This week I’ve been thinking a lot about what it means to be authentically yourself. Letting those creative vibes flow without hesitation.
Oftentimes, before making big leaps into the unknown, contemplating our next moves or standing out on the ledge of uncertainty, our default response is to seek out what’s comfortable.
Before taking any substantially resonate action, we almost always revert to a subconscious need for external approval. We seek validation and confirmation to determine if our ideas, thoughts, feelings, beliefs, actions or dreams are ‘right’ for us.
The reason I chose to break down this topic for discussion is because this habit is so freakin’ prevalent. Sometimes, it really does stop or deter us from taking actionable steps towards experiences meant for us. It’s so easy to fall into ‘checking’ before going after that big dream, making a major life change or completely altering ingrained perspectives.
Why is it so easy for me to describe, you ask? Cause I do it too, ya’ll.
The best thing we can do to combat this? Take ownership.
Let’s dive in…
Keep in mind that when asking others for their opinions or advice about your thoughts, your feelings, your ideas, your dreams, your goals…they are just that: YOURS.
As much as we’d like to correlate external approval with success potential, these two concepts are not the same. Behavioral patterns of seeking validation, before taking intentional action, does not serve you. It delays you from discovering what is necessary to move forward.
This inadvertent, self-sabotaging behavior is the situational roadblock our mind creates, designed to keep us ‘safe’. Many of us subconsciously seek approval, so that we can generate ‘reasons’ to stop doing the things that place us outside of our comfort zones. In turn, this ‘self-preservation’ mechanism serves as a deterrent from anything that challenges our previously formed set of rules, habits and beliefs.
And not all subconsciously created rules, habits and beliefs are beneficial. Trust me, I’m currently operating with plenty that no longer serve me.
If you want a different outcome, you have to do something different.
Finding the courage to take action means consciously identifying and transforming patterns of rules, habits and beliefs that hold us back from being successful or taking action.
The concept of external approval, validation and confirmation really is crazy when we say it outloud.
Here’s what it looks like:
- Placing someone else’s opinion of yourself above your own.
- Allowing the judgment of someone (who lacks the first-hand experiential context of what it means to live your unique life) to drastically alter your own truth.
- Seeking confirmation, validation, or approval [from someone else] on our own past, present or future decisions, actions and experiences.
Simply put, I’ll tell you why this ‘self-preservation’ mechanism doesn’t serve you: This person isn’t you.
This is not to say that we aren’t all interconnected. This is not to say that perspectives and feedback aren’t valuable. It is to say that your opinion of yourself, about yourself, should be the most valuable one to you.
Why, you ask? Because right now, at this moment, this person is not inhabiting your body (physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually) – YOU ARE.
Someone can empathize, guess, guide and encourage the ideation of what they interpret as ‘your truth’. But, they can’t know it in entirety, or choose it, because we ultimately determine the fate of our own free will.
Say it with me: ‘I know myself best.’
You, and you alone, are responsible for yourself.
You could have *the biggest hype squad* known to mankind, but if you don’t give yourself the external things you’re seeking (the validation, the approval, the confirmation) you’re going to be playing one long, excruciating waiting game of: ‘Can I do this now?’.
If we’re constantly looking outside of ourselves, it will be a long time before we feel certain enough to take any action.
It’s common for a lot of us to be searching for ‘that moment’ telling us it’s ‘okay’ to go after what we want. Mostly because we’ve grown so accustomed to requesting specific forms of ‘permission’ before just going for it.
We’ve all heard the following internal thoughts before pursuing a new venture, dream or goal –
Examples of Permission-Based Thought Patterns:
- ‘I’ll do it when it feels right..’
- ‘What will [ ] think about this?’
- ‘Maybe [ ] was right, I shouldn’t..’
- ‘Maybe [ ] has a point, it’s not..’
- ‘Maybe [ ] would say I’m not..’
- ‘I shouldn’t do this because [ ] will say..’
- ‘I shouldn’t do this because [ ] will think..’
- ‘I’ll wait until..’
I’m going to let you in on a little secret —
That epiphany moment you’re waiting for? The one that will suddenly call you into life-altering, purposeful action? That moment does not exist.
People wait their whole lives for that moment, not realizing –
That moment is RIGHT NOW – that moment is EVERY MOMENT; a series of moments strung together, creating a masterpiece. And it starts when you decide it does. When you continue to take action, everyday, in each moment towards living your truth.
But I get it, I do…
You still want ‘the sign’; you still want the ‘aha! moment’. The one that propels you into unstoppable, self-assured, permissible action towards living the life of your dreams.
Okay, here it is:
Ultimately, we are here to create. So, the moment you came into this world; the moment you were born and were given the gift of life? That WAS ‘the sign’. That WAS the ‘aha! moment’. That was your green light, baby! (No pun intended).
Here’s the funny thing about external advice, opinions, judgment, criticism + feedback regarding your truth –
As much as the people may mean well or have the best intentions, there is one simple thing to remember: Everyone is operating with a completely unique set of rules, habits, beliefs and experiences in accordance with their life path. No two paths are 100% alike.
If you’re seeking approval, opinions or validation from somewhere other than within, you’re getting tailored advice from the person you’re asking, about the person you’re asking.
They will tell you everything you never needed to know about their self-efficacy, self-worth, core values, moral compass and sets of rules, behavior patterns, and beliefs that have shaped their life up until this point; the ones that have kept them safe or given them the greatest risk + reward of all time.
This is the space from which solicited (or unsolicited) external advice originates. The interesting part about the advice, opinion, judgment or feedback? Surprisingly, it won’t have a single thing to do about you.
The feedback may or may not be helpful; it could align with your own truth or may not resonate at all. What’s important to understand is that what is spoken will be their truth; the opinions/perspectives/advice based on their beliefs about themselves, their worldview, their life purpose, experiences, core values and moral compass.
Therefore, if an exchange breeds negativity or animosity within, pay attention to how that advice/opinion makes you feel (and why – there’s growth to be had there). However, do not take on an external truth and carry it around with you everywhere like a weighted blanket – if it does not serve you. *ESPECIALLY in regards to your dreams, hopeful new ventures and creative ideas.
Sometimes external advice can be eye-opening, revelatory; awakening or confirming a truth that resonates deep within. Other times it can leave us confused, doubting our own abilities, questioning our own goals/dreams and even delaying or negating progressive action.
As much as someone can have the best intentions or be coming from a place of love; as much as we trust others and as helpful as advice can be, do not put your self-worth, self-efficacy, self-confidence in the hands of someone else.
And for the love of all that is good in this world, never take on the emotional weight of someone else’s assessment regarding your potential, skills, abilities or ideas.
There are SO many successful people out there, who have done amazing things, who were told by others that they should give up their dreams, not try, or have had their developing talents dismissed at varying stages of growth. Can you imagine if they listened?
Don’t let this be the reason you stop or never start.
Your inner voice is where the magic’s at. Ultimately it’s not so much the ‘advice you seek’, but the meaning you give it and the thoughts that you feed, which can lead to cycles of inspiration or inaction.
If you have an inclination to step outside of your comfort zone and are daring to try something new; if you want to pursue an advantageous goal, and if you are falsely waiting on a ‘sign’ for the right moment to take action…
Let me save you some time and say – just go for it. The only thing stopping you is your own fear.
And remember that sometimes the most discouraging things, are not so much ‘outside’ of us, as they are the internal thought patterns, beliefs and habits derived from the meaning we give things and perspectives we feed.