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"Stop sacrificing the person you were meant to be to accommodate someone else's comfort."
-----------Read that again!... and maybe once more!----------
I said this to a friend when she called me a few days ago. She was hysterical and second-guessing herself. She had decided that she wanted to change her career path, and was upset that her mom had pointed out all of the things that could go wrong, and how she was setting herself up for failure.
Y'all, this story resonated so deep. I felt like I was seeing a younger version of myself in her. I use to be the girl that held herself back because I was afraid of stepping out of OTHER PEOPLE'S comfort zones and insecurities, and stepping into the life that was made for me.
As humans, we tend to hold ourselves back from reaching our full potential because we let other people's insecurities and fears determine our outcomes. We all have a need to feel validated, accepted, and supported in the decisions we make. Sometimes it's as simple as trying a new restaurant, and other times it's as big as moving across the country to change career paths.
We seek and receive acceptance and validation in our everyday conversations, through Facebook likes, and Instagram hearts. It encourages us when we have tons of positive affirmation and it discourages us and feeds self-doubt when we don't receive the acceptance and validation we are seeking.
I have read a million or so blogs on this particular subject (Ok, maybe not a million, but you get the idea). Almost every single one that I've read tells you to stop seeking acceptance and validation, to know your self-worth, and to tune out the advice of the world.
Y'all, I am going to step out on a ledge here and tell you that I feel that is bullshit advice!
Whoa, Whoa, Whoa... calm down let me explain.
There is a little truth in that advice.
I am a huge supporter of self-love, self-worth, and living life to the beat of your drum, BUT I am also a semi-realist, and seeking acceptance and validation is an instinct that we are born with. If I told you to stop, I would be setting you up for failure. I don't believe the key is to stop seeking acceptance and validation but instead to learn how it affects you and your decisions. You need to learn how you are processing the information. From there, you can determine what kind of role it plays, and if you are living your life in other people's comfort zones.
I know there is one or two of you reading this that are saying "I don't need validation from anyone." Odds are, most of the time you are seeking acceptance and validation, and you aren't even aware of it.
Social Media is a huge place where this is happening.
I saw a post on Facebook just yesterday, and a woman was ranting about her cheating husband and asked the famous Facebook world if she should stay and try and work it out or leave him. There were no less than 150 comments. As I nosily scrolled through them, I realized a few things.
- None of the comments were based on fact or knowledge.
- This woman was seeking validation in whatever her decision would be from strangers that truly know nothing more than a three sentence Facebook post.
- At the end of the day, she is the only one that will have to live with that decision. In the heat of the moment, all of those comments and posts probably felt so validating and accepting. She was in such a mentally vulnerable state, and was getting life-altering advice from people that it won't affect at all.
This is something the world is guilty of. Usually, we know deep down what we want/need to do, and what we are comfortable doing, but we reach out because we want validation and acceptance in our decisions.
There are so many opinions and so many voices in this world. You must understand that all of those voices and opinions are built on personal experiences, comfort levels, and insecurities. Once you understand that, you can filter through the noise and opinions, and take away the valid information.
Instead of focusing on how to stop seeking approval, acceptance, and validation, let's instead focus on how we react.
Don't take it so personally.
Most of the time the person questioning your decisions or pointing out all of the things that could go wrong are coming from a place of fear, and maybe even love. People are scared of the unknown, and tend to hold you back with fear of the things that could go wrong. Love can also be a dangerous thing, because we never want to see the people we love get hurt. If we can keep them where we are comfortable, we know they aren't in danger. Keep in mind that their personal experiences are NOT YOURS!
Just because it didn't work for them doesn't mean it won't work for you.
Remember that other’s opinions are based on their own experiences. Relying on someone else successes or failures diminishes your power and confidence in your abilities. It won't work if you never try.
In all seriousness, I am an Aries, and I love to come up with outlandish ideas and just jump all in. This usually results in 75 percent failure rate, and I can hear all those little naysayers with their "I told you so's." Though that failure rate is pretty high—the life experiences I have gained have been a 100 percent win! Also, that 25 percent success rate usually comes from those real-life experiences :). I have found a great amount of joy in being able to say "but that's your experience, and now I have a story of my own."
BOUNDARIES! BOUNDARIES! BOUNDARIES!
You need to establish boundaries in your mental space. As I stated earlier, it is human nature to seek validation and acceptance, but it is important that you set some boundaries. If you start to notice other's opinions are holding you back, it is OK to draw a hard line in the sand. Remove the negative people that are constantly in your news feed. Stop calling and asking for advice from people that are too scared to live life. People's opinions should be background noise that helps to guide you when you really need guidance. If it is encouraging you, turn it up louder. If it is holding you back, TURN IT OFF! I don’t give life to the negative voice in my head, and I sure as shit don't have the mental space for someone else's. Finding your purpose, and not what someone thinks your purpose should be, is so important. Make the quality of energy that you have around you align with your goals.
If people don’t agree then so be it, it has no hold on YOU or the life that you were meant to live. THIS IS YOUR LIFE. Set some mental boundaries, have your own voice, be confident in your decisions, chase those dreams, but most importantly stop living your life in other's comfort zones!
This is YOUR life, YOUR dreams, and YOUR experiences. Start living it in YOUR comfort zone! Your life experiences are what is going to build you. Even if it seems that someone shares a similar experience, IT IS NOT YOUR JOURNEY. Listen to their stories, embrace their experiences, and then take your own trip and come out with your own story. Do not be scared of doing things. Mistakes are how we learn, and no one is getting out of here alive anyway.
Until next time,