The biggest discovery I have made so far about who I am and what have controlled my life up until now has been the fact that for some reason I have had a desperate need for approval from others!
My parents, bosses, friends, strangers, clients, colleagues! No matter who, I would find a way of getting their approval even if it meant going against what I believed in!
Going hand in hand with that was my need to avoid conflict at all cost even if the cost of that would be sacrificing my own beliefs!
I would happily find a way to agree with anybody regardless of their argument just to keep the peace.
From a positive point of view, this behaviour did teach me to find the good points in any argument, but ultimately it lead to a lot of pain in terms of losing my own identity and my self esteem and as a result I completely lost touch with who I was, what I liked in life and saw myself as nothing more than just being on this earth to serve others no matter what!
I am not after sympathy here, but my guess is that I am not the first person who has felt like this and I am pretty confident I won’t be the last and if, when you read this, you can associate with that feeling then I am here to tell you that there is a way out of this way of feeling.
I am not completely there yet but I can see light at the end of the tunnel!
I would love to give you a step by step guide to how I came to this realization, however, it has taken me quite a long time to get to this point and has involved a huge amount of reading and learning and asking myself a lot of questions. I will try my very best to explain how it happened for me and I hope that in doing so you may get an idea or think of questions to ask yourself.
Now in order for me to do this I will have to explain a little about myself and my family.
I have a younger brother, who is the kind of guy who always happens to be in the right place at the right time, who, from an outside point of view, seems to have nothing but luck coming his way and, who, in addition to that have the good looks to go with it.
Now, I am not coming from a place of envy here (well not anymore!!!!) but I did start to question the fact that if we come from the same family and seemingly had the same loving upbringing then why did we turn out so different? Why did he seem to turn everything he touched to gold with hardly any effort and I had to work VERY hard for the same results or less?? I kept asking myself those questions and I also started to ask my parents about our upbringing and whether they had treated us differently in any way, which of course they denied, and only now do I realize that this may have been a fairly insensitive question to ask in the first place. I also tried to ask my brother similar questions because I wanted to find out how he managed to always get what he wanted and what went on in his head but of course he couldn’t give me a concrete answer.
All this is going on while I am learning about affirmations, the law of attraction, setting goals, visualising and the rest of it, a long time before “The Secret” surfaced.
As far as my brother is concerned I came to the conclusion that for him it happens subconsciously, which on one hand left me happy for him and on the other left me none the wiser as to why I didn’t have that automatic skill and how to develop it.
It came to a point where I hit rock bottom (Again – no sympathy please) and could not face the outside world let alone work and had to phone in sick, which in itself was extremely difficult because as soon as I had done so the guilt came flooding in.
For about 2 hours that morning I just sat still staring into thin air with thoughts flying around in my head not knowing what to do, not knowing how to get my life back together, already dreading the next day and this was at 8 in the morning.
I don’t mean to sound magical in any way but after those 2 hours of just staring into thin air something happened; I just grabbed a pen and an A4 notebook and started writing, and I wrote solidly for nearly 3 hours. (If you have read the Writing a Journal entry this is where my journal started.) It was like I was having a conversation with another part of myself and the answer I was looking for just came to me: I am 3 years older than my brother and for the first 3 years of my life I had the full attention of my parents; I was the most important person in their lives, I had 100% approval at all times no matter what I did.
Then My brother is born and all of a sudden I have to share all the attention and have to work for the approval, whereas he didn’t know any different.
I am aware that this sounds like text book psychology but this was the turning point in my life in the sense that for the first time I gained complete clarity on how I developed some of my behavioural patterns and it has helped me, not only become aware of them but more importantly find a way of changing them.
This happened 6 months ago and I still find myself slipping into the “trying to please” pattern now and again and my point is that a life long habit takes time to change but it WILL change as long as you are aware of when it occurs. Learn how to break it and most importantly persevere and never give up! The only approval you need is from YOU!
Once I have mastered that bit I will be back to let you know how.
Until then, feel free to email me with stories or questions or post a comment.