It’s been a long difficult road for me getting to a place where I can receive criticism and praise without veering from one emotion to another, feeling rejected or “approved” of.
And in my work as an emotions therapist, I find others struggling with this as well in their own personal and professional lives.

Becky, the weather girl

Back in the day, just out of college with a journalism degree, I got my first job as a “TV weather girl” (god, am I dating myself – truly, that’s what they used to call women who presented the weather… there were weather men and weather girls!).

I was Becky back then with a different last name. I moved through various television stations eventually becoming a full-time reporter and news anchor.
The common thread through all on-air positions is that you hear from your viewers! Mostly they write you letters, which I always respected because it takes time and energy to do that. But it’s the bad with the good as only those viewers who are really motivated will take the time to do this.

So I want to share with you a few of the letters I got. Actually, I came across them as I was sifting through boxes and boxes clearing and packing for my move to Portugal. Honestly, I hadn’t looked at this “fan mail” in, literally, decades, so with a lot of emotional healing under my belt I saw this stuff through new eyes.

And what came up for me as I reviewed the old letters and memos were memories that flashed before me of the agony (yes, agony) from criticism leveled at me as well as the praise that felt good. Why I saved these I can’t say but they serve as defining points in my life when how people judged me was pivotal to how I felt at any given time.

Does this sound familiar?

I know this is painfully defining for so many others who live their lives based on “will they like me?” (meaning: “I need to work hard to earn others’ approval of me”) to the opposite end of the spectrum: “You’re amazing at what you do!” (meaning: “I can rest easy because I’m loved”).
What I remember about this struggle for approval-seeking is that it’s exhausting. What I’m sharing with you here are a few “love-hate letters” that caused me emotional turmoil: they hate me… they love me… they hate me, etc.

This kind of criticism fueled my already crippling self-doubt. I was desperate to be “seen” and acknowledged (á la my need for approval) but then I had to cope with the judgments. 

Even diplomatic “constructive criticism” would devastate me. This memo from my then-boss was a trigger that served to intensify my sense of unworthiness.

Oh say more! I could never get enough of this kind of reinforcement for my fragile emotional state.

Another memo from a then-boss who rightfully confronted my insensitivity toward others, which was obviously a by-product of my dysfunctional childhood. (I read this performance review now and simply cringe while reminding myself what an emotionally unhealthy human I was at that time).

What’s the answer to “do they hate me… do they love me?”

This emotional turmoil arises from shame (self-doubt), which is underpinned by trauma. The bottom line is that, somewhere along in childhood, love is withheld because parents/care givers sent the message that “you are only as good as how you live up to my expectations of you.” We call that conditional love.
It’s defined in countless ways. For me it was a domineering, alcoholic and abusive mother and a distant and absent father. A double whammy, if you will, where my mother could blow up at any time so I needed to be on perfect behavior and a derelict father who really could care less about me but as a little-girl-come-young-woman I was futilely convinced that I could earn his love.
A promo pic of me back in the day. Today, all these years later, I ache remembering the emotional turmoil that belied this young woman’s smile and poise. 
The trauma that emerges from challenging childhoods like this comes in many flavors, maybe you recognize yours? If you’ve done emotional spelunking (as we do in Emotional Liberation), you likely have uncovered your origin story of why you “avoid rejection and seek approval.” This revelation can offer rich insight into your on-going patterns of difficult emotions – so that you can at long last let them go and gain control of your inner world.
I wish you much success in your healing journey.
With Love,
P.S. Drop me a line below and let me know where you stand with what I’m saying. In the coming weeks I’ll be opening new courses that will support and guide you in your healing journey. If this is of interest I invite you to go here and put yourself on my interest list.