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Approval

Do not attempt to do a thing unless you are sure of yourself, but do not relinquish it simply because someone else is not sure of you. – Stewart E. White

Boy did this ever speak to me when I read it. How often have I looked outwardly for direction. Too often. When I didn’t get the “go ahead” from people I love and trust, I gave up the idea. Well, if they think I can’t – it must be true. I was definitely addicted to the approval of others.
I have learned over the years that the only approval I truly need is my own. My dad passing away was the hardest lesson in this. I used to depend far too much on his feedback for direction in my life. After he was gone, I had no choice but to turn inward and say “ok Liz, do YOU feel good about this?” It took me a few years before I could really recognize my own internal signs. I was clueless as to how to know whether something was intuitively right for me or not.
What I discovered was that I often made choices that pleased others, and found that I wasn’t living authentically and choosing things that made me feel alive. Invariably the choices I made left me feeling empty inside. It took a lot of soul searching to first find, and then listen to, my voice, not the voice of people I cared for.
The most amazing thing is that most of the people I was trying to please over the years didn’t blink an eye when I would tell them of my personal goals. They were quite positive, and supportive. My inner dialogue would go crazy as I scolded myself for not choosing for me a lot sooner. “Liz, people don’t judge as harshly as you think. They just want you to be happy.” Wow, what a revelation that was. The burden of “what will people think” was lifted more and more with each positive experience.
Another moment of awareness came when I realized my goals were not just “crazy thoughts”. The “crazy thoughts” are there for a reason. When I first thought of public speaking as a career my head said “Liz, that’s insane. Forget it!” But the ideas wouldn’t leave me alone. Poke poke… do it. Nudge nudge… you need to teach people. Over and over in my daily thoughts and in my dreams these thoughts kept reoccurring. Everything I read or watched on TV would say “Liz you must do this.”
Ironically, more often than not now, the only approval I don’t fully have is my own! Little niggling doubts are part of the process, and I usually can push past them and hold on to the bigger picture.
I am always grateful for the people in my life who have been in my corner over the years. Today I have a greater appreciation when I realize I am on-board with my own dreams. There is nothing more powerful than to say “I can do this!” with every ounce of who you are. That kind of energy puts the wheels in motion, and there’s just no stopping!

How can you harness your own sense of self-approval in order to push forward and create what you want in your life? It starts and ends with you.