Gaining Approval or Acceptance

Acceptance with heartsThe need for approval kills freedom!

The need to get people to like you or approve of you can influence all of your choices in life and needing the approval of others can create a great deal of anxiety, because you must always be perfect – overachieving – hoping not to be criticized. The need for approval results in doing too much, feeling anxiety, worrying, being unable to stop agonizing over challenges, trying to please everyone, and working too hard.

It means constantly pushing yourself and sometimes spending too much time on projects for work or events at home – aiming for perfection. But you can become so involved with making things perfect that you don’t enjoy them. Not work, not your social life, or your home which you’ve worked so hard to make perfect.

Or, you’re always creating challenges. You may procrastinate, or avoid doing certain things, causing anxiety and fear, and getting stuck in worry .

This is eating up your whole life.

Spending your life doing this is a waste of time.

Instead, pay attention to how the need for approval is keeping you from growing. You may be stuck in a bad relationship or doing work you don’t really enjoy – causing you to do too much instead of only what is important – and creating a distraction from discovering what really matters to you.

This can get in your way when you are given new opportunities at work or with friends and family.

Ultimately, what others think of you has little impact on your decision-making about how to spend your time. Your performance should come from other motivational factors, such as being aware of what is important to you, what drives you, and what makes you happy.

You can start by getting in touch with what really matters to you. By listening to what you really want in your life and acting to make it happen.

Life becomes much more effortless when you are living in alignment with what is important to you.


The Shoulda, Coulda, Wouldas

The Shoulda, Coulda, Woulda Card from Deborah Koff-Chapins Soul Cards deck.

The Shoulda, Coulda, Woulda Card from Deborah Koff-Chapins Soul Cards deck.

We spend a lot of time beating ourselves up, thinking we should have handled a situation differently, wondering if things could have been better if we made another choice, wishing we would have taken another path.

Some people call this regret. I call it the shoulda, coulda, wouldas.

I’ve used a bunch of different Tarot decks over the past 25 years, but the ones I use now are called Soul Cards. I love that each image is open to the interpretation of the reader and the person receiving the reading.

One of the cards that comes up a lot during readings is what I call the Shoulda, Woulda, Coulda card. It has three frightful faces that look like they are yelling and admonishing you. When it appears, it tells me  that the person I am doing the reading for is not  living his or her life for themselves, but doing everything they can to meet the expectations of others. These people are prisoners of their own life, seldom doing what they want to do. And when they do try to breakout of their belief system, they beat themselves up  by saying I shoulda done this, I coulda done that, if I woulda have done this.

Try breaking out of your mold more often by taking risks. They don’t have to be big risks – I’m not asking you to tackle Mount Everest – but try taking little ones if you’re afraid of leaving your comfort zone. For example, if you’re shy, try smiling at the grocery store checkout person next time you’re in line. If you are uncomfortable in large groups, seek out another loner, (there’s always at least two at big gatherings,) and say hi. If you want to lose weight, but are afraid of working out in front of others, dance around your house for fifteen minutes.

Take risks! Let go of what you think everyone wants you to be. When you get an idea explore it. Listen to that little inner voice that says “go for it”. At least you’ll know what the outcome was instead of wondering for the rest of your life, if you shoulda, coulda, woulda.