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#NOTthatkindofday: Self-Approval

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“Love is the essential ingredient. Without it, sex is meaningless, approval is bribery, and success is short-lived.”

We ‘approval whores’ are people who will do anything to get affirmation and acceptance from others. We’re similar to crack whores, only more dysfunctional. At least drug-addicted prostitutes know they’re not being virtuous when they sell themselves to get high. Approval whores like me, on the other hand, tend to think that we’re being good (saintly! angelic!) when we let others have their way with us in exchange for a hit of praise. The people in our lives are likely to reinforce our sickness, because we’ll do pretty much anything to please them, and what’s not to love about that?

Being dependent on approval—so dependent that we barter away all our time, energy, and personal preferences to get it—ruins lives. It divorces us from our true selves, precludes real intimacy, and turns us into seething cesspools of suppressed rage (of course, I mean that in a nice way).

Most of us want to be liked.  We want other people to think of us as nice, friendly, kind and loving.  Most of us want the approval of others. 

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Since childhood, some of us have been trying to get approval, trying to get people to like us and think highly of us.  We may be afraid people will leave us if they disapprove of our actions  We may look for approval from people who have nothing to give.  We may not know that we’re lovable now and can learn to approve of ourselves.

Pleasing others is like sex: When we do it because we really want to, it’s a wonderfully life-affirming way to strengthen a relationship, but when it’s motivated by obligation, powerlessness, or calculated advantage, it’s the very definition of degrading. The key to an authentic emotional life, like the key to an authentic sex life, is to follow your real desires.

In order to live happily, to live consistently with the way our Higher Power wants us to live, and to tap into a way of life that is in harmony with the universe, we need to let go of our extreme need for approval.  These unmet needs for approval and love from our past give others control over us today.  These needs can prevent us from acting in our best interest and being true to ourselves.

We can approve of ourselves.  In the end, that’s the only approval that counts.

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Here’s a 3-Step Plan:

  • Real desire!?  Anything we do solely to please others, in the absence of either real desire or moral necessity, is a way of selling ourselves, our lives, our energy.  Ask yourself whether the dose of approval you expect to gain from this behavior is worth losing a piece of the real you.  I’d be the last one to judge you if the answer is yes. 

  • Get approval for getting disapproval. One of the best ways to break your dependency on approval is to set up a situation in which the only way to get approval is to get disapproval.  To use this strategy, call a friend, tell her you’re going out to get some disapproval, and ask her to lavish you with praise afterward. It works even better if you have several people—your best buddies, your therapy group, your sewing circle—waiting to hear the tale of your rebellion. The genius of the technique is that whether or not you carry through with your intentions, someone is going to disapprove. Learning to deal with that could prevent a lifetime of selling out.

  • Agree to disagree. When approval whores disagree with others, we react by not reacting. Instead of voicing our real position, we smile, nod, make cheerful mumbling sounds.  Next time someone voices an opinion that contradicts your own, don’t play dumb. Voice your thoughts and see what happens. At worst, you’ll weaken a bond that wasn’t authentic. At best, you’ll find that you can disagree with someone and still be loved. This is the way to build genuine relationships instead of tentative, bartered alliances based on the currency of compliance.

*These strategies won’t eradicate your desire for approval or the anxiety you feel when disapproval comes your way. What they will do is give you practice accepting such desire and anxiety without relinquishing your integrity!

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Today, I will let go of my need for approval and my need to be liked.  I will replace them with a need to like an approve of myself.  I  will enjoy the surprise I find when I do this!  The people who count, including myself, will respect me when I am true to myself.

 

September

Like a vine in September, we hold onto new structures, climbing toward new goals, and enjoy the fertile fruits of our labors.

September takes its name from the Latin prefix sept, meaning “seven,” because until 153 BCE it was the seventh month of the then 10 month celendar. Even when the calendar changed, September kept its proud name. September is also known as Muin or Vine, the Celtic tree month that goes from September 2 to 29. The magical associations of Vine month include fertility, prosperity, and binding. Just as vines can creep into everything and bind onto outside structures, September is a month in which we creep into new environments and bind onto structures. Kids of all ages pack up and go back to school this month, back to structure and learning, tests and scores. Parents shift gears, too, imposing more structure on their kids, with earlier bedtimes and functional routines, plus falling into routines of their own: packing lunches, reviewing homework, and reading together.

#Journal: Remember this month to take time to celebrate your accomplishments. Identify what you have achieved over the summer and vow to hold on tightly to the structures that can support wild creativity. September is a time for all this.

Llewellyn’s Witches’ Almanac 2014, Dallas Jennifer Cobb

Self-Karma

When will we become loveable? When will we feel safe? When will we get all the protection, nurturing, and love we so richly deserve?

…We will get it when we begin giving it to ourselves.

- BEYOND CODEPENDENCY

The idea of giving ourselves what we want can be confusing, especially if we have spent many years not knowing that it’s okay to take care of ourselves. Taking our energy and focus off others and placing that energy on to ourselves is a recovery behaviour that can be acquired. We learn it by daily practice.

We begin by relaxing, by breathing deeply, and letting go of our fears enough to feel as peaceful as we can. Then, we ask ourselves: What do I need to take care of myself today, or for this moment? What do I need and want to do?

Am I caught up in the belief that others are responsible for making me happy? Then I need to correct my belief system. I am responsible for myself.

Do I feel anxious and concerned about a responsibility I’ve been neglecting? Then perhaps I need to let go of my fears and tend to that responsibility.

Do I feel overwhelmed? Maybe I need a journey back to one of my first steps in recovery.

There is no formula for self-care. We each have a guide within us. We need to ask: What do I need to do to take loving, responsible care of myself? Then we need to listen to the answer. Self-care is not that difficult. The most challenging part is trusting the answer, and following through once we hear it.

Today, I will focus on taking care of myself. I will trust myself & Karma to guide me.

Rx: End-of-the-Week Love Myself Working Spell

Color of the Day: Purple
Incense of the Day: Orchid

Congrratulations! You made it through another week. Do you reward yourself with persistence in the face of adversity?

If you don’t have a date, then make one–with yourself. We live in stressful times, when the cell phone is on 24/7 and we can be contacted by work or involved in family or friend drama.

Turn off the cell. No, not vibrate! Just shut it off. Really! No interruptions! Take the night off.

Start with a movie or two and some take-out. Move on to pink candles and a relaxing bath soak in your favorite smells. How about a relaxing glass of wine, or your favorite drink? Finally, relax in bed with soft music and your favorite book or magazine til you fall asleep. You will be surprised how much better you will feel in the morning! This kind of personal attention works magic.

Llewellyn’s Witches’ Almanac 2014, Boudica

#Karma

Rx: Release Stress Through a Tree

Color of the Day: White
Incense of the Day: Apricot

When you are really stressed, it is helpful to use a tree to help ground you and relieve the stressful energy from your body. To do this, find a strong tree and sit at its base with your back leaning against the tree trunk. Breathe slowly and deeply and allow the tree to draw the harmful energy right out of you. In order to avoid polluting the tree’s energy with undo stress, you can recite this spell to help focus the transformation of the energy, thus freeing you while keeping the tree safe (you and the tree are the “we” in this spell):

Ancient tree, reaching down through the earth and up to the stars,

Scatter this stress, scatter it far.

Recycle the chaos; we’re free from this storm

And left with inner quiet and calm.

When you feel better, thank the tree before you leave.

Llewellyn’s Witches’ Almanac 2014, Michael Furie