Sunday, August 29, 2004

Letting go of wanting your own approval

It is easy to see how important it is to be approved by those
people who matter most to you in your life. Family and friends
are the ones you turn to first in a time of crisis. You count on
them for support and encouragement and their approval of who you
are and what you do is deeply significant.

Ever had a time in your life when those closest to you
disapproved of your behavior? It is very uncomfortable is it not?
In a moment, peace of mind can vanish in a puff of smoke and you
crave approval more than anything else. This time in the
wilderness seems to last forever and when it is finally over the
newly earned approval of your peers feels just great.

This wanting approval can get out of control though. We can
easily extend this need for approval to all people we come into
contact with in our life. When we want and need approval
we encounter this lack of approval everywhere we go; the waiter
does not smile when he takes your order; the checkout operator
hardly looks at you; and your boss only compliments your work when
the moon is full and the first Tuesday of the month precedes a wet

All of a sudden life is a struggle, a constant battle to get other
people, all people, to like you and to approve of you. And the more
you want this approval the less you seem to get it.

What is the solution? The answer is to not be concerned about what
other people think of you. This can be achieved by approving of
yourself completely despite your past indiscretions, failings and
errors of judgment. When you totally accept and approve of
yourself you will have little interest in how other people view
you. If they like you *Great*, if they do not, that is their
choice and their loss.

There are many ways to boost your opinion of yourself. I have
discovered that just letting go of wanting your own approval works
really well. Simply ask yourself the following question:

Could I let go of wanting my own approval?

Sounds too simple to work. I know! It works if and only if you
ask the question with your attention on your feeling response not
on the answer that pops into your head. Our goal is to let go of
the limiting feelings, this is not a mental exercise.

Spend twenty minutes concentrating on this question. Ask the
question again and again, and each time just notice your feeling
response before asking the question again. After twenty minutes
you can expect to feel lighter and more at peace with yourself.
Your breathing may also change and it is likely to become deeper
and more relaxed.

The effect of letting go of wanting your approval is that you
release the limitations that stop you from approving of yourself
and you are left with what you wanted - your own approval.

You can also ask yourself the question, could I let go of wanting
my own approval?... anytime you need to communicate at your best
to make a good impression. Just say it softly to yourself under
your breath or quietly inside your head. Ask the question, notice
your feeling response, and repeat the process again and again.

By approving completely of yourself you will not be concerned
with winning the approval of your listeners and ironically
people will tend to reflect this approval back to you since they
will take you at your own value.

Now, go and prove this for yourself!

Could it get any better?