As human beings we crave acceptance and approval – to feel a sense of belonging and security.
It makes sense if you think about our primitive nature and history – the need to be in tribes/communities together, for safety and survival.
That seems to drive so many of us in modern life to go seeking approval and acceptance from others – be it our families, our friends, our work colleagues and employers.
Heck… we even go on social media and seek “likes” from complete strangers in order to get that sense of acceptance.
But here are the cold hard facts about living for the acceptance, approval or praise of others…
Yes, it feels good (we all like it!)
But, you can’t guarantee you’ll always get it.
And as long as you’re attached to the acceptance, approval and praise of others, you’re alsoequally attachedto their judgment, criticism and rejection.
The powerful truth that I’ve personally learned over the years is this…
When people say nice things about me, that’s lovely and it’s just what they’re thinking and feeling in that moment. It has nothing to do with me. It’s none of my business. ????
When people say unkind things about me, that’s unpleasant and it’s just what they’re thinking and feeling in that moment. It has nothing to do with me. It’s none of my business. ????
If you live by the praise of others, you die by their criticism.
Everyone is simply projecting their inner experience into the outer world – be that positive or negative, be that praise or criticism. To live your life at peace and empowered here are 2 TIPS…
Don’t take things personally – even when it’s nice things (acknowledge the love the other person is expressing, and witness it with appreciation, but don’t attach to it like an umbilical cord!). ????
Don’t go looking for people to validate, approve, accept or praise you – GIVE IT TO YOURSELF. The only person’s opinion who truly matters is yours. From your own approval, the world is your oyster and you can enjoy the good and detach the bad, forever free to simply be.
To support you in breaking free of needing the validation and approval of other people, listen to this affirmations audio every day for 30 days. It will help to shift your mindset and energy away from that old pattern…
Lots of credit goes to Bernadette Logue for her brilliant piece to the world.
I hope you never stop believing that the hard days are going to be over. The days of confusion, anxiety and overthinking will not be the center of your universe. The days of heartbreak and pain will not be how every story ends. I hope you always remember that you were promised ease after difficulties, a rainbow after a hurricane and love after heartache.
I hope you never stop believing that one of those days, you will get it right. Whether in your career or your love life. Whether in your finances or your health. You will eventually find the resources you need to make it happen. You will eventually have the determination to fight for the things that matter to you and make them work. You will eventually realign your priorities once you learn the hard way what’s important and what’s not.
I hope you never lose hope. I hope you always find ways to restore your hope and renew your faith. I hope you understand that maybe your hope is somewhere else, maybe it’s the city you’re in that makes you feel helpless or the person you’re with but the hope for a better life should always be there. The hope for better things to come should never leave your mind. I hope you never lose faith in God or in yourself because that will give you all the power you need when your life is falling apart.
I hope you never stand in your own way. I hope you don’t let your own thoughts belittle you or your actions stop you from trying to change or improve your life. I hope you always find the courage to take big risks or end bad relationships. I hope you always find yourself daring and dreaming. I hope you never let your fears define your life. I hope you always break all the rules and the barriers you set for yourself that limited you from living your life to the fullest.
I hope you have the wisdom to wait instead of giving up. I hope you understand that you’ll never understand timing or why things are taking too long to happen or why you feel stuck all the time. I hope you know how to live with these questions until you find the answers.
I hope you pursue those answers by taking action and trial and error instead of fear and complacency. I hope you learn from your lessons but I also hope you never stop making mistakes. I hope you never forget that you’re human. I hope that instead of searching for perfection, you search for meaning. Instead of searching for stability, search for happiness.
Instead of putting timelines and deadlines to your life, put an end to your doubts and never lose hope that when your time comes, it’s going to be better than anything you had imagined for yourself. It’s going to be worth the wait.
Growing up i remembered my weekly “career” announcements. Anchor woman, flight attendant and teacher, among many, many others.
Each week i heard ” you can do that. You will be good at that”.
That was my mom and dad.
Throughout life, i learned that not everyone believed in me the way my mom and dad believed in me. It was during those times i would hear those words the loudest. I dug deep and gain success.
I have 2 children of my own now and i echo those words of encouragement to them everyday. I often tell my nieces and nephews, as well as my co-workers that same message.
These words will be passed along from generation to generation, as i listen to other family members tell their children and even my boys telling that to each other.
