Confessions of a Professional Mom

Confessions of a Professional Mom

Professional mom seeking clarity, balance and a well deserved glass of wine.

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Married White Female with Two Kids Seeking Approval

January 4, 2013 , , , , , , , , , , , ,

I am an approval addict.Bling
Brrring
Nee Ner Nee Ner
Bark
Bell Tower
Doorbell
Piano Riff
You’ve Got Mail

Did you feel that little burst of Dopamine explode in your brain just now? That wonderful little rush you get upon hearing the sounds that signal, “someone wants me…someone likes me…someone approves of me.”

This happens tens and sometimes hundreds of times a day. (ok, thousands if you’re a teenager) The alerts and ring tones and buzzing that reaffirms that, indeed, we are wanted. The pleasure center in our brains gets surprised and rewarded over and over again. I call this approval addiction. (TM here, if it’s not already taken)

My name is Allison and I am an addict.

Ok, maybe to wine (shhhh!), but I’m talking about approval. I am addicted to and seek out approval from outside myself. How did this happen? Is it because I’m an over-achieving oldest child whose wrought with imperfection and afraid to admit fault? Were my parents remiss in validating me enough as a child? Am I missing a chromosome?

What exactly happens when we hear all these electronic sounds of “approval” and why do we become addicted to them? Part of it is the Dopamine in our brains. You’ve heard alot of talk about Dopamine, the “reward” drug. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that helps control the brain’s reward and pleasure centers. Whether it’s the bleep of a new text message or the vision of another “like” on Facebook or Instagram, we react like a gambling addict whose just come within ten feet of a slot machine. Surprise and reward. NEXT!

Remember when we didn’t have cell phones and email and it was exciting to get a letter in the mail or a phone call from a friend. I don’t think approval addiction is new, just more advanced. In the past it was available in lesser quantities. Sadly, it’s now available 24/7 and we’re falling for it hook, line and sinker. If it’s not happening we assume something is wrong with us. No one likes us. We’re not acceptable.

I thought I was just networking, looking up old friends, reuniting with long lost cousins, sharing my family photos. I believe these innocent acts lead to Dopamine overload. I convinced myself that if I was connected to 100 people on Linkedin, then 500 would be even better. Make it a thousand. The more people I know the more work I’ll get. Right?! The more I check email, the more informed I’ll be. I’ll please clients faster. I’ll be more efficient if I acknowledge and respond instantly. The more likes on Facebook the better. It’s a bunch of crap!

More is not better. More is just more. Like, more shoes (ok, bad example). I’m convinced that we’ve been equating “more” with “happier.” More likes, more connections means more work, more friends, more accolades, more happiness, more approval. It doesn’t! This also applies to seeking validation from others. Waiting for compliments from our significant other or a gold star for being room mom. May not happen, people! Stop waiting. Stop seeking.

What I’ve learned:
1. It’s not who you know, it’s the work you do. (thank you Steve Chandler)
2. It’s not the quantity of friends, it’s the quality.
3. Happiness is generated from the inside out, not the other way around.

How to kick the addiction:
1. Check email only 2 or 3 times a day. Seriously.
2. Only connect with people that matter.
3. Pay attention to what you let in…listen to, read.
4. Do work that matters.
5. Validate yourself; love yourself; believe in yourself. It’s what you think that matters.

Any of this sound familiar? Let’s do this together. Self love is the new drug!

Stay sane, my friends.

allisondeford

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comments

Were you in the Saliboat with Big D and I last night? We just had this conversation….Weird….It’s like you know…

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vanessaalise

January 4, 2013

I am psychic!

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Allison DeFord

January 4, 2013

*sailboat
More coffee? Oh, yes, please, Thanks for asking. 😉

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vanessaalise

January 4, 2013

So well written as usual 🙂
Approval addiction…just another thing to let go of 🙂

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creativity365

January 4, 2013

You are so on it, sister. Well said. This is the truth as I understand it. Love you…so much! Keep up the great work…

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mussart

January 7, 2013

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