I had a wretched, tormented sleep last night – I tossed and turned, too much on my mind to find peaceful slumber. I know that I have a lot of things on my plate – but that is nothing new, so I don’t think it’s the list of responsibilities that was keeping me up. Rather, I was worrying about some things that have been going on, worrying about my loved ones, and worrying about myself…and that made the night a fitful one. 😦
However, when I woke up this morning, I felt as if all of the world’s problems that had been hanging over my head like a dreaded albatross last night were magically lifted away. Despite the fact that the morning sky was overcast, my world was bright and shiny and I knew that today was going to be an EXCELLENT day! I felt like I had all of the answers for everything that has ever plagued me, and I desperately wished that I was going to be appearing on “Jeopardy” today (actually, I kinda wish for that every day) since I felt like I knew all that there was to know and I would most certainly be on my way to becoming the next Ken Jennings. I awoke with the realization that a lot of people that I know and think are my friends aren’t really – that in fact I matter very little to them…and shame on me for wasting such time and energy cultivating relationships that aren’t really there. I realized that the arseholish behavior of some of the people at work (of which there has been a lot lately) speaks volumes to their own inadequacies, not mine. Their shitty attitudes have nothing to do with me. I realized that I don’t have to put up with having people around who seem to barely ‘tolerate’ me – fuck them. I’m fantastic, just as I am – and if they don’t agree, then that would be their loss. As well, I concluded that it’s okay for me to speak up about things, and that I don’t have to endure things that make me feel badly; people who refuse to make plans with me ahead of time, just in case something better comes along (you think you’re being sneaky – you aren’t…I’m so on to you); and people who can’t be bothered to ask about my day because life is all about them. I’m done – done with it all. D-O-N-E. Done. I need to be more proactive, and quit accepting things that aren’t up to the standard of what I deserve. I’m just as good a person as anyone else, and I deserve the world, dammit! I woke up today feeling as if things were going to be okay in Leanna-Land, and that, more importantly, I was going to be just fine. 🙂
While surfing online, I found this article on letting go of the need for the approval of others (something that has plagued this chronic people-pleaser since the dawn of time), and is closely related to how I’ve been feeling – here are some of the highlights:
“Criticism is something you can easily avoid by saying nothing, doing nothing, being nothing” ~Aristotle
The need for approval kills freedom.
Trust me, I know, because I spent my entire life seeking approval until I realized it was a waste of time and didn’t work anyway. The desire to get people to like me motivated the majority of my choices and actions in early life.
Queen of social chameleons, I mastered the art of telling people what they wanted to hear and being someone they would find impressive—all the while worrying incessantly about what others thought of me, fearing criticism, and holding myself back as a result.
My need for approval created immense anxiety about the value I provided for my clients and caused me to spend far too much time on tasks in order to perfect them.
Do you constantly make choices to avoid disapproval or criticism, rather than what is most valuable, effective or important to you?
Do you hold yourself back from speaking your opinions or hide your true self?
This is something you can, and dare I say, must change if you want to be happy in your life and successful in your business or chosen work.
It is possible to change. I have done so myself, and since then have helped many other people through my business to do the same.
How to Let Go of the Need for Approval
1. Build a sound sense of self-acceptance.
The first step is to strengthen your core foundation so that you feel strong enough to go with what feels right for you. This way, you will no longer feel the need to look to others to feel good enough about your choices and decisions.
Keep a self-appreciation journal, where you start acknowledging daily or a few times a week the things you’re most proud of about yourself: choices you’ve made, insights you’ve learned, things you like about yourself, times you’ve stayed true to yourself, or whatever feels right for you.
2. Let go of seeking validation from others.
Secondly, you need to practice letting go of seeking validation for your choices and most importantly, for whom you choose to be.
This means noticing your language, self-talk, and behavior, and identifying when it is coming from wanting someone else to say you’re ok, that you made the right choice, or that you did the right thing.
Instead, when you do make a decision, check in with yourself that it feels right, remind yourself that it is your choice, and give yourself validation for just being you.
3. Evaluate tasks based on approval-seeking efforts.
Lastly, start being honest with yourself when you take on a new task or commitment, whether you are doing it because it is “right” for you or because you want to get approval and avoid disapproval.
Sit down and evaluate your weekly tasks and ask yourself what is really necessary and important, and what is driven by people pleasing. Then slowly work through the “people pleasing” list and eliminate them.
Yes, it is a wee bit hippy-dippy (especially for me), but…dammit if every word in there isn’t the absolute truth??! Remember those wise wise words I’ve uttered many times before: What other people think of you is none of your business. I need to learn to stop letting the opinions of others matter to me – and I need to embrace the idea that the only opinion that matters first and foremost is MINE, and then those that I love dearly get a vote. Otherwise…la la la, they can piss in the wind, if they like. I don’t have time for negativity. I don’t have time for pity parties. And I certainly don’t have time for albatrosses – it’s time to rise up, to enjoy the beauty of the world around me, and to embrace all things positive. It’s also time to re-apply for “Jeopardy”, because neither Alex Trebek nor I are getting any younger, and if we are going to have the face-to-face date with destiny that I’ve always dreamt of, I had best hurry up. 🙂
Wish me luck. 🙂