Have you ever had an epiphany that rocked your world?
One that made one of the most profound impacts ever?
I had one just the other day as I was doing my morning pages.
Come to find out, what appeared on my journal pages was the essential piece needed to break up with "not good enough" once and for all.
THE JOURNAL ENTRY THAT CHANGED IT ALL
I figure it might be easier just to share my journal entry. That way I don't run the risk of some important piece getting lost in the translation. So here is what I wrote….
Yesterday's morning pages got me thinking about all the times I have sought approval throughout the course of my life. Do I want approval or do I want acceptance? Now there's a question for ya!
Is this need for approval the cause of my playing small? Does it sit at the root of the feelings of "not good enough" that I see in myself and in others?
What is approval any way? What is acceptance? Hmmmm…..
Approval is looking for that 'nod' that we're good. That we've made it into someone's inner sanctum (whatever that is). Essentially that what we do and who we are meets the other person's standards. Talk about putting that other person in control. DAMN!
Acceptance, however, is being received as is. No need to change, mold, or meld. It's being invited to a "come as you are party", showing up in an ugly sweater with your hair a mess and people loving you any way.
Acceptance is open-hearted and open-minded whereas approval is, you guessed it, closed-hearted and closed-minded.
Acceptance is unconditional and approval is conditional. ("I will only like/love you if you are______ or if you do _______.)
Not to mention that approval is loaded with another's expectations, which are sometimes far too high to reach.
When we ask someone, "Do you like me/love me?" (Which I have done many times.) we're looking for that 'nod' of approval. With acceptance, we don't have to ask. We feel it and know it, because we feel safe to show up as we are.
Acceptance is non-judgmental and supportive. And approval is riddled with judgement and criticalness.
Acceptance creates connection and it empowers, while approval creates blocks and feelings of "not good enough".
So how do we get out of approval mode and move into acceptance mode?
We have to work on coming to terms with this fact … there are going to be people that (because of their own insecurities) are going to come from that place of approval. Needing it and giving it in order to make themselves feel better.
OK, that makes sense and now I'm being reminded of what Don Miquel Ruiz says in his book The Four Agreements, "Whatever happens around you, don’t take it personally… Nothing other people do is because of you. It is because of themselves."
Second is remembering that we get to choose how we wish to deal with anyone who's in approval mode. Do we steer clear? Do we find ways to insulate ourselves when we can't steer clear?
NOTE TO SELF: This is when I can use, "Not my storm." OR "Not my monkeys, not my circus." as an insulator.
It's important to recognize the times and situations that trigger our seeking approval. For example, are we feeling small or "not good enough"? Are we unsure of our own abilities? Worth? Thoughts? Ideas? Are we walking on eggshells?
When we recognize the approval seeking behavior we can then do something to switch course and change behavior.
NOTE TO SELF: "What do I choose to do instead of seek approval?"
This is probably the most important thing we can do, and that's work on our own self-acceptance. Define it for ourselves. Create that definition that is ours so that we can then use it. OK, cool.
So what's my definition of self-acceptance? Being unapologetically me and seeing me as I am in every moment of every day. Accepting and not stuffing my emotions and feelings. Seeing my "flaws" as a help and not a hindrance; helping me to continue to change and grow where I can and as I can. If I have/need to seek out another's opinion, looking to me FIRST for my own opinion. Then using the other person's as a reference but NOT as means for approval. Cool. Think I'll sit with this for a bit and see what else comes up.
HOW IT'S CHANGED THINGS SO FAR
That journal entry has made me realize that while I'm going to have feelings of "not good enough", those feelings don't have to last for days on end. I recognize those feelings for what they are….my need for approval. It's with that awareness that I'm able to make different choices.
I'm not taking someone's criticism personally. This one is a big change! BIG! Instead I'm realizing that it's just their opinion and I can either use it as a resource or not use it at all.
In seeing it in clients I'm able to speak to it from a different perspective. One that is having a more powerful impact… which is AWESOME!
I honestly feel lighter energetically because I finally get it…the only person's approval I ever need is my own! And I only want to hang out with people who accept me for me. End of story!
So I can honestly say, I've broken up with "not good enough". It may still come around with hopes of getting back together again, but my resolve is so much stronger thanks to my new relationship with Acceptance.
CALL TO ACTION
If you're currently in a relationship with "not good enough" check in to see what's causing that feeling.
Is it because you're seeking approval from others?
How strong is your self-acceptance?
What do you need in order to strengthen it even more?
Please know, if you ever need additional support in breaking up with "not good enough", I'm here and I'm listening.
I leave you with the following quotes…
“You will never gain anyone's approval by begging for it. When you stand confident in your own worth, respect follows.” ― Mandy Hale
“Remember, you have been criticizing yourself for years and it hasn’t worked. Try approving of yourself and see what happens.” ― Louise L. Hay
“To be fully seen by somebody, then, and be loved anyhow - this is a human offering that can border on miraculous.” ― Elizabeth Gilbert
“A friend is someone who gives you total freedom to be yourself-and especially to feel, or not feel. Whatever you happen to be feeling at any moment is fine with them. That's what real love amounts to - letting a person be what he really is.” ― Jim Morrison