For the most part, I think I have successfully lived by this principle. I have sacrificed much to be true to myself. I have committed myself to the road less approved even in the face of fear and threats, because I knew that in the long run I would never be happy with any less. My dad wanted me to go straight to college after high school. I took a year off. He wanted me to major in computer science, but I had other unexplored interests to pursue. I remained committed to my goals even as financial & emotional support slipped away. And overall I am content with my choices and who I am.
In spite of this, I find that the absence of external approval has a tendency to upset me beyond reason. Even though I rationalize that it shouldn't.
Case in point, this semester I signed up for a dance class through the community college. Just a casual "Intro to Dance”. It’s supposed to be fun. Nonetheless, I try to give 100% to my endeavors, even if they are not something I am pursuing professionally. I stay after class to get one-on-one instruction when I am unclear on something, and I work at everything I have been advised to work on. I exercise and practice every night, and record myself so I can evaluate my progress. I try to do everything "correctly" and not just skirt by with my best guess.
For all of this, I have yet to receive a positive remark. Each class, the instructor throws out compliments and I find myself waiting like a trained animal expecting reward. I get angry with myself even for thinking it. For hoping for it. It is not constructive, and only makes me aware that it hasn’t happened.
I was planning to go to the library after dance and work on my other school work until it closed, then run an errand on the way home. Instead I became so demoralized for being singled out for a mistake that I had to come straight home and haven’t been able to concentrate on anything else.
Where is this extreme reaction coming from? I am taking this class because I want to learn dance, not because I want praise or acknowledgement. I don't intend to do this professionally. How do I turn this off?
**TL;DR** Would a compliment from a stranger make a happy hermit happier? Why?