On the journey of self-improvement (it’s a journey not a destination), you never know what’s going to be a profoundly transformative experience. Right now, my big transformation is letting go of living up to my parents’ expectations, which ultimately is what letting go of approval seeking is all about. There’s a feeling of grief and sadness in saying goodbye to an old version of myself.
Much of self-improvement is preparation. You prepare yourself–spirit, thoughts, emotions, body–for that moment when something ignites your soul on fire. While it’s exhilarating to expand into a greater version of yourself, there must be a cooling down period in which things must reform.
We can never go back to the way things were, but sometimes we want to. When we can stop wanting to go back, then we can truly go forward. We have to want to change before it can happen.
Choosing to no longer seek the approval of (and trying to please) others may be the most challenging thing we ever face. Sometimes anger is our only way out, but when the anger subsides, we can feel the familiar pull of old habits. However (and whenever) it happens, turning the corner is the difference between night and day.
The Great Equalizer
Happiness is the great equalizer. We can never really tell if anyone else is truly happy. We can never truly make anyone else happy unless they really want to be happy.
I have to admit that as focused and (authentically) happy as I am now, through everything I’ve learned and overcome, there’s still pain and resistance to being happy, which requires all of my wisdom (as well as others) in order to find peace. It takes a deep and abiding appreciation of the journey and the process of life. We weren’t born to please others; we were born to be true to ourselves, and the sooner we realize that, the better we’ll feel.
I have found that in being true to myself, compromise is compromising, and it is a weakness. I know when I’ve compromised myself, and that is always the greatest source of regret. It’s when you let yourself down that hurts the most.
I’ve strengthened my inner strength by not letting myself down, being my own best friend, and supporting myself, no matter how difficult it was at first.
My self-worth used to come from other people and external things, and it felt nearly impossible to unplug from that, but it is possible, and for me, the only way to live happily.
Approval-seeking and people-pleasing is an emotional addiction, and the only way out (that I’ve found) is to become hooked on your own soul.
Today, I’m as free as the day I was born. I feel innocent and pure. Not because I’m doing anything, but because I’ve chosen to be uncompromisingly true to myself.
It’s afternoon, and I feel better, and I feel better that I feel better. I’m aware of the mercurial and inconstant nature of my moods. I know that at the heart of my discomfort is the desire to get along with people, while at the same time not wanting to betray who I am. I’m realizing that I can have harmony with others while still being true to myself. It’s a daily practice.
I want to be integrated and whole.
I want to feel stable and strong.
I want to go with the flow of my natural and powerful stream of well-being.
I know when I’m not integrated or aligned, because it feels bad, like I’m alienated from my Source. There’s fear in the thought of disapproval from others, but my love of being connected to my True Self trumps the fear. There’s a part of me that wants to seek approval, but that part of me has been so disappointed and disillusioned, that it finally hurts too much to try to please others, and that’s actually a very good thing for my further development.
I still want things from other people, like cooperation, resources, friendship, and love, but I’m no longer trying to fill a void. Now I can do whatever I’m doing without the extra weight of guilt, shame, and fear. I can follow my inner guidance, and learn from my life experiences.
Part of my integration is bringing together the diverse Life Areas. Each Life Area has meaning and purpose, and is capable of providing satisfaction and fulfillment. I want to dive in and squeeze all the juice out of each Life Area. Maybe my Spirit is eternal, but this is the only life I have in this particular body, and while I’m here I want to know who I am, what I’m about, and what I can do.