Fear drives us to seek approval. Many times we say and do what we feel is right and in the back of our minds, we also think of what actions will be approved. It’s not a good way to be, but it happens in life. What we need to do is to keep in mind that when we are doing what is right for ourselves, it is not for others to judge, criticize nor approve. It is for us to stand firm in our convictions and to find peace within to lay our heads on our pillows every night, knowing that we are not hurting others intentionally, but we are doing what we feel is right for ourselves.
It’s not easy to live with a scapegoat mentality no matter how strong our soul is. It wears on the soul, the mind and the body and the pain crops up in different ways. Those of us who innately have a high pain tolerance continue to plow through the pain, all the while, not realizing that it is our own selves who are inflicting the discomfort in our battle to seek approval and to worry about how others judge our actions and inactions. It’s a hard line to walk for sure. To walk in our truth, without minding the what if’s, is harder than the pain of limitations that we set for ourselves in our own minds. However, once we can get past the hurdle and actually begin to walk in our own truth, allowing others to feel and judge at will, it gets easier.
I have spent a lifetime doing for others and seeking approval. Being the ‘good girl’ in the family began that journey and that role assigned to me, did more damage than good. I willingly embraced it for the love that was given to me, was often taken when the giver believed I wasn’t doing what they wanted. I succumbed to that way of thinking for many years. Even when the giver who did love me passed, the feeling stayed and I transferred it to others. I was held captive by my own beliefs. I needed to be seen, heard and loved as the ‘good girl’ and the one who was responsible. I relished the role. But it has been my downfall.
I allowed myself to be bullied by others in subtle and not so subtle ways in order to keep peace in my life, or what on the outside, I believed to be peace. Instead of standing up and saying that I am not lacking, I rolled over like a submissive dog, begging approval and apologizing for my faults which were deemed by others. What I felt was strength in keeping peace, was seen as weakness and an opportunity to control me and I succumbed to the farce. The pain I have endured is immeasurable, the toll it has taken on my psyche is clear to me and it saddens me. It has weakened me up until now.
I am taking control again. Albeit slowly, I am seeking the freedom to say ‘no’ and to allow others to fester in their disapproval. It is not an easy decision, but one that I must make for myself. I have been sick. I have endured cancer. I have run around my whole life trying to make everyone else happy and forgotten my own self. I have not babied myself nor comforted me. I have spent a lifetime caring for others, making their needs count before my own and completely living for their demands. It is my own fault. I am not playing victim here. I am simply stating the truth. I allowed it. I see that now. I let others make decisions about my life and I thought I was doing good by keeping the peace and going along with the flow. I never stood up and asked, ‘why?’ I was too afraid to anger them for I had seen the reprisals before and I feared in my heart what they could do to me.
I watched as others gave and took love according to their control of me. When I was ‘playing nice’ as they demanded, I was loved. When I was hurt or not being the person whom they deemed me to be, the love stopped right there, only to be taken back into the loving energy when I was being ‘good’ again. Because of my childhood, I thought that was the way loved ones were supposed to act. Now as a parent, I can’t imagine doing that to my children nor to anyone else for that matter. Love is not a costume that we put on or take off at will. Loving someone in the true sense of love, is accepting them for who they are and not judging all the time. I love my sons when they are being ‘good’ and when they are not. I love them for who they are down deep and I love them with my whole heart and they know it. It is the one great thing I’ve done in my life. To truly love another human being, to accept them, faults and all, and to continue to love them even when they make mistakes, even when they speak their mind, even when they dare to challenge us to think outside our own limits is what love is all about ~ to forgive and truly forget is a gift we give the ones we love.
We are not here to judge others. What you do and what I do is separate. We can work in unison for a common cause, we can unite in love or we can separate in a non-loving way. What I ache for now, is peace in my life. I do not want to walk on a rocky road, worrying that a misstep will cause love to be taken from me. For once love is taken and then returned at will, at your will, it is not love. It is approval for which I do not seek.
I am a good person. I try hard to be peaceful, kind and loving. I try to spread sunshine and I do my best to live a good life. I know this for sure for I can lay my head on my pillow every night and sleep. Do I toss and turn sometimes? Absolutely. Have I made mistakes which I regret? Yup. Am I going to continue to berate myself over things that I have said and done and apologize to others continuously in order to be forgiven and pray for their approval? No, dearest ones, not anymore.
It’s not to say that I don’t love the people in my life. It’s that I’m finding that the authentic me who has been berated one too many times, is being freed, here and now. This girl whom was made to feel that she had to be good, to seek approval and to not make mistakes may make mistakes as she follows her heart, but they are her mistakes and not ones that were made intentionally. I am tired of the backlash from my mistakes and the judgments, the silent treatments and the cold love that was given and taken at will.
I wish we could all speak plainly, explain and be heard. I wish love softened hearts instead of making them walled up and judgmental. Live your own life, to the best of your ability. Be loving in all that you do. Speak your truth with kindness and understanding. Hold fast in the knowledge that you are one of God’s children, deemed perfect, whole and complete. Allow no one to break your peaceful, loving heart by words or actions. Allow others to be, to say, and to do what they wish without reprisal.
When you think about it, we are all just walking each other home. Why not make the trip with a loving connection, holding hands and hearts as we journey together on this path? Here’s my hand…
One of the many addictions people struggle with is approval addiction. I spend most of my life struggling with this terrible addiction but with God’s love I am breaking free, knowing now that I am valuable and worthy no matter what people think of me. We worry way too much about what other people think instead of just trying to be the best person we can be by helping others and spreading love around. Love does change people but it does take time and sometimes we don’t see the changes because they are small and slow. I have seen this in my own family from people I didn’t believe would change at all but they are becoming more compassionate and less judgmental, opening up to new ideas and expressing their emotions in a positive way. Change always takes time but I truly believe that love wins out in the end. Keep loving!!
Joyce Meyer wrote a book on Approval Addiction – she is one of my favourite authors and it is an excellent book.
Thank you for sharing your story with me. I will definitely look into that book to help me on my journey. You are so sweet! I hope you have the loveliest day! ♥
Best blog post ever! So so so so proud of you!
Thank you xo
Dig deep girl. I am in that trench with you. Thank you for the awesome reminder to care for me. Love you. M
Love you too M xoxo We can hold hands and do it together!
It takes courage to stand in our truth and do what is right for us! Well done Yvonne. Feel empowered by the new warrior within. It’s the only way to live 👍💕
Thank you! I think there are many who may have felt this way at one time or another. Now’s my time to change. xoxo
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