Most often when we think of what passes from one generation to the next it consists of artifacts and genes.
I will pass these words on and i know they will carry on for each generation to come.
Have you ever observed people or yourself feeling taunted by social norms?
I’ve noticed the history of this for myself, spanning back to childhood, and I’ve noticed it time and time again for others I encounter in my work, where people have fallen into the hole of comparing themselves to others and comparing themselves to socially accepted norms and measures of ‘success’. Granted, it’s a pretty darn big hole, so actually, it’s not that hard to fall into! When I’ve witnessed this Comparison Conundrum as I like to call it, it’s like hearing a cry echoing from deep within the hole, which sounds a bit like this:
Everyone else is married now, and I’m not. Something’s wrong.
Everyone else is buying houses now, I guess I should too.
I’ve got this job but it’s not really a career like other people have.
They’ve found their passion, I still don’t know what mine is.
I’m falling behind.
I don’t know what I’m doing wrong.
I want to ‘switch lanes’ in life but I don’t want to go backward. It’s too risky.
They are successful and did it that way; I should do it that way too.
They are thinner/more attractive/more fashionable/more successful/braver/stronger than me. I’m not enough. I’ll never be enough.
I’m not capable like them, I guess I’m just not destined to have a life like them.
“To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment” – Ralph Waldo Emerson
This hole is so easy to fall into because often we’re invited into the hole, with our mind reinforcing that we’re falling behind via negative thoughts, supported by well-meaning people telling us that we should do this and that. So, of course, we’d then end up in the hole when everything points that way. Our mind reinforces what we see and hear, telling us it is true and if only we could figure out what we need to be and do in order to be like everyone else, then everything would be fine, right?
Except, you’re not everyone else. You’re you. No one is like you. No one. You make your own decisions about what you need and want, and when it feels good to you. If you want a house right now, buy one. If you don’t, don’t. If you want to travel, travel. If you want a big career, have it. If you want to do volunteer work, do it. If you want to be single, be single. If you want kids, have them. If you don’t, don’t. Do what feels good to you, not what others tell you that you should feel good about. And when I say others, I primarily include in that all the advertising, all the propaganda and all the mass media messaging we see day to day that conditions us in a way that we don’t even consciously realize. Start listening to the one thing you can trust – your soul. Your soul is your true self, below any rampant negative thoughts that are leading you astray.
And you might say, “I can’t hear my soul. I don’t know what it’s telling me!”
To which I would suggest that you be still and quiet as often as possible. Listen without fear of what rises up from within you. You do know what you want and need. You do know what makes you feel good. And, let your signals guide you home.
Listening to the advice of others, proffered from their own paradigm, will never triumph over your inner knowing and divine guidance.
Do you compare yourself to others?
Do you compare your situation and status to that of others?
What prompts you to do that?
How does that make you feel?
If you’re feeling sad, alone, disconnected, lacking, not enough or plain old exhausted from it, then give it up. Chose to let it go and be open to exploring who you are and what is important and meaningful to the real you – that is, you below any negative thoughts, and conditioning and any fear. We all have negative thoughts, we have all been conditioned and we all have fear. If you are alive, then you have experienced all of this, it is impossible not to. But now you are awake, and you have the choice to either be defined by these things or to break free.
Being someone you are not, in an attempt to live up to social norms, means that signals will eventually intervene to help you. As Marianne Williamson says, “The universe is self-organising and self-correcting”. If you are not aligned to who you really are, your true self, the natural order of the world in which we live will eventually assist you to see this. Intervening signals are not always pleasant, but they are signposts to help us head in a new, better, healthier, more beneficial direction. When things in your life ‘turn to custard’, it could well be because you are not in your flow, you might have accidentally swum into someone else’s flow. So, get out of their river and get in your own
Here is my final word on this subject, and when I say it to you, know that whatever I write is really a message to myself as much as it is to you. For in saying it to you I am reminding us both:
NEVER compare yourself to others. EVER.
NEVER try to be someone else. EVER.
You were born extraordinary and unique.
Any time you compare yourself to others, trying to be something else or like someone else, you deny the beautiful individuality that you were gifted when your soul chose to come into this life.
Create your own norms in life. The norms of society have no bearing on you unless you choose them. At all times, be yourself. There is nothing more magical, perfect and beautiful than you being you.