I am a recovering approval addict. I, like most of you, was raised to 'be nice' and not say what I really thought, because 'nice' girls don't say 'those' things. I have since learned that being 'nice' and being happy and fulfilled do not necessarily co-exist.
Babies are born socially dependent and know instinctively that their survival depends on the goodwill of the grown-ups around them. Because of this, we’re all literally designed to please others. Learning the social mores of your tribe, is what kept your cave-person self alive and not thrown to the wolves. In today’s society, surviving in your tribe may translate into the ‘proper’ handbag/shoe combo or where you are seen and with whom after work hours. While you travel in these ‘packs’ it may feel like your very life depends on it, but I’m here to ask you to think about that.
Back to my question/ Are you forcing yourself to hang with people who aren’t making you feel like you are awesome and capable and a joy to have around? If you are, maybe it’s time to take some action.
What Will Really Happen?
“I have to go to Aunt Bertha’s Thanksgiving Dinner.” Why? Will the family really disown you? And if they stop talking to you will that be a ‘bad’ thing? I encourage you to write out the reasons you ‘have to’ hang out with the people you do.
“But, wait!” you say, “I ‘have to ‘go to work. Those are the people who don’t get me.” You don’t actually have to rock any boats with some new found “F You” attitude or action but, it is good for your soul to ask yourself; “What Will Really Happen?” in order to get a look at what you are telling yourself.
Is It True?
Once you see what you are worried ‘may’ happen, you can then ask yourself is what I believe true? Do I know absolutely that x y & z will happen if I don’t do what’s expected of me? Again, you don’t actually have to do anything, just think about it?
What Do You Want, Really, Really Want?
Brainstorm, powerpoint, imagine and dream of the life you think would make you happy. Who are the people in it? How do they make you feel? How do you make them feel? What are you doing? The more time you spend ‘feeling’ what you really want, the more likely you will start behaving in ways that may actually lead you there.
Through my own trial and error and by challenging my thinking, I am discovering that my worst consequence fears are just imaginary. I am learning to speak up for myself, to say no and to honour my true nature and guess what? The world has not ended and people actually seem to like me more and...I am liking the people around me more. The more you observe yourself and those around you and the way you are feeling, the more likely you are to attract more of who and what you want and less of what (or whom) you don’t.