Our Need to Impress

March 25, 2023 by Charlie Hedges − 0 Comments

Who enjoys tranquility? The one who doesn’t take seriously either praise or the lack of it from other people.” Thomas a Kempis (Lifted from Bill Britton)

I was taught by a psychologist that each of us desires three essential things that supply us with a sense of worthiness: (1) To be heard, (2) To be cared about, and (3) to belong to something significant. I have thought of these three elements for decades and they never fail to offer insight and personal direction.

“Practicalized” Love

Perhaps this was my psychologist’s attempt to “practicalize” love. Just as in a previous post I offered up Kindness as a key component for giving love, today I am suggesting three needs each person possesses in order to “feel love.”

All too often, many of us feel that we are not worthy to be loved. Insecurity, driven by ruthless self-recrimination, drives us to try and demonstrate our worthiness to others. Ergo, Our Need to Impress.

Being Authentic to Yourself

I agree with Fr Richard Rohr from his book Falling Upward that our need to impress is (or should be) a phase in the first half of life. This is the time of life we devote to building ourselves up so that we might become the fullest version of what my friend Terry Hershey frequently refers to as our “authentic self”—commiserate with who we are built to be by creation and life’s experiences.

Unfortunately, life in our competitive and comparative society does not allow us the freedom to simply be ourselves. According to our bombardment of ads and commercials we are never good enough, nor will we ever be until we have or get whatever the market wants to sell us to be a better and more attractive person.

You Are Inherently Worthy

So, we are left with one thought: if we want to be loved (i.e. heard, cared for, and accepted) we feel that we must demonstrate to others why we deserve love—all based on a model of one-upmanship. I must look good and sound good. I must be persuasive, humorous, and self-effacing. All for the honor of being worthy. And I must prove to others that I am indeed worthy.

As I face life today, surrounded by some folks with an unquenchable need to impress, I feel sad. The heavenly truth is this: we were born worthy! In my theology we have been created by the Grand Lover (and in the very image of the Divine) with two key objectives: to give love and to receive love.

And with love comes peace and a life of tranquility.

There is No Need to Impress Others

When You Love Yourself

Photo courtesy of Khosrork at istockphoto

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