Our need for approval and reinforcement

Every four years the olympics take place and usually new records are set. This could mean that athletes today are better than athletes twenty, fifty and hundred years ago.
But I don’t think so.

For the most part, new records lie within a narrow range over the previous records. Very early on, an aspiring athlete wishes to know the present record for their respective field. But why? Why should it even be important? Isn’t an athlete supposed to be the best that they can?

An athlete is indeed suppose to be he best that they can, BUT, they don’t know what that actually is. When they are given a number (the present record), they have a goal. Without such number, they don’t have a goal. But this goal is a double edge sword. It may help an athlete be better than they may be at the present, but at the same time it doesn’t allow them to be the best that they can be. That’s because in their mind, they subconsciously think that they may be able to break the record just a little. To most of them, the thought that they could create a record that is leaps farther than the present one, is not realistic. If the present record is timed at 2:45.77, many athletes would be inclined to think realistically that they can pass that by less than a second, or perhaps a second. Being able to achieve a time that’s five seconds faster, will be dismissed as daydreaming.

In other words, not having faith in a reality that is infinite and beyond what’s currently known, they choose to create an artificial limitation.

This profound life approach is not limited to athletes. We all seek the “middle way”, “safety zone”, that which is right; to do, to say, to think. We don’t give free reign to our originality – we are afraid that it may not be acceptable. We choke ourselves. Whatever we think, whatever we’re about to do or to say, we first look around to see what other people do, think and say. Then we adjust our original intention, so that it is acceptable, at least to some degree. As long as there’s somebody else who resonates with our thought or idea, we feel safe and protected, even if we are attacked by others. The thought of being attacked by everyone is one that is strong enough to change us into something that is lesser than are own truth.

But what about our truly original concepts, those that we will never be able to find around us?
Could you imagine today a world without personal computers? What would have happened if Steve Jobs, when he first had this idea, looked around and then said to himself: “Well, I don’t see anyone thinking about this. That’s probably not a good time for me to do anything about it”. Well, you wouldn’t know about him today, had that happened.

What about Orville and Wilbur Wright? Had they been thinking along this path, somebody else may have invented the airplane, or, we may have never had one.

Thought is very powerful and we would be wise to not underestimate its power – both constructive and destructive. Unfortunately, we live in a reality where thought is more often used destructively than constructively, particularly in self-destructive ways. We are so used to it that we are not even aware most of the time that we do.
Examples: complaining, becoming angry, gossiping, being closed to new ideas, criticizing others, worrying, expectations / disappointments, jealousy, retaliation, cynicism, arrogance, shame, doubt, guilt, selfishness, resentfulness, blame, discrimination, impatience . . .
These are all approaches that are like a game of ping-pong between the thought and the emotion, each reinforcing the other negatively and things spiral out of control.

Only through awareness we can make the switch and move to the constructive side of the spectrum. And only by stopping, can we discover awareness.

There’s nobody in the whole entire world that is the same as you. You are special and unique. You are one and only. Remember this every day. You are here to change the world, or you wouldn’t be here in the first place. By changing the world, I don’t mean that everyone is going to be the president or a celebrity. But if you approach a sobbing child, listen to him or her, and change their attitude from desperate and negative, to hopeful and positive, that child may actually become a president, and you were pivotal in setting their course. You changed the world, even if nobody knows about it – not even you.

The next time you look around to seek somebody else’s approval, ask yourself these simple questions: Is the other person the same as I? Are the things that are right for them, will necessarily be right for me as well? What am I afraid of?

Find your own way and be blessed.

Oded Ben-Ami

Oded Ben-Ami is a mystic, Chi-Gong teacher, mentor, writer, and musician. He dedicates his time to the exploration of the non-physical realm, its effect on our physical world and the means by which it can be affected by the mind

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  1. Oh it is so good to be alive – to dream – to hope – to love and be loved. I know what it is to suffer pain of loss – pain of heartache – pain of letting go of what once was! Yet I am still here, breathing and writing words that push hard to take their turn. Now when I still can give voice to the unseen deep within me. Colors that paint themselves in the people I encounter – yes they are as much in technicolor as Dorothy’s world in the “Wizard of Oz.” This golden flow of life coursing through me – such a precious gift given me to enjoy until the moment comes I am to be no more – then another soul will take my place and continue my dance of life. And so all around – I see, I feel, I am one with this magnificent world!!! How wonderful to know appreciation and gratefulness – for nothing else can make my upside down world spring back to right side up as magically as they do for me. by: Mary Lou Rodriguez Samaha.

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