quote du jour ~remen

Judgment does not only take the form of criticism. Approval is also a form of judgment. When we approve of people, we sit in judgment of them as surely as when we criticize them. Positive judgment hurts less acutely than criticism, but it is judgment all the same, and we are harmed by it in far more subtle ways. To seek approval is to have no resting place, no sanctuary. Like all judgment, approval encourages a constant striving. It makes us uncertain of who we are and of our true value. This is as true of the approval we give ourselves as it is of the approval we offer others. Approval can’t be trusted. It can be withdrawn at any time no matter what our track record has been. It is as nourishing of real growth as cotton candy. Yet many of us spend our lives pursuing it.

~Rachel Naomi Remen, Kitchen Table Wisdom


3 thoughts on “quote du jour ~remen

  1. I hope you don’t mind that I pressed the “like” button for this quote. i know it’s a form of approval. Hmmm, even leaving a comment is another form of approval. What to do? It seems to me anyone who posts such a wonderful quote on a blog they write is accustomed to approval, and may not choose to be affected by getting it – or not getting it.

    • Although I used to be very eager to receive “likes” and comments when I first started this blog (which of course is another form of approval-seeking), I’ve come to a place where I see them as expressions of appreciation (of the quote or article, not me). Indeed, most of the comments on this blog tend to be expressions of gratitude (“Thank you for sharing this quote. It was just what I needed to hear today.”).
      I’m glad you appreciate the quote. It’s stuck with me since I first read it. I hadn’t ever looked at approval as judgment before and now have a new perspective.

      • I appreciate your reply to my comment. I feel a connection to your discovery. I’m reminded of the time I first noticed it too. I thought I was being supportive and positive and didn’t realize that it was a subtle way to control other people’s behaviors.
        Once I realize that started to go within, I started to appreciate my own intrinsic needs for control and approval. I don’t believe those needs in themselves are particularly bad, it’s just when those needs start to take me away from something higher: our human heart connection, my genuine self, those things that really serve all of us.
        It’s been years since I first discovered that, and I’m still reminded almost every day.

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