“Do I need to be liked? Absolutely not. I like to be liked. I enjoy being liked. I have to be liked. But it's not like this, compulsive, need, to be liked. Like my need to be praised.”
I laughed when I first heard this on The Office, but the truth is I am very much like Michael in that I have this compulsive need for praise. For example, I need people to think that my food is the best thing they have ever tasted…..life-changingly good. Not too unreasonable, right? My sisters will tell you that I am excessively needy when it comes to praise. If I make dinner for them I will ask them repeatedly if they liked it until I am fully satisfied that, yes, they did like it, and yes, they thought it was fabulous.
The same goes for church talks. In my church, we have no paid clergy. The main meeting consists of three to four talks by congregation members assigned certain subjects. I, for some sick reason, take great pleasure in giving talks. I will compose them in my mind. I have hundreds of ideas, examples, analogies, etc. on various subjects just waiting to be put in use. If someone’s talk is boring, I will re-structure it in my mind while I am sitting listening to make it better. When I give a talk, I desperately want it to be good. I really love it when people say that they enjoyed it….and mean it. Again, if possible, I will plague my sisters’ opinion. “Was it really good?” I want to ascertain that it was, in fact, well done. Praise to me is worthless unless it is well earned.
Well, last week I gave a talk in church. And while I love giving talks, I am always apprehensive about the response. Will it be meaningful to them? Will it engage them enough to keep awake? I had a particular analogy that came to me in flash of brilliance while I was preparing my talk that I was excited about—humorous but accurate. The audience, too, appeared to have enjoyed it. I received a lot of praise afterwards which I felt to be sincere. It made me feel good, like I still had my touch. Today, however, was the crème de la crème. I missed my normal meeting due to fish rearing and had to attend a different ward. Afterwards though, I ran into people from my ward. I heard from five different people that I was quoted in Sunday school. In big bold letters projected on the wall was my analogy and underneath the quote was my name.
I was ridiculously overjoyed.