Do you ever find yourself looking for the approval of others? You’ve got a really great idea or some really good news and you can’t wait to share it with someone, anyone, so they can tell you how awesome your idea is; but more importantly how awesome YOU are? Yeah, me too! Thankfully I have amazing people in my life. Someone who I admire and respect reminded me, that the only person I need approval from.. is me.
While, it was very hard for my brain to process this simple fact, my heart knew immediately she was on point. Why do some of us search so desperately for the approval of others? I’m not sure your reasons, but I will share some of mine. Maybe it seems strange to you that someone like me, (who runs a corporate department managing 77 people, who also runs her own business and has successfully been a wife and mother for over 22 years) would have a need for approval in the first place. From the outside in it likely looks like she don’t need approval or acceptance from anyone.
I remember looking in the mirror as a young adult and making sure every thing I could see was in it’s perfect place. My hair, makeup, clothing even shoes, were my version of perfect; but also not too perfect so that I wouldn’t draw too much attention to myself. My children also needed to be well dressed, clean and proper. It was important to appear that I was worthy of acceptance and approval from the world.
As a woman, we are always moving fast ahead to get the job done. Whatever the job may be. We GSD from sun up to sun down and do it again tomorrow. We’ve been conditioned to be this way, after all if we want to be anything like the Proverbs 31 woman, we can’t sleep. We must keep going, be perfect, not complain and keep raising the standards.
Now that I am fast approaching becoming an empty nester, all of a sudden I am intentionally beginning to slow down and savor each moment that life so graciously offers me. In doing so, I have limited my daily distractions. You know, the ones that keep us busy; work, marriage, and motherhood. Slowing down has greatly shown me the holes that I haven’t attended to for a long time.
Things like, taking care of my self, owning my own value, loving myself for who I’ve become and yes, learning to accept myself as I am in this season of life. Of course, this is where my passion for teaching women how to care for themselves is rooted, because I have seen first hand how not taking care of ourselves leaves us with a huge void that we are sometimes are desperate to fill with anyone or anything that makes us feel whole again. The flip side of this, oh yeah, I’ve done this one too, it’s called hiding. Staying busy allows plenty of space to not be seen or heard but that’s for another time.
Over the years, I’ve done an ok job of extending self-compassion to myself. I didn’t know that’s what it was at the time, but I’ve always had a innate need to be true to who I am at my core. By comparison, some would disagree and say I’ve done a super great job, but of course I’m my biggest critic. As I’ve grown and expanded on my own journey, I’ve learned so much more about the impact, benefits and the risks of being true to your own needs and desires. My motto has always been, “we do better when we know better”. On my journey I’ve discovered that part of what I’ve allowed to hold me back was what has been ingrained in me by the wonderful religious leaders, I’ve known all my life.
The church, in general terms, is quick to teach us, especially women, that if we spend to0 much time caring for ourselves and doing what we need to to feel most like our true self, that its selfish behavior that will be damned to hell for the rest of your life. Yup, I’ve been there. In fact I can remember hearing often as a child how selfish I was, well duh, all children are selfish. I didn’t know that then, but I do know.
The point, we are selfish, our flesh is selfish and I believe we are carefully crafted to be just as we are. So what if we are selfish beings? Is that really all that terrible? Perhaps, a better way to say the message of the Bible would be, know who you are so that you can pour out of your excess to others. So many of women are empty, they’ve given all of their power away. You can’t give from an empty well.
For years I had to live in fight or flight mode so that I would make it through the tough things that life was handing out. I’ve finally made it through the storm and now I’m learning to live in the present. I’m current. Learning not to worry about what others think or see when they look my direction. No more shame. No more need for others to accept me.
Today when I look in the mirror, I see a whole woman. Yes, she has extra stored energy on her hips, thighs and belly. But every ounce of that is earned. This body has been through a lot. It’s temporary and won’t be there forever. Rather, I see a beautiful, kind, compassionate, passionate, caring, fiercely loving woman who loves herself first. She is enough, she accepts herself because she knows who she is, who she is not, and she shows up everyday to offer her best to the world.
So let me ask you this, who do you see when you look in the mirror? Need help finding the beautiful person hiding on the inside? Are you ready to let her out to own her value, to be seen and heard? Let’s chat and give you your voice again.