How The Need For Approval Can Hold You Back From Living A Life You Love
Welcome to another edition of my Weekly Journal! I use this space to share about my journey from lawyer to jewelry business owner. In this week's journal entry I want to talk about the unconscious need for approval. Are you more attached to receiving approval than pursuing happiness? I find this is a big blind spot for people in high-level positions in particular who got straight A's all their lives and went to top colleges and grad schools. It used to be a big blind spot for me. Becoming aware of this issue is one of the keys to unlocking happiness and creating a life you love.
Let's jump right in and get deep here. For me in particular, I grew up with a father who rewarded success at school. To be honest, it was hard to get his attention and "approval" (i.e. love) in other ways. So I think I grew up thinking that I needed to get straight A's and be a high achiever to gain the "love" of my father. Totally false, but as a kid you don't know any better. If, into adulthood, you remain unaware of this root cause and underlying belief like I did, it can translate into things like this: let me get into an Ivy League college, let me go to law school, let me get the best six-figure lawyer job I can...all to prove I'm worthy...all to earn the "love" of my father. Perhaps you have had a similar experience.
When you spend a lifetime chasing "approval" you miss out on a lot. You deny yourself the beautiful experience of pursuing your own unique goals and the pathways that would lead to your happiness. Instead, you spend your energy chasing things other people want for you. This leads to feelings of frustration and unhappiness but, most of all, it leads to a feeling of emptiness. Have you ever strived for a goal only to achieve it and feel kind of empty? That's what I'm talking about here. If you're someone who strives and achieves, but never feels satisfied or inner peace or true happiness, you might be dealing with this issue. You might feel empty when you achieve a goal because it's really someone else's goal (for example, perhaps it is your parent's goal for you to get a high level position with a six-figure salary).
So once you're aware of this issue, where do you go from there? I believe the next step is writing down your own dreams and goals. This sounds a lot easier than it is. People with this issue often have a hard time verbalizing what they really want out of life because they've never really thought about it. They've spent their entire lives chasing dreams belonging to their parents or pursuing goals forced upon them by society and they've never even determined what they want. That was me! I saw a therapist for some time as a lawyer to talk through this issue (and others). Don't feel ashamed if you resonate with this paragraph - therapy has never been more accessible than it is right now. You can even talk to a therapist from the comfort of your own home these days. Remember, becoming aware of an issue is half the battle! So if this journal entry resonated with you, recognize that you're already half-way there.
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P.S. Are you on Pinterest? I'm in the process of creating a Weekly Journal board on Pinterest so you can easily navigate all of my journal entries. I only have a few weekly journal entries on the board right now, but I'm adding more on a weekly basis. You can view and follow the board by clicking here. I've written so much about quitting my lawyer job to start g+h over the past couple years and I want to make it easier for you to read the entries that resonate most!
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