“When you do not seek or need approval, you are at your most powerful.” – Carolyn Myss
Have you ever felt like you are standing on the outside of life looking in on everyone else who seems to be happy and have it all together? Are you perpetually the chameleon changing your colors depending on who you are with? Do you just want to be a part of the group, rather than the one standing on the fringes?
If so, then welcome! I have felt like I’ve been on the outside looking in for most of my life. I perpetually felt like the little girl with her nose pressed up against the glass wanting what she could not have…to belong.
I just wanted to be accepted and I wanted to connect. Is that such a bad thing? Of course not.
Doesn’t everyone want to feel like they fit in and are liked and accepted? Maybe.
So, not knowing how to deal with those feelings, I did what most people do to fit in. I followed the pack. I drank too much, in a feeble attempt at feeling more comfortable. I do not know for sure if I fit in any better, but I do know that I cared less.
I cursed and acted cool. I still curse, but it is less about being cool. I feigned interest in conversations I found uninteresting and trivial, dying silently behind my smile. I talked about the things that people seem to want to talk about, denying my own voice. I rarely disagreed with others, keeping my thoughts and opinions to myself, instead nodding approvingly.
And I hated it.
I sometimes tried to bring up topics that did interest me…spirituality, the suffering in the world, the age-old question “what is life about?” That usually got me a deer in the headlights look or the disapproval I was trying so hard to avoid. Not exactly the typical party conversation.
So, I kept trying to figure out how to be…more like “them”.Advertising
I am sure this will not be a surprise to you, but I was not happy.
Why, you ask?!
Because I was trying to be something and someone I am not. I was making the approval of others the priority in my life. I was allowing someone else to determine my value.
What Is Your Soul Purpose?
What exactly makes someone else’s opinion more important than mine? What makes the approval of anyone, the appropriate barometer for my personhood?
Now, I understand why fitting in was important. As a child, I never felt like I did, so I was always attempting to adapt to my surroundings in order to minimize feelings of rejection. I needed to be compassionate with myself as I began to understand why I felt the way I did. I needed to take long, kind and frequent looks at myself to heal what had been broken.
We are each unique individuals, who I believe, are here on this earth for some particular reason and purpose. I cannot possibly know what that is for anyone else. It isn’t even my business, unless they choose to tell me. And honestly, I wish they would. That is the kind of conversation I can wrap my brain around.
Nonetheless, what is my business is to discover what my reason and purpose is. But before I do that I have to let go of the idea that “fitting in” is more important than being who I am.
How is that for a soul mission?
To be fully who I am…without worrying whether I fit in, am approved of or accepted.
If we all did that, fitting in would become irrelevant.Advertising
I already belong…we all do.
No matter race, religion, gender, country, disability or any other differentiating factor you can conjure up to explain your separateness, we are all a part of the human race and so, necessary to our wholeness.
Knowing that, of course, is the hard work. Who am I underneath my need for approval or acceptance?
What Happens When You No Longer Need The Approval Of Anyone Else…
What happens when you no longer need the approval of anyone else…when fitting in no longer matters?
Well, let me tell you, because this is good stuff.
I have discovered that the more I approve of myself, the less I care what others think. The more I love and accept myself…all of me…especially the not so pretty parts, the better I feel. The less I judge myself, the less I am concerned with the judgments of others.
What I also discovered was that the things I assumed others were judging me on, were the very things with which I was judging myself. The things I wanted approval from others about, were the things I was withholding approval from myself. I also recognized that I wanted others to love me, so I would feel better about myself, all the while avoiding finding out what it meant to love myself.
In other words, my happiness was dependent on the approval, acceptance and love of others. I needed it to validate my existence.
That was a pretty powerless place to be. It is so much more empowering to be responsible for my own happiness. It is so much more empowering to not have my self-worth be dependent on someone else.
