Don’t trade your authenticity for approval.
When you get divorced there are a surprising number of benefits that no one tells you about. It’s like a secret that after you come army crawling back from the shittiest of the shit, there is a treasure chest of advantages you never saw coming. Like when you are ready to lose your fricken mind because your daughter eats three things and you are out of dinner options … and then she goes to her dads for the weekend. Or you realize there is only one boy peeing on the toilet seat. For real, it’s a lot less clean up. And solitary dinners, don’t even get me started. You can eat WHATEVER YOU WANT and call it dinner. Wine and chips for dinner? Done.
My favorite benefit kinda snuck right up on me. After reports back from my home town of rumors set ablaze like a match to a dry haystack, I started to realize something. I had spent my entire life seeking approval of others, trying to be everyone’s favorite, the funniest, the smartest, the best helper … and just like that, I DIDN’T GIVE A FUCK. Sorry (not sorry) for the language, but there is not a better way to scream in a reader’s face than all caps and F words. And that was truly how I felt. It was so freeing to think, I don’t even KNOW these people talking shit about me, and if I do, we aren’t friends so WHO CARES. I mean, I had said this in my head and to other people hundreds of times, but to really FEEL it, WHOA.
Now before you get all crazy, realize I still care, deeply, about what my loved ones think, and mostly about how they feel, BUT to those people whose opinions don’t matter (and never did), I JUST DON’T CARE. I don’t need the approval of someone who is an outsider looking in. I don’t need the approval of someone who talks behind my back instead of asking questions to my face. I don’t need the approval of people who don’t like me or care enough to touch base with ME, instead of feigning concern to my extended family. I don’t need the approval of people who don’t pay my bills. I DON’T need the approval of people who are my Facebook “friends” and don’t even know my kid’s first names. And you know what? Neither do you.
Do you know why we so desperately seek the approval of people we hardly know? Why we go back frantically to our social media posts looking for “likes” and comments? Because we don’t trust ourselves, love ourselves. We want to be everything to everyone because THEN we are valued. Guess what, you can be everything to everyone, or think you are, and people will STILL gossip about you the second they get the chance. Because they don’t trust or love themselves.
Only when you can develop a sense of self-worth and practice (yes practice, trust me, still practicing) self-love, will you stop seeking that approval. Some people will like you. Some will love you, they are your tribe. And some people just aren’t going to GET you. They won’t like you. They may be jealous. They may make assumptions. They may judge. It’s ok. You are valuable, lovable, and worthy just because you ARE.
You are unique, and you have a unique purpose. Not everyone will be on the same level with you. Trust that your path is meant for you. Stop comparing to people who YOU may be making assumptions or judgements about. It’s ok, we all do it, but catch yourself and remember they are likely just trying to seek YOUR approval. Take a break from social media. I did for a month in May and I am planning a “no scroll” September! Most importantly listen to that inner voice saying, the only approval you need is within YOU. You know it’s true. There is nothing like loving yourself. Don’t wait for a divorce or an earth-shattering life event to acknowledge that YOU are YOU among 7.6 billion people in the world, and that in itself is worth holding your head high.