You were deliberately designed to be unique, so only you can set the standard to meet your own approval.
I keep a running list of articles in one of three places, in a purse notebook, or on my phone, on a pad in my nightstand.
Inspiration and epiphany strikes us multiple times in our day. Maybe we just don’t usually slow down enough to appreciate and acknowledge them. So I am trying harder to capture those slippery wisps of light, knowing they have been sent to me for a reason. I encourage you to do the same, so you can remember your illuminations.
Approval tethers us to the dreams of other people. It is like reaching for perfection. We will never get there (wherever that is) to any sort of imagined satisfaction because we have not determined the criteria of when we are or are not approved.
Our paths will be linked to another’s and we will be engulfed in a cycle of trying to make decisions we feel are good for us, but are deemed not allowable by others.
I spent so much time seeking the approval of parents, relatives, supervisors, clients, etc. Because approval is directly tied to what we want, the core of which is usually love, the control (and subsequent safety) of a higher being or person (to whom we have assigned a greater power than ourselves), inclusion into an exclusive group, or even participation by proxy (a close connection to the people we strive to be.)
But this is where we go wrong.
Our very DNA is wired to be deliberately different from other people. This is why when you cleanse (a precipitous process, IMO) you need to be aware of what your body will need. Some people can’t live without protein. Some can. So a juice cleanse to a person with that makeup can be quite harmful!
But our uniqueness has more intricate and entombed roots.
Nature versus. nurture. You have had a different upbringing than anyone else.
You have different talents than anyone else.
You were designed this way on purpose.
No one else carries your memories or snapshot moments where you pivotally learned a personal fact that contributed to a major change or shift in your life. No one else harbors your mindset.
No one is like you.
So, approval is pointless.
Do you know how insanely freeing it is to cut that leash?
Because when you liberate yourself from the idea that someone has to dub you “good enough to pass” like some twisted knight’s tale, you suddenly ARE good enough. You get to INSTANTLY reach that status because you set the guidelines.
Approval is toxic. Constantly trying to meet up to someone else’s perception of who they believe you should be is a disappointing merry-go-round of a negative self-fulfilling prophecy. A layering complex can result. We perform. Seek approval. Learn we disappoint. Sink deeper into self-doubt and recrimination. The next time we enter the approval circle, we are that much more enmeshed; it is harder to break free and we have start to develop truths about ourselves, that the more we subject ourselves to this inner injustice, the more brutal it is to break free.
We come to depend on it.
We feed on it. The tidbit that we do receive now and then.
When someone I admire comments on my posts on social media, or gives me a shout out, I have to stop and ask myself…why am I craving this approval?
What does it mean to me when I receive it?
That I am that valuable as the admired, too?
That I finally receive love?
That I finally learn my worth?
And then I turn inward…to where I know the true health of our emotions lie. I turn to my family and listen to their latest adventures and we laugh and put down our phones. If I am feeling disconnected from the special people in my life, I ask questions? What was your favorite part of your day? What are you most looking forward to tomorrow? Pointed questions that require more than a yes or no answer.
Rejecting approval and honoring the song in your heart is a practice that is vital to your happiness.
You have the power to gain immediate approval. Right this second when you simply change your message you can accomplish what you never thought you could.
When you tell yourself, the only person I need approval from is me. I will always be accepted and vital. I am valuable in every moment. You win the damaging game you put into play.
Stop, the next time you are bound up in a fevered state about the number of likes or engagement your posts or pictures are getting.
Live authentically and love yourself and what you do and say. Try your hardest and let that be the bar of your acceptance. Do what you can with the tools you currently have at your disposal, because you will gather more tools as you move through life. Sometimes we don’t have the skill set to resolve certain situations because we simply don’t know what we don’t know (we don’t have that tool yet). So, go easy on yourself and remain open to the majesty of life’s journeys. Then love yourself all the way through it because you are always okay exactly the way you are.
As long as you try your hardest to love, to show compassion, and to help other humans, you are doing more than okay. You are succeeding. And you don’t need anyone else’s approval to tell you you’ve arrived. You will decide when and how you get there; you will empower a different kind of cycle. The one where you regularly amaze yourself and realize your approval is all that is ever needed.
Original article appeared at The Good Men Project. Reprinted with permission.
Photo credit: Getty Embed