"The feeling of being accepted by someone we love is a basic human need. Being accepted by good people motivates us. It increases our sense of self-worth and self-confidence. Those who cannot find acceptance from desirable sources often seek it elsewhere. They may look to people who are not interested in their well-being. They may attach themselves to false friends and do questionable things to try to receive the acknowledgment they are seeking. They may seek acceptance by wearing a particular brand of clothing to generate a feeling of belonging or status. For some, striving for a role or a position of prominence can also be a way of seeking acceptance. They may define their worth by a position they hold or status they obtain."
Nothing could be more far from the truth. The first people we all seek approval from is our parents. Even when we differ in our method, opinions or interests we continue to seek the approval of parents and family members. I think this is an example of the wisdom of our Father in Heaven. Family units are His unit, His organisation, designed to help us feel Him and remember His unconditional love for us. What we do in our earthly families should reflect our heavenly family. Thus, seeking our earthly family's approval mirrors seeking our Father in Heaven's approval for us as individuals.
As we get older we branch out. We seek the approval of friends and peers. We seek out people with similar interests. We seek to belong.
Now I have never read the book about love languages. I just try to observe what ways the people who are important to me feel loved the most... and then I do my best to to that action, even if it isn't my style.
Sadly, I often feel criticized for how I choose to show love to people who are difficult. I often feel judged for how I choose to teach others, especially my children. I often feel the disapproving eye of those, even those who are close to me, as I choose to interact with those that have made choices that are not in line with my core values.
Yet, I feel peace. I was taught to pray about my problems and that God would inspire me how to handle them. I was taught that answers will come. I was taught that answers are found in the scriptures.
I may feel sad that many don't understand what I choose to do. I may feel lonely on my journey. Yet I feel peace because I know that I have received answers and I am doing my best to follow the promptings of the Spirit.
I am far from the best parent in the world, but I give it my best shot. That shot includes honoring agency, even when the choices sting. That shot includes serving, even if it appears I am a door mat. That shot includes avoiding contention.
This talked help me put me feelings into perspective. As I seek the Lords approval I will feel the Spirit more strongly in my life and I will be guided as to what actions I need to take to guide my children and those around me to seek the Lord as well.
The key to return to seeking the approval of the Lord.
"Alma counseled his son Helaman, “See that ye look to God and live.”1 The ultimate source of empowerment and lasting acceptance is our Heavenly Father and His Son, Jesus Christ. They know us. They love us. They do not accept us because of our title or position. They do not look at our status. They look into our hearts. They accept us for who we are and what we are striving to become. Seeking and receiving acceptance from Them will always lift and encourage us."
I take great peace in the examples of loving parents that are found in the scriptures.
Lehi never kicked Laman and Lemuel out of the camp... even when they were rude... when they were selfish.... when they only wanted their FATHER'S money and weren't willing to work for their own means... even when they were terrible to their younger siblings. Lehi continued to believe in them. Lehi continued to teach and to counsel them. Nephi and Sam demonstrated the teaching of their parents as they forgave their brothers Lehi continued to INVITE. Lehi continued to INCLUDE. Lehi continued Love. His love trickled down to other family members and generations later they were still inviting, including, and loving those family members that had left.
Alma the older also followed this pattern. Let's face it. Alma the Younger made life hard for his parents. I imagine that he was a stinker! I imagine that he was rude and disrespectful and lazy. That did not stop his father from praying for him. That did not stop the teaching and the loving.
"When you are in the service of your fellow beings ye are only in the service of your God."
See... I choose to do what I do because I know that service is the way to reach my heart as well as the hearts of the people I love. Just because I serve does not mean I did not teach. In serving I am hoping to teach a greater lesson.
"Seeking and receiving the acceptance of the Lord will lead to the knowledge that we are chosen and blessed by Him. We will gain increased confidence that He will lead us and direct us for good. His tender mercies will become evident in our hearts, in our lives, and in our families."
I love that promise. My family needs the blessings!