimes we want approval from our parents, sometimes sibling, sometimes spouse, sometimes boyfriend, sometimes friends and the list goes on. Lets call them the “approving people”. For the sake of “approving people” we go that extra mile, we do things to please them. Things that we aren’t comfortable doing, yet we do, to win the approval. We want to be in their book of liked people. We want to be in their social bubble.
In school, we do silly things to get approval from these “approving people”. Then as we grow older we do it more subtly. And perhaps some of us grow confident enough to not want approval from any people. But most of us have one such weak link, for whom we always want to bend backwards to win their approval, their trust and their love.
There will be enough people in our lives who love us but we will not value them as much as we value these “approving people” and their opinion of us.
Mrs N is been married for close to 30 years and has a decent life. But she is close to her India family and comes down to meet them at least twice in a year. And in the India family, she wants approval from her elder brother’s family. Lets refer N’s “approving people” as “Mrs A & Her Family”. Mrs A however is quite arrogant and pride filled. She is nice to N but thinks N is not good enough to qualify for her close, trusted group. But our N wants to belong to A’s group.
N showers A, her children, their spouses, grand children with so much care and concern, not only on India trips but also when she is in US. To win over A, N gives them frequent gifts, calls them everyday, plays with their kids even on video calls. N is extremely nice to A’s family even though A’s family is curt to her many times. And i am like, why are you doing this N… A’s children are the age of your children.. do not be a doormat for them .. keep your self respect intact.
Even if A’s family hides information or misleads N, N ignores these incidents and is at her loving best with A and her family. Behind their backs, N criticizes A, but when A and her family is around, N is all love and sugar.
I don’t understand this approach to life. If i was N, i would ignore A if she didn't value me. Or i would give her the cold treatment that A metes out to me. Or i would be nice to A and not bitch about A’s clan when they aren’t around.
I am new to both, N and A, so I just watch and analyse all this in my mind. I have wanted to tell N about not bending backwards so much for A’s approval, but N doesn’t see the point, so blinded is she by the need to win A’s approval.
Anyways, things were going on steady till this morning. In the morning, N got to know that A’s family is returning to Mumbai on Sunday. This information A didn’t share with N but with some other family member!! Now this really hurt N because .. because N and A talk on the phone for over an hour everyday and yet A didn’t feel it was necessary to tell N about the children returning back to Mumbai home.
I saw N really disturbed and sad. Her “approval people” had again let her down. How much more does she need to bend backwards to win A’s approval? What will make A include N in her trusted group?
Or may be N should just ignore A, let her realize the value of N. If A realizes the value, then great! else just move on…
What would you suggest N does?