When I began to accept and love myself, valuing myself was a natural outcome. When I began to value myself, I expected people to treat me better, knowing where and when to draw lines when others overstepped them. I also began to recognize I had something to say worth listening to, even if the people around me didn’t want to hear it.Advertising
Yes, go figure, I realized I had something to offer the suffering world. In this process, I found my own voice and I discovered fulfilling ways to use it. I was no longer so afraid to speak up, even when someone disapproved.
I no longer hung my head in shame, which I am sure is right up there with one of the worst feelings we experience in life.
Although I needed help to make these discoveries about myself, I realized it was my own approval and acceptance that I always needed. Truthfully, what someone else thinks about me, whether they like me or not, approve of me or not, is none of my business. That is their problem, not mine.
As Carolyn Myss says, “When you do not seek or need approval, you are at your most powerful.”
That is because we are well on our way to being our truest self. There is so much power in that! Our truest self is not going to be ruled by an insecure ego.
The true self is never threatened by others or has any need to compare itself to anyone other than its highest self. It is then that we can emerge to fully be whoever we are called to be. It is then that we have the greatest impact on the world.
Whether a mentally or physically disabled person, a Mother or Father, a trash collector or accountant, an athlete or a homeless person, if we are fully being who we are called to be, then we will have the impact on the world that we are intended to have. We will also be at peace.
So, who is this True Self? What does the real me look like?
The Real Me
It is the one who feels at peace when making a decision, despite the anxiety the ego might feel about the reaction or opinions of others. It is the one who gets excited at the possibilities, when the world tells you it’s impossible. It is the small voice inside that says, “yes, you can” even while another voice is telling you, ‘no, you can’t. It is the one that perseveres against the odds, knowing there is a way out, even when they can’t yet see it. It is the one who wants to bust out of all the restraints and rules, dogma and doctrine dumped on you by a fearful world.
If you think about it for just a minute, you might be able to remember a moment or two or three, when the True You showed up.Advertising
It might have been during a tragedy when you found your way to higher ground. Maybe when you reached out in kindness to someone hurting. It likely showed up when your heart burst with love after looking at your newborn for the first time. How about when you finally valued yourself enough to ask for a raise or set a much-needed boundary with someone?
How about when you are “in the zone” playing some sport, or singing or playing an instrument or doing whatever it is that you do when you feel most at home in your skin.
You will know the True You because it is the best version of yourself. It is the moments you feel proud of yourself. You will feel its strength coursing through your veins or its peaceful demeanor when all is right with the world. It will show up when you feel an unexplained connection with another person or the Universe or nature.
The Truest You also knows you are never alone. It knows that all things are working out on your behalf, even while plodding around in the mud and the muck. It believes in your greatness, even when your mind can’t yet grasp the idea.
The world needs each of us to reach our potential, whether it’s a bucket full of potential or a thimble full. It is fullness either way. The bucket is not better than the thimble, just bigger.
The True Self recognizes the value of everyone they meet…and those they don’t. And it knows this because it knows its own value.
When you start approving of yourself, accepting yourself and loving yourself, the Real You will begin to emerge.
The True Self lives within your depths. Find it, be it, love it. It will love you back! It will never do you wrong. And, finally, you will always belong!
Featured photo credit: xvire1969 via imcreator.com
Last Updated on November 20, 2018
10 Reasons Why New Year’s Resolutions Fail
A new year beautifully symbolizes a new chapter opening in the book that is your life. But while so many people like you aspire to achieve ambitious goals, only 12% of you will ever experience the taste of victory. Sound bad? It is. 156 million people (that’s 156,000,000) will probably give up on their resolution before you can say “confetti.” Keep on reading to learn why New Year’s resolutions fail (and how to succeed).
Note: Since losing weight is the most common New Year’s resolution, I chose to focus on weight loss (but these principles can be applied to just about any goal you think of — make it work for you!).
1. You’re treating a marathon like a sprint.
Slow and steady habit change might not be sexy, but it’s a lot more effective than the “I want it ALL and I want it NOW!” mentality. Small changes stick better because they aren’t intimidating (if you do it right, you’ll barely even notice them!).
