While climbing outside yourself attachment to other's approval can hold you back. This attachment is very precarious. You don't need anyone's permission to know your worth.
On my climb outside myself, I needed to stop comparing my insides to other people's outsides.
It's not a fair comparison, and it's not real. It teeters recklessly on external approval and hinges your self worth on others praise. It precariously throws your whole climb to other people's external assessment. Let's face it; nobody's going to be elated that you found your self-worth.
You're not doing it for them; you're doing it for you.
I flunked grade one. Today schools call it repeating a grade, and it's softened by labelling it "an opportunity to improve." But back then, you just failed. The teacher physically separated the room into students who passed to the next grade and those who didn't, so the failure of some of us was obvious to all.
I was the one left behind. I was labelled a failure – and it was a big deal in my young life. There was no argument; my report card was definitive. My failure was not the result of a lack of intellect or desire. There was one, single reason I failed: I was painfully shy. I didn't raise my hand. I didn't participate or speak up. Instead, I hid in the corner, kept my head down and my eyes averted, and hoped I wouldn't be called on.
Failing first grade was a teaching moment beyond my first class work. What I learned from this experience is that it was not acceptable for me to be shy, quiet or introverted. Holding those qualities resulted in the very thing I wanted most to avoid, failure and public humiliation. It was plain to see that it was preferable to be outgoing, to talk a lot, to be demonstrably happy, energetic and engaging.
Life and living have changed me. I have matured, and I find today I am characterized as mostly an extrovert. I naturally get more energy from being around others than being alone. I do feel that sometimes I am living my life for others. I am aware that there is pressure always to be optimistic, engaging, and responsive to those around me. I never want to let others down. My evolution has led me to pursue a career in public speaking and stand-up comedy, avenues I can consistently use to get the approval of those around me. I'm most frequently hired as a funny female motivational speaker.
We all want approval – that is part of the fabric of humanness – and we would have a lawless society if it were otherwise. But do you find yourself craving approval? Do you continually search for ways to make others feel good, even at the expense of your comfort and well being? Do you find it extremely difficult to say no to friends, family and colleagues? Do you give, give, give your time, energy, support and enthusiasm – not now and then, but ongoing to the point of exhaustion?
In prehistoric times, rejection triggered fear. Today, rejection is directly tied to the release of cortisol and adrenaline. These are the two hormones that can wreak havoc on our health. These hormones trigger a fight, flight or freeze response that terrorized by others approval. Most people's lives have adapted to avoid disapproval. But fear is limiting, and it holds us back. Anxiety isn't real. It's built on false pretences that most of the time is entirely inaccurate.
It's important to 'do' for others, and it makes us feel good in ways that a hot fudge sundae never can. It's equally important to keep enough fuel in our tanks that we can respond when it is genuinely essential to do so. The ability to make those distinctions are part of maturing and learning who we are. Age and experience steer us in a focused, authentic direction where we know we are free to say no, even if it disappoints others.
Do you feel like you live your life for others?
Do you feel guilty saying no?
Do you fear rejection?
Do you change or downplay your viewpoint to appease others?
Do you feel that you have to be happy all the time?
If you can give up these pressures, you can start living your life from an official stance. Free up the energy to do the things you want to do!
My chosen life's work, stand-up comedy, has taught me to make friends with rejection even as I revel in the approval of others. I learned that I couldn't please everybody, but I can some people. And I can satisfy me in the process.
The only person you need to answer to is yourself.