Identifying approval seeking behaviors in order to live with purpose.
It's not surprising that many people walk around looking for acceptance. From an early age we are ushered into a world with rules, structure, 'approved curriculm' and are graded on our performance and how well behaved we are.
Where are my 'talks too much in class' people at?!
Our purest essence and being, doesn't want a container. It craves freedom, expression, love, and the opportunity to color outside the lines.
As life begins to take over, it becomes very clear that in order to 'survive' we must begin working, making money, and the rating system continues. Depending on where you are in this journey, it isn't uncommon for our entire identity to become formed based on what we do for a living.
So, let's talk about 'container living' for a second. A phrase that just sparked into my mind at this very moment when thinking about how easy it is to become trapped into a set of norms, and perceived judgements about how we show up and live our lives.
So how is it that we are expected to develop authentic power and confidence, while simultaneously in a state of survival and living up to other people's expectations? That's the question we are going to explore today.
I am not talking about living in a state of constant rebellion either, because, believe it or not - that still puts the power in someone else's hands.
First up? Authentic power.
Authentic power stems from a deep sense of knowing yourself, who you are, what your personal standard is, and what aligns with your core values. It shifts your locus of control internally vs. externally.
More often that not, those who are operating from a place of authentic power - create an energy that is magnetic. It stands out when they enter a room, when they speak, and in every move. It's a signature mark, divinely aligned with personal integrity and grounded confidence.
Who doesn't want more of that?
This divine essence is accessible within all of us - just waiting for an outlet. There are a few ingredients that are critically important in the transformation to authentic power.
I want to start with purpose. Cultivating a sense of purpose in our lives, is often directly connected to our life's work - simply put, the mission on earth we were sent here to complete. The road is long and winding, and many times going through hardship is precisely what is needed to inch us closer to our destined path.
The key to authentic power and truth, is that it isn't completely tied up in a title or a role you play in your life. Because, through a variety of circumstances, those roles can be taken away in an instant. They are not guaranteed.
It is imperative that you take some time to separate the identities created through the roles you play, and truly put away any deep connection to those roles. It doesn't mean they aren't important and don't 'mean the world to you' it simply shifts them from being your identity, to a choice you make on a daily basis.
Seems counter intuitive right? Let me explain.
Those roles, believe it or not, are choices. Choices, are variables. If we build an entire identity on a variable, we are giving away our power and setting ourselves up for a potential identity crisis.
I am going to describe this with a specific example, and as you read this - I want you to feel the difference not only in your thoughts, but in your body. What feels do these statements bring up?
Filter 1: Mother May I
I am a wife, mother of two, Vice President of Marketing who has been striving for career growth and advancement since I was able to start working. This recognition through advancement has been the highlight of my career and life, allowing me to take care of my family and feel a personal sense of accomplishment.
Filter 2: I already am
I am of authentic power. The way I choose to show up every day is in alignment with who I am, my personal integrity and a deep understanding of what brings me joy and love in my life. My choice to explore a career that creates opportunities for my creative expression, has cultivated an outlet for my passion. In doing so, abundance flows for myself and my family.
The first filter is a common one, and one that leads to burn out. It puts the power of identity into the roles we 'play' and the constant striving for advancement becomes 'the why'. This is an exhausting route and keeps us in a state of trying to 'be' versus just being. It's also deeply tied to ego and expectations.
The differences are subtle, but they are extremely impactful. Filter 2 comes from a place of deeper knowing. An understanding that there is more to life than just income, title and family 'status.' It doesn't negate those things being of importance but it shifts the energy back to home base - YOU. YOU show up every day and make choices. And yes, there are times that are a matter of survival - and I think back to when I had my first child, struggling, needing assistance - not sure how I was going to get by on a daily basis.
These struggles and struggle mindset can still be present even when our circumstances change. They are deeply rooted in a survival instinct and potentially keep us in a state of fight or flight every single day.
Or maybe the flip side, you've never seen struggle - you don't really know what it is to experience this fear - and a sense of entitlement has crept in, 'I've arrived, pay me.'
To evolve into authentic power, one must shift their focus from their external circumstances - to themselves. And not in a selfish way, in a deeply curious way.
Some questions to ponder:
What choices have I made that aren't in alignment with what I really want?
Where am I seeking approval, or caring what others think - in a way that is keeping me from showing up authentically?
How many 'hats' do I wear? And am I willing to throw the notion of them away?
I want to stick with that last one. Throwing away the hats does NOT mean ditching your responsibilities. It means seeing your responsibilities as a personal choice, not an identity.
They don't define you, you define them.
As I mentioned, burnout lives in these hats. Lurking around every corner because you have served up your power on a platter, ripe for the taking.
Define your personal standard - let that be your 'evaluation'.
See your 'roles' as choices, and commit with your whole being if those choices are aligned with what you really want.
Create moments of magic in your daily life and shift from the lack 'I' state to an abundant 'we' state and recognize that you are here to make an impact.
What is the impact you are making or are ready to make?
Stop blaming the world around you for your feelings. No one else is responsible for them. This gives everything else your power, and keeps you in a state of deep down, approval seeking behaviors.
The goal is the journey, not the end state. If you don't work on cultivating a sense of purpose that aligns with your spirit, your entire entity is subject to crumble once one of the variables fades away.
What are you waiting for? If it doesn't challenge you, help you grow, give you an outlet for passion and is just a means to an end, what the heck is the end?
It doesn't mean it won't hurt, and allowing yourself to feel those feels is an important part of the journey - be sure to shift into curiosity. What has this taught me? Is this the very wake up call I needed?
Don't wait for the wake up call.
Don't wait for your health to dictate what you can and can't do.
Don't wait for your next performance appraisal to feel worthy.
Don't wait for someone else to provide your sense of purpose.
Don't wait for someone else to treat you in a way that you aren't even willing to treat yourself with. LOVE.
Do cultivate it now, today, in this moment - for you.
This is the ripple of authentic power that resonates with so many, because it's craved by so many.
YOU ARE ENOUGH.