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I generally wouldn’t define myself as a needy person, but why do I feel the constant need for some form of gratification throughout the day?   I’ve noticed lately that I am quick to apologize and even quicker to offer some form of explanation for an error made along the way.  I’ve noticed it more as I explore new realms of parenting this year, along with the obstacles and challenges that are a natural part of acclimating to a new job.  I create mental checklists that always find a way of being recorded on paper in order to feel some sort of accomplishment as items are checked off.  Typically, the checklist begins with at least 20 items, and naturally, it grows over the course of the day.  Then, I feel disgruntled and dissatisfied when  the end of the day arrives and the checklist still exists with maybe 6 items crossed off and an added 12 items listed.  At that point, the need for some affirmation of the progress I’ve made or the recognition I crave for the success in the items accomplished is overwhelming…and often disregarded.

I’ve come to terms with the fact that I am searching for the praise and validation I need in all the wrong places.  For some reason, I fault my own self worth rather than looking in the mirror and smiling back at the person who just scheduled three meetings, rescheduled two meetings, accessed student files to verify schedules and service delivery, sent invitations, communicated meetings dates effectively to all parties involved, absorbed the tension from one parent and two teachers and three students all within a 50 minute interval, contacted the social worker about a student with extremely irregular attendance, and held a productive two hour meeting while prepping for an overview of EC process for a faculty meeting while saying goodbye to a coworker who took another position.  Why can’t I look at that person and say “Good job”?  Why is it so difficult to find confidence in the natural skills that surface without effort?  Why am I so thirsty for thanks?

November is the month of Thanksgiving, and I love the social media forum of Facebook that allows me to post daily messages of thanksgiving for the random things or people that I am beyond blessed to have in my life.  I realize as I am doing this that there is an element of thankfulness that will never be fully quenched by anything or anyone.  I am slowly realizing that this seemingly unquenchable desire comes from within, and there is a spiritual element that coincides.  I am learning through the eyes of my daughter’s that there are more appropriate and valid ways to access the appreciation that I feel should come in verbal praise from some form of authority.  In the past, I can’t tell you who or what promoted certain people to have that level of authority.  However, I can tell you that currently, that level of authority is starting to reside in the most unexpected placed.  My daughter’s smile…my husband squeezing my hand…my mom hugging me in welcome and in farewell…my brother asking me an actual question (rather than engaging in witty banter that is our typical form of communication)…the quiet silence that is found in the presence of an old friend…the understanding and supportive exchanges found between sister-in-laws and newfound friends…the quiet sanctitude found in my childhood church.

My desire is to seek my self-worth in more appropriate places.  I’m tired of confining my definition of personal value to the realms of my work desk and the four walls that surround it.  I love what I do, and some days are harder than others, and I will never once say it’s not worth it…and I will never again say that it is the only definition of who I am.  My value, my self-worth, and my character are defined by the ones I hold close, and eventually, that person in the mirror will be able to smile back in return and say “Good job”.  And that will be enough.

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