Universal Adoration

“The person who seeks all their applause from outside has their happiness in another’s keeping.”

-Claudius Claudianus

I think I might be needy.

When I first met my husband, before we ever started dating, he once asked me, if I could have anything in the world, what it would be.  Now I know that the correct answer to this one is always “world peace,” but for whatever reason, I answered honestly instead with the one goal that I have more or less consistently pursued: universal adoration.  Put another way, I want everyone to love me.  (For reasons I still don’t understand, he found this horrifying, but several years later, he’s still hanging around, so I guess he got over it and all’s well that ends well.)

I think this is pretty normal.  Being liked is great.  Being loved – even better.  When people don’t like you, it’s sad, so why shouldn’t  I want everyone to love me?  It’s a lofty goal though, so I settle for trying to make everyone just like me instead.  Or to think I’m great, anyway.

I live for compliments.  If you have a positive adjective for me, I will accept it!  But I don’t rest on my laurels.  I work for my compliments.  I try to be nice and clever and funny and attractive and productive and helpful and a good cook.  (True fact: while I love cooking, if it’s only me, I’ll probably eat cereal — I need the audience to feed it to so they can tell me I’m great.  Otherwise, it doesn’t feel like there’s much point.)

But the problem is, not everyone thinks I’m great.  (Yes, I hear your collective gasp, my readers, but it is true.)  To be honest, I can live with the ones who don’t like me.  I assume they are just vitamin deficient or something.  My sticking point is with the ones who don’t notice my efforts at all.  And for some reason, like some pathetic puppy who keeps trying to play catch with the one person in the crowd who doesn’t think he’s cute, I fixate on these people.  And I try very hard to impress them.  And when they don’t say anything, I try harder.  It’s embarrassing, really.

But yesterday, I think, I just gave up.  No more backflips when there will be no reward, or at least acknowledgement.  This is fighting my nature, but for the sake of my sanity, I think the time has come.

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