“You are enough. You don’t have to prove yourself to anybody.” ~Maya Angelou
The lies we believe that affect our own approval
Approval really is an inside job. Maybe you’re one of the lucky ones & never had anyone say or do anything negative to you ever. If that’s true, I’m soooo happy for you because you have a leg up on all the rest of us. But for those of you who’ve been carrying around bad beliefs about yourself, this post is for you.
Maybe it was a parent, a sibling, teacher, counselor, former friend, old boss, whoever that decided to take you down a peg & abuse you in some way and that has stuck with you. Maybe you carry it around like a anchor dragging behind you. Maybe you internalize it and abuse yourself with some addiction. Maybe you fight against it & that comes out as being angry at everyone nearby.
Whatever lie it is you’re believing (you’re not good enough, you won’t amount to anything, you don’t matter, nobody cares about you, and on and on), I’m here to tell you that it’s not true. It isn’t true. Period.
What matters most
But, & that’s what this whole post is about, it doesn’t matter what I think. It matters what you think of yourself. Because I could say all the nice things in the world about you and if you don’t think very highly of yourself, I’ll just be wasting my breath. You won’t let it in. You won’t ruminate in it. You won’t let it change your life for the better if the words don’t resonate as truth for you.
I think that’s where this need for people to prove themselves comes from. This belief that we picked up somewhere that we aren’t quite enough as is. It got lodged in us and, because we didn’t yank it out by the roots, it grew.
We learned not to trust our own internal barometer. We looked for people in the world around us to validate us: our gifts, our talents, our choices. And that, my dear readers, is where the source of your unhappiness comes from: waiting (& hoping & expending lots of energy trying to prove) for someone else to say you are good enough.
So what do you do now?
1. Honor yourself to get your own approval
You have to learn to honor your own self, your own gifts and talents, instead of wishing you had someone else’s. You have to believe that you have value & treat yourself kindly. That means you take care of yourself (slow down, relax). That means you don’t let anyone (including yourself) abuse you in any way. That means you stop comparing & start developing the gifts & talents that you were given.
2. Listen to yourself to get your own approval
I wrote a whole post on listening to that voice inside you that will guide you (I promise you that it will) if you’ll just let it. I won’t go through that post again except to say that the answers truly are inside you already. They are. It’s just a matter of listening. Which means you have to tune out whoever’s voice runs on a loop in your head (that angry boss, that disillusioned teacher, whoever) and let your own voice rise up.
3. Act on what you hear to get your own approval
Choose (& yes, it is a choice) daily to tell yourself that you are enough as is. Here’s the most important part: Choose daily to believe it. Choose daily to stop living your life trying to prove something.
Your life is happening right now & you’re missing it while you wait for someone to say you are worth it. And what if they never do, then what? Or what if they love you/your work this time and hate it the next time, what happens then? If you live your life for someone else, your happiness will always depend on them. If you live your life seeking approval, you’ll always be in fear that you won’t get it.
Choose daily to believe you are worthy (of love, success, belonging, having the life you most want) and you are enough. Free yourself so you can finally find joy & live a life that matters to you.