I’ve been revisiting Gretchen Rubin’s “The Happiness Project” over the last few days and her own revelation about the need for praise has really resonated with me. Rubin asks “Why do I have such a need for gold stars? Was it vanity that needed to be stoked? Was it insecurity that needed to be soothed?” and concludes “Whatever the reason, I should get over my need (for her husband)…to applaud the nice things I did, and even more…to notice the nice things I did.”
It seems to me that we’re taught to want to earn gold stars. From school days to the work force, we set out to accomplish things so to be recognized either in the form of good grades, a promotion, or a bigger paycheck.
When I analyze my current day-in-and-day-out I can’t help but look at the things I want to be acknowledged for. Here’s my list:
– a clutter free and tidy house
– a clean and well-mannered child
– a tidy and well-maintained yard
– the meals I’ve prepared
– and about a dozen or so other little things
I want to earn a gold star for my housecleaning and domestic responsibilities. I want to earn a gold star for how wonderful my child is. I want to earn a gold star for the other little things I do, whether it be holiday decorating or picking up dog poop.
What if I stopped looking for acknowledgement from others? What if instead, I acknowledged myself? Why not congratulate myself, “Wendy, you slayed that laundry pile that’s been haunting you for weeks! Great job, woot-woot!”
Or what if I actually made a gold star board for myself? Literally starring the tasks I’ve completed. Will this give me satisfaction? Strangely, I think it might.
Do you feel the need to be recongnized for what you do day-to-day, especially if you are a stay-at-home-parent?
How do you earn your gold stars?