If you have a lot of bad habits today, the last thing you need to do is remodel your entire life overnight. Want to lose weight? Stop it with the crash diets and excessive exercise plans. Instead of following a super restrictive plan that bans anything fun, add one positive habit per week. For example, you could start with something easy like drinking more water during your first week. The following week, you could move on to eating 3 fruits and veggies every day. And the next week, you could aim to eat a fistful of protein at every meal.
2. You put the cart before the horse.
“Supplementing” a crappy diet is stupid, so don’t even think about it. Focus on the actions that produce the overwhelming amount of results. If it’s not important, don’t worry about it.
3. You don’t believe in yourself.
A failure to act can cripple you before you leave the starting line. If you’ve tried (and failed) to set a New Year’s resolution (or several) in the past, I know it might be hard to believe in yourself. Doubt is a nagging voice in your head that will resist personal growth with every ounce of its being. The only way to defeat doubt is to believe in yourself. Who cares if you’ve failed a time or two? This year, you can try again (but better this time).
4. Too much thinking, not enough doing.
The best self-help book in the world can’t save you if you fail to take action. Yes, seek inspiration and knowledge, but only as much as you can realistically apply to your life. If you can put just one thing you learn from every book or article you read into practice, you’ll be on the fast track to success.
5. You’re in too much of a hurry.
If it was quick-and-easy, everybody would do it, so it’s in your best interest to exercise your patience muscles.
6. You don’t enjoy the process.
Is it any wonder people struggle with their weight when they see eating as a chore and exercise as a dreadful bore? The best fitness plan is one that causes the least interruption to your daily life. The goal isn’t to add stress to your life, but rather to remove it.
The best of us couldn’t bring ourselves to do something we hate consistently, so make getting in shape fun, however you’ve gotta do it. That could be participating in a sport you love, exercising with a good friend or two, joining a group exercise class so you can meet new people, or giving yourself one “free day” per week where you forget about your training plan and exercise in any way you please.
7. You’re trying too hard.
Unless you want to experience some nasty cravings, don’t deprive your body of pleasure. The more you tell yourself you can’t have a food, the more you’re going to want it. As long as you’re making positive choices 80-90% of the time, don’t sweat the occasional indulgence.
8. You don’t track your progress.
Keeping a written record of your training progress will help you sustain an “I CAN do this” attitude. All you need is a notebook and a pen. For every workout, record what exercises you do, the number of repetitions performed, and how much weight you used if applicable. Your goal? Do better next time. Improving your best performance on a regular basis offers positive feedback that will encourage you to keep going.
9. You have no social support.
It can be hard to stay motivated when you feel alone. The good news? You’re not alone: far from it. Post a status on Facebook asking your friends if anybody would like to be your gym or accountability buddy. If you know a co-worker who shares your goal, try to coordinate your lunch time and go out together so you’ll be more likely to make positive decisions. Join a support group of like-minded folks on Facebook, LinkedIn, or elsewhere on the internet. Strength in numbers is powerful, so use it to your advantage.
10. You know your what but not your why.
The biggest reason why most New Year’s resolutions fail: you know what you want but you not why you want it.
Yes: you want to get fit, lose weight, or be healthy… but why is your goal important to you? For example:
Do you want to be fit so you can be a positive example that your children can admire and look up to?
Do you want to lose fat so you’ll feel more confident and sexy in your body than ever before?
Do you want to be healthy so you’ll have increased clarity, energy, and focus that would carry over into every single aspect of your life?
Whether you’re getting in shape because you want to live longer, be a good example, boost your energy, feel confident, have an excuse to buy hot new clothes, or increase your likelihood of getting laid (hey, I’m not here to judge) is up to you. Forget about any preconceived notions and be true to yourself.
- The more specific you can make your goal,
- The more vivid it will be in your imagination,
- The more encouraged you’ll be,
- The more likely it is you will succeed (because yes, you CAN do this!).
I hope this guide to why New Year’s resolutions fail helps you achieve your goals this year. If you found this helpful, please pass it along to some friends so they can be successful just like you. What do you hope to accomplish next year?