Monday, August 11, 2014

The Applause You Need and Why It May Be Wrecking Your Life

“I live for the applause, applause, applause…”
                                -Lady Gaga

She’s right you know.

We all live for the applause. It may not be the applause of 50,000 screaming fans in a packed out stadium, but we live for it nonetheless. You may be more comfortable calling it “praise” or “affirmation”, whatever it is, we are all wired to crave it. You may look for affirmation from your boss, your spouse, or even your kids. Your hunger for applause may be why you work 80 hours a week, bought that new car, or never speak your mind. We all want to know that we are doing a good job, and that our efforts matter to the people that we care about or look up to. Our hunger to be noticed isn’t unhealthy, but what we do with that hunger could be.  Here’s a couple of questions to consider:

Do I let the need for applause affect how I make decisions?

Applause and affirmation from people whose opinions we value is a great encouragement. When pleasing others becomes my goal, however, I'm on thin ice. When the need to be noticed drives how I make my decisions, I lose myself. I no longer make decisions based on my values and direction in life, but instead just sway to whatever I think will get me noticed or a pat on the back. Some people will use their love, attention, and applause to control others. If your need for affirmation drives your decisions, you will be one of the people they control!

When no one is applauding me, do I assume I must be failing or inadequate?

This one is so tough! Everyone has been here, whether we would like to admit it or not. It’s so easy to doubt yourself when you are not getting feedback.  Healthy homes and workplaces offer feedback and will take time to give encouragement when needed. It's important to remember, however, that every boss, spouse, and friend, even when they are healthy can get distracted or pre-occupied. When the feedback and applause stops, for whatever reason, you have to be able to honestly evaluate yourself. You have to know that you are a good person, and that you are doing a good job. Even if your performance is down, you need to be able to see your value clearly. Once you begin to doubt your worth, you are on very shaky ground!

When God finished creating the world and it’s people, He stepped back for a second to applaud, (“it is good” – Genesis 1:31). God sees your value and loves you deeply. I hope that there are those around you who also see that value, but more than anything else, I hope that you are able to agree with God today and know that you matter and are incredibly valuable!

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