Dependency makes us desperate, but don’t take Perls’ words the wrong way. We all need external reinforcement. Don’t feel like a weirdo for needing recognition. There’s a whole area of research and a discipline based on encouragement, praise and pats on the back. It’s called operant conditioning.
This quote talks about positive reinforcement, which means giving praise or a reward for behavior you want to see increase. Positive reinforcement is said to be the most effective way to teach a person a new behavior or to keep a favorable behavior going.
What’s the difference between those of us who are motivated by reinforcement and those who become dependent on praise?
My best guess is self-esteem. With self-esteem comes humility. With humility comes interdependence. With interdependence comes gratitude. With gratitude comes joy. Joy is freedom.
If you feel like you’re struggling to let go of the need for praise in order to experience joy, start here. Check out this mantra and repeat it to yourself. You are value. You are valuable simply by being on this planet. Then #DoThisThing. It may be that some self-care is in order. Shift your focus to you and treat you like you deserve to be treated. With some positive retooling you may discover that your consuming need for approval decreases as your self-appreciation and sense of self-worth increases.