The “Right” to Approval

This is a blunt message to Christian (and other) young adults.

You are entitled to your own life choices, but you are not entitled to widespread endorsement of those choices.  You have a claim on your life, but you do not have a claim on everyone else’s imprimatur.

Twin traits of young adults are (a) the lust for autonomy and (b) the lust for acceptance.  These sincere young adults often cannot understand why these traits may — and must —frequently collide.  Most young adults wish to escape the shadow of their parents and older relatives and friends — they want to strike out on their own, make their own way, and heighten their own identity.  This desire, properly executed, is not wrong and, in fact, can be wholesome, a desire in which parents and other older adults should eagerly participate, given appropriate conditions.

But this quest for independence carries with it responsibility and maturity, including the understanding that others from whom we secretly (or not-so-secretly) crave acceptance are not obliged to endorse the products of their responsibility and maturity, that is, our choices.

Part of being “grown up” is taking responsibility for your decisions.  An aspect of that responsibility is resisting the temptation to insist on acceptance from those whose acceptance you covet and to complain when they withhold that acceptance.

The cost of independence is disapproval from people whose approval you crave.

No one has the “right” to approval.

Get used to it.


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