I used to want to lose weight. It didn’t matter how much I weighed. I always wanted to lose a few more pounds. I thought other people were nicer to me when I was thin.

Now I’m at my natural weight. I got there by treating myself nice. (And who wants to be around someone who treats you nicer because you’re thin anyway…?)

I used to buy clothes to impress a really stylish friend. If she liked my outfit then I could consider myself stylish too.

Now I buy what I like and what makes me happy. I could care less what she thinks. (Plus I was getting sick of wearing high heals.)

I used to expect my husband to buy me things. If he didn’t get me gifts, he didn’t care, I thought.

Now I know there are hundreds of ways he shows his love for me all the time – I couldn’t see this before when I was so focused on my expectations of him. (And nagging him until he finally bought me a present always felt like shit anyway.)

I used to take an inventory every year on my birthday. Who called? Who sent me a card? I believed it was a good year when a got lots of attention on my birthday. When I didn’t, I felt horrible.

Now I feel loved no matter what. I don’t worry when someone forgets my birthday because I don’t make it mean they don’t love me.  (And I always have a great birthday!)

I used to spend a lot of my time doing volunteer and humanitarian work so people would respect and admire me.

Now when I do something nice for someone else, I do it out of love. ( And I don’t care if another soul knows about it.)

I used to be a “perpetual student,” working my ass off to earn the highest grades. I loved to impress my teachers because I thought it meant I was smart.

Now I don’t waste my time trying to impress my teachers and mentors. When I worry about their impression of me it distracts me from being myself. (And I just end up using big words I don’t really understand.)

I used to love speaking Japanese in public places because I thought other people would think I was smart if they heard me speaking it.

Now I  enjoy studying languages but I speak to connect with other people not impress them. (It was too much work trying to find the most visible spot at the coffee shop anyway.)

I used to obsess when someone didn’t like me. I got angry and worried about what I did to make a bad impression.

Now I realize that half the time, most people really could care less. And the other half? Well now I don’t even worry about it – they’re not my tribe and that’s okay. (And I can be a lot more relaxed when I forget to wear deodorant.)

I used to make excuses — I’m too busy; I’m too overwhelmed; I don’t know how to do it; I have to do it perfectly — when I was afraid to fail. I believed that if I failed other people would judge me.

Now I know that failure is not scary afterall. It’s how we get to where we want to go. Instead of worrying about how other people will see me, I feel proud of myself for having the courage to take a chance. (And if I happen to look silly jogging around an indoor mall with a baby stroller, so be it.)

I used to base my career choices on how much prestige was associated with the job. I thought that other people would look up to me if I could flaunt an impressive business card.

Now I have the job of my dreams (And I realize that any respect or admiration I would have gotten from a business card would have been based on a big fat lie anyhow.)


How would your life be different if you were not addicted to approval?  Check out my latest telecourse!

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3 Responses

  1. Amy,

    This is great. I love how you have shown your growth and you are an example of what is possible!

  2. Carol Haralson says:

    Hi Amy!

    I love this post! I, myself, have been coming to all these same conclusions…and really, really, liking myself and others much more! I found your site through your comment on http://www.tonyaleigh.com – I loved your quote “You know what happens when you don’t take a chance? Nothing!”

    I will definitely be checking out your site and following!

    Thank you for your insight & sharing!


  3. Angela M. Davey says:

    Thanks for posting your thoughts on how it used to be for you and how it is now. It spells: GROWTH.

Leave a Reply to Carol Haralson