Approval and the f*ckeryNov 02, 2023
Okay this blog might contain some home truths that you don’t really want to hear but you definitely need to take on board. I say this all with love and as someone who still occasionally looks to others for reassurance of her own worth.
I am a work in progress, a forever jigsaw puzzle and a student of my own teachings.
My early 30s were a dumpster fire of approval seeking that left me a foreigner to myself. Now in my 40s, I care a gazillion times less about what you think of me.
And this is why.
I grew up!
And I don’t mean in years. I mean in mindset.
Let me explain by taking a step back.
To some extent we all seek approval. Fitting in keeps us functioning as members of the pack and keeps society moving forward. We’re programmed to move as one.
You only need to look at ridiculous fashion trends to see how impressionable we are. Remember when someone said we should pluck our eyebrows clear out of our heads and we all said “yeah okay, sounds like a good idea” and then we all went and did it?
We love to be part of a trend, no matter how bizarre.
Because we’re seeking group approval. We like to fit in. It makes us feel safe.
Nothing wrong with wanting to feel safe, my friend.
But where it gets murky is when our desperation to be approved of means that we forget to approve of ourselves; when we can’t take the pathway that lights up our soul in the fear that it might disrupt someone else's opinion of us. Or when we compromise our values and sense of self to appease the people around us.
For many of us this is a hangover from childhood. The forces of nature but mostly nurture taught us that love, approval and safety were assured if we were just agreeable.
No doubt you’ll be able to pinpoint some moments in your childhood when this was acutely taught to you through various experiences you had; moments where you perceived love was given or taken away based on your behaviour.
Kids are smart so we adapt our behaviour in whatever ways we deem necessary to survive and unchecked, we’ll continue those patterns of being into adulthood, reinforcing to ourselves the efficacy of the strategy and entrenching ourselves in the identity of “good girl” (for example).
And this is why I say I grew up. I did the work to recognise where my behaviour was being directed by a 5 year old with terrible bangs and where my emotions were reminiscent of a teenager with 7 eyebrow hairs.
As a 40 something woman I had to decide to upgrade my outdated strategies for connection and stop letting my past selves control my current self.
I had to identify my childhood conditioning in my adult behaviour and give myself a new set of rules about how I connected with myself, others and the world around me.
I had to evolve in my identity and assert some boundaries so I could get closer to myself and others.
I had to find out what I really liked, who I really was and what really brought me joy.
I redefined the goalposts for my worth.
It was an exploration of myself and it changed my life for the better in every conceivable way.
So while I still love it when other people approve of me (unashamedly human), my life choices aren’t governed by the approval of other people any more.
The great news is that most people aren’t even asking themselves the question “why do I still feel the need for approval at 41?” so you’re already way ahead of the curve.
The next step is to deep dive into yourself to do the transformational work that sets you free to approve of you!
I promise the liberation you’ll feel and the potential you’ll unlock is worth the work.
And something else magic happens.
The relationships you’re desperately trying to keep hold of by contorting yourself into who you think other people want you to be, get even better.
Your greatest fear, that you won’t be loved or accepted or enough, will fall over like a jelly wall the moment you realise that being more of you means there’s more of you to be loved.
People are attracted to certainty and courage and conviction.
So take the reins from your younger self because middle age rocks and knowing who you are is the vibe for the next half of this one wild life.
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