Recently I had been feeling some anxiety and I couldn't pinpoint where it was originating. When this happens it becomes sort of a heavy feeling in my chest and a relentless weight on my mind. Whenever I experience this sensation I know that something is off center in my life. So with great persistence I process and analyze until I discover where the anxiety is coming from. I’m careful to allow every feeling, even ones that are distressing, to flow through me so that I can become more aware their origins. And then it dawned on me. The anxiety was coming from a desire to be liked and to have the approval of others. This is something I've battled my entire life and for the majority of my life it's a battle that I lost more than I won. This is what drove me to alcohol abuse and constant cocaine use when I was younger. This is what had led me to a pattern of destructive relationships. This is what had me hating myself in the past. However, many years ago I became aware of my destructive behavior and did something about it. What's more, these last two years I’ve also become aware of the things I need to do so that I am on guard against this and I had found a distinctly profound sense of freedom from it. And for the most part I had been doing really well. However, the desire for approval is a crafty one. We all want to be liked and we all want to be approved of by others. Those who say they don't struggle with this are either lying to themselves or aren't aware of it.
But there it was, rearing its ugly head again. I began to think through the different people that I wanted approval from and the list seemed pretty long. Not as long as it had been in the past, but long nonetheless. The incredible news is that just knowing where the anxiety came from was 80% of the battle.
I knew I had to get centered and connected to my true source and to myself. I reminded myself that I am enough, just the way that I am and that this world is better off with me being my authentic and true self. That guy that I am who tries to win the approval of others doesn't really bring life to anybody, especially himself. But when I am my true self, life abounds. When I am connected to the divine and loving myself from that place, something incredible happens, Divine energy if you well, that flows through my life.
As I connect to the true source and to myself, the anxiety dissipates almost immediately. All the energy that I was spending worrying about how I'm perceived and if people will like me is no longer wasted on that useless endeavor.
We never add value to ourselves, the world, or those we love by trying to win the approval of others. It's only in affirming our authentic selves that we have the energy to care the way the world needs us to care.
The feeling of freedom that comes with casting off this anxiety and weight of desire for approval is almost blissful. I can be me, and that's enough. I'm grateful.
What about you? Who do you want to like you? Whose approval or you after? Go ahead and write out their names. Then once you're done ripped the paper up or burn it or whatever it is you do.
How do you connect with the source or with yourself? What is it that you do that that grounds and centers you and your true self? Do it. Do it today. Do it now. And then enjoy the freedom.
"A man cannot be comfortable without his own approval" - Mark Twain