You don’t know what you want.

You won’t know until you face the fact you have a problem.

Emotional eaters struggle with extra weight. Alcoholics deal with blackouts and hangovers. Smokers smell bad and cough. Gamblers lose money.

But, you… You’re just stuck.

You decided to be a lawyer because dad wanted you to be a lawyer. You watch your kids play every day but you do very little of it yourself. You dread going to parties because of the sheer energy it takes to maintain a persona that is nothing like Who You Really Are.

It takes one to know one.

A long time ago I decided I needed to seem smart. So I learned to speak Japanese. I figured out how to write computer programming languages. I got a masters degree. I became a policy analyst.

The time and energy it took to accomplish these things served as a decoy from reality – what I really knew about myself on a deeper level. I had no interest in computer programming or politics or East Asian languages. I loved to dance and create art and read self help books. I couldn’t remember a number to save my life.

I was not smart in the way I thought I needed to be. So I rejected the real me and just worked harder at being more impressive in the eyes of others.

Face it. You just want to assist, amaze, inspire, impress, persuade, and influence. All in an effort to avoid knowing what it is you really know. And all at the expense of your dreams.

Take away all that time and energy, you face a big giant scary void. There will be time to think about what to do with the day when you’re not helping, complimenting, impressing, overanalyzing, comparing, measuring, projecting or self flagellating.

The time and energy you expend approval seeking distracts you from this truth. You may be stuck but at least you’re comfortable. Your approval addiction is convenient and familiar. But please know it’s a decoy.

Because as long as you keep doing what you’re doing, you don’t have to admit you have dreams. You don’t have to feel the pain, the yearning. You don’t have to move towards what you really want.

You can continue to hide behind the fact that you don’t really know what you want.

But make no mistake, the only one you need to assist, amaze, inspire, impress, persuade and influence is you.

And to do that, you need to know what you want.

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3 Responses

  1. Liz says:

    I suspected I was seeking approval for things like important decisions at work. What I didn’t realize was that I am seeking approval for almost everything. Even from my THREE year old in matters such as what to have for dinner and whether or not I have time to read him a story when I drop him off at preschool. Crazy!

  2. Amy says:

    Liz! So true. I catch myself approval seeking with my kids too! I have to remind myself that it’s not about being their best friend. Helps me set healthy boundaries. Thanks for sharing!!!

  3. Jen says:

    wow. struck straight to heart.

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