I often find myself reacting to disapproval or even to words that I interpret as disapproval. In the workshops, Dr. Bob often talked about “personal taste”. Some things we like–some people we like. It has nothing to do with whether the thing or the person is “bad” or “good”.
It is simply my “personal taste” which is actually of value. Can you imagine what would happen if every man liked only one kind of woman?
But aside from that, I often wondered what I could say when someone disapproves. The urge to defend and explain seems to elevate into who’s “right” and who’s “wrong” and possibly a big argument and hurt feelings. If I see myself as having done what I did as right or proper or as the only thing I could at the moment with what light I have, there’s no need to defend or explain. We each are doing our best with what light we have.
But my next question was—well, where can I go from there? Below are several statements that John found on the website that one can experiment with. I found it hard to use these statements in the beginning as vanity said I “wasn’t being true to myself”. Ha, so much for that. I can be peaceful inside anyway. John explored the website and found more about the situation of experiencing wanting approval and escaping disapproval.
I’ve been looking at the teaching about “taste” and particularly like the experiment you suggest when confronted with someone’s disapproval by saying:
“Thanks for reminding me.”
“Thanks for pointing that out to me.”
“You may be right about that.”
“Oh, you could say that.”
“I’ll consider it.”
“Let me look at that—I’ll spend some time with that—thank you.”
I’m a sucker for approval. I think it says something about me! What might one say when receiving approval? My conditioning would be to deny or play down the approval with false modesty which seems anti-agape. So it would seem that accepting approval would be in order; not because it says anything about me, but because the other person is expressing their taste which they think is right, proper and justified at that moment. So just a simple, “Thanks” would seem in order. The next moment they might just as easily express disapproval of me.
Interesting…. Thanks for the experiment. As Bob said, “Nobody can tell you one thing in the world about you because there’s nobody in that skin but you.”