Adventures in Caring Too MuchBook - 2016
Faith Salie has done it all in the name of validation. Whether she's trying to impress her parents with a perfect GPA, undergoing an exorcism to save her toxic marriage, or baking a 3D excavator cake for her son's birthday, Salie is the ultimate approval seeker--an "approval junkie, " if you will.
In this collection of daring, honest essays, Salie shares stories from her lifelong quest for gold stars, recounting her strategy for winning (very Southern) high school beauty pageant; her struggle to pick the perfect outfit to wear to her divorce; and her difficulty falling in love again, and then conceiving, in the years following her mother's death.
With thoughtful irreverence, Salie reflects on why she tries so hard to please others, and herself, highlighting a phenomenon that many people--especially women--experience at home and in the workplace. Equal parts laugh-out loud funny and poignant, Approval Junkie is one woman's journey to realizing that seeking approval from others is more than just getting them to like you--it's challenging yourself to achieve, and survive, more than you ever thought you could.
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Another thing ladies and gentlemen alike tend to do to prove how well they're listening is to interject "That happened to me too!" and then launch into a tale of our own experience. It took me over a decade to stop telling people, upon learning that they had lost a loved one, "Yeah, my mom died when I was twenty-six." We think we're building a bridge of sharing, but, most of the time, we're really putting up scaffolding over someone else's story and clambering all over it.
An approval junkie knows, "You can please some of the people all of the time and you can please all of the people some of the time, but you'd have to spend an awful lot of time figuring out what pleases the people, which is time you could be spending on getting your candy striper uniform altered so it fits more flatteringly." I mean, just for example. Ultimately, an approval junkie desires most to please her toughest critic, which is herself.
I am an approval junkie. When I told people the name of the book I was writing, some immediately smiled and said, "Great title." No questions asked; they got it. A few looked concerned and said, "Really? I wouldn't have thought that of you." At which point I put down the cake I was frosting for them while simultaneously breastfeeding my daughter and doing squats and explained that I'm not ashamed about wanting approval. It kept my high school GPA very high. It's kept my BMI somewhat low. It's kept me on my toes when I wasn't already wearing heels to elongate my legs.
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