I am but a firefly in your jar and when you look at me, I cannot help but glow.
The look of approval is one of the most interesting and diverse points of minutia in psychology. We are first exposed to it from our parents and relatives. This single look communicates so many tiny components of our sense of self, as to set the stage for so many other chapters of our lives, predicated upon the earliest programming that comes with a look of approval.
From our first encounter, which is familial, to progressive new encounters which might include friends, peers, teachers, coaches and others, this interesting variable continually seeks reinforcement through continued opportunities to earn similar praise.
As we get older, that look of approval is sought from a crush, a lover, a spouse. It would appear to carry even more weight and more need, meaning and desire when the overtones of love are interspersed.
When this transitions into the professional arena, that desired approval is sought from employers, colleagues, industry organizations, clients, patients and our peers.
Later, upon becoming parents, we discover we are craving the exact same thing from our children.
Sociology and history are riddled with countless examples of people who it would be fairly easy to presuppose did not receive that quality of approving glances and as a direct result have manifest into the creatures that they have become.
Sometimes, the look of approval combined with an innocuous comment can set off a chain reaction of responses that we never anticipated by the person who gave the approving look and paired it with the wrong comment… especially if it is made to a person who probably did not get the proper and warm reinforcements at an early age.
I close this musing with one of the most famous scenes in which one of the most talented directors in cinema history exploited it to its greatest comedic potential.