Several years ago, there was a blog titled Advanced Life Skills (which is no longer accessible). In one of its article, the concept of approval was discussed, and this particular phrase resonated with me:
There are certain core needs shared by every person on the planet. Some of these needs are physical such as food, water, and air. We also have emotional needs. Once our physical needs are met, filling our core emotional needs becomes our number one priority in life. The need for approval fits into this category. Whether we choose to acknowledge it or not, the desire for validation is one of the strongest motivating forces known to man.
Perhaps we’re experiencing so much turmoil in the world today because we’ve all lost sight of the virtue of humility. Everyone wants to be recognized because recognition means validation. For instance, even though the views of the candidates for elected offices continue to polarize the nation’s voters, there are people who support the extreme nature of their respective parties’ platforms, attitudes or messages, even though it goes against the common good of cooperation, moderation and decorum. The result is a widening gap fostering the alienation of most of the nation who remain in the middle and refuse to be extremists.
The same goes for sociological groups that want their views to be heard and their beliefs to be validated. Some choose violence, while some choose social media.
Where did this need for recognition take root? In our nation’s schools and as well as in the households where parents are members of Generation X. It’s the same mentality that says “Everyone gets a trophy.” Through our nation’s media, performers are recognized as “stars.” In our nation’s society, sports figures command multi-million dollar contracts. The more media attention one has, the more they can break the law because those accusations bring even more media attention. It’s more than a desire – it’s an obsession that’s taken root within the “Me” generation mindset.
Many of today’s first responders like firefighters, medical professionals and members of our nation’s military and law enforcement have been touted as the heroes of today, but yet, other organizations want to “defund” them. Back in the day, when sports figures like Roberto Clemente were called “heroes,” firefighters, medical professionals, and members of our military and police forces were the “unsung heroes.” They weren’t necessarily recognized with trophies, but knew what they were doing was important for the good of society. Many were humble about their accomplishments, and even avoided the spotlight.
Today, achievement in schools is celebrated; back in the day, it was simply expected.