Wow – I finally dropped back in to check this blog, and found a load of lovely comments! It’s great to know that people have been visiting even though I haven’t been :)

It has been less than a year since my last blog update, but so much has changed that I feel light-years away from that time. I will – hopefully – write about some of these changes over the coming months.

The changes were radical enough to necessitate a temporary but almost all-encompassing reduction of all the extras which were crowding our lives. It has only been recently that we have been able to come up for air (so to speak).

This has brought into sharp focus some of the attitudes and mindsets that have weighed us (and especially me) down through the years.

One of those is that I am, essentially, an approval addict. “WHAT WOULD PEOPLE THINK?” drives 90% of my decision-making.

To illustrate. This week, we started planning our son’s birthday party. I had been putting off planning it for ages. I love my kids to bits, but feel seriously stressed out organising their birthday parties.

I obsess over:
– who to invite (would they want to be invited? would they feel offended if we did not invite them?),
– where to have it (if it’s at home, I would feel totally embarrassed by the mess, if it’s somewhere else, it has to be not too pretentious so people don’t think I’m stuck up, and it has to be somewhere that will take the number of kids my son wants to invite – he doesn’t want ten kids, and most places demand at least ten kids, which again goes back to the question of who to invite. Worst case, I can do what I did one year, and PAY for ten kids, regardless of how many I invite – which would blow our much-needed cash – besides making me look totally pretentious again)
– what food to provide (not too bad an issue until the last couple of days before the party), and
– what party-favours to organise (they need to be nice enough but not too nice to be pretentious).

My stomach’s churning, my heart’s pumping, and I just want to crawl into bed and wake up after the party is over.

Occasions like these freak me out – and consequently cause stress to the rest of the family – for many weeks ahead of time. This is crazy, as I actually love having people over – except that I feel intimidated by them, and have a deep, almost immovable need to gain their approval. Go figure. Almost like a love-hate relationship.

There are many other reasons why I know that I am an approval addict. That’s for another post.

I am unsure about the precise roots of this in my life. My being a Third Culture Kid may be a contributing factor, though interestingly others in my family who are not TCKs also appear to exhibit the same symptoms of approval addiction. I know that it is bound up in my TCK’edness in that when I move into any new cultural context, I work very hard at gaining the approval of those already in that context – generally by trying to emulate them as much as possible.

This often leaves me wondering who the real me is.

My deep desire is that I get to know God and His view of me to such an extent that my need for the approval of others simply fades into insignificance.

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