Do You Approve of Yourself?

“A man cannot be comfortable without his own approval.”   Mark Twain

So often we are seeking outside approval in order to feel worthy, accepting and happy with who we are. This may be a parent, a boss, a spouse, a friend, or in cases I have seen, from a child. This all tracks back to earlier years when perhaps the messages we got made us believe that we aren’t good enough, that we can’t do anything right, that we are not as good as a brother or sister, the list goes on. This message could have come from a parent or a teacher, in other words a significant adult. They may not have even said anything to us but we witnessed that we were being treated differently. We all have filters that we are seeing the world through and the observation that we are being treated differently, is seen through those filters. Those significant adults had no intention of hurting us and making us feel ‘less than,’ those around us. We see them get praise, we don’t notice when we get praise, because at some point we have set our system to see the majority of the negative comments ahead of the positive ones.

I was at a function last night where I was talking to a mother who was raving on about one of her children and noticing the negatives of the other 2. I said, “We all have our strengths.” But oh no, this mother disputed that about her son in particular. We all deal with those silent messages we are getting day in and day out from others and we can’t please everyone, not even your mother, I was seeing. I hasten to add that when I talked again to her later she repeated her comment and in her explanation I could see that it was coming from a place of concern for his future wellbeing. But you can see that we ‘can’t please everyone all the time.’ So how about reframing that and concentrating on pleasing yourself. Notice the positive, good things that you do, reframe the negatives e.g. “That’s not like me, I don’t usually behave like that, respond like that…… “ whatever works for you. Praise yourself when you do even a small thing well. Remember if we wait for others to give us approval we could be waiting for a while and if they do give it, they can also take it away. Do you want to wait for that?

Enjoy lifting your own spirits!

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