The Covert Way You Put Yourself In The Passenger Seat
Recently I was having one of those wonderful moments of self-doubt that we’re all familiar with. I was lying in bed stressing about a situation I’m dealing with and how I was going to handle it. At that point I was really starting to question whether I was doing the right thing. Maybe I was overreacting and the ‘drastic’ measures I was considering to get on track were above and beyond what I deserved? Maybe I should just suck it up and deal with it the way it is?
I called someone close to me looking for a bit of a pep-talk and after I told them what was going on, they changed the topic and started talking about something else completely.
Whaaat? I reached out to someone to help me feel better, looking to get out of my funk and I ended up feeling worse, like they weren’t really interested in what I had to say at all.
This sent me even further into that black hole of self-doubt. YUCK!
Later that day a different friend of mine called and could tell I was down. While I was talking to her, it occurred to me that over my life whenever I have been questioning myself I have often gone looking for help or support in places where it just doesn’t exist. It’s not that these people I reach out to don’t support me or care about me, it’s just that the way they help or support doesn’t feel like support to me.
The person who I had called initially that changed the topic during the conversation was, in her way, trying to help me find a solution to something. That’s not what I needed in the moment – and regardless it was the best she could do.
Lesson learned. She’s not wrong for being how she is, she’s just not who I need to go to if I need a pep-talk. In the future I’ll go to her when I’m looking for a brainstorming session about solutions.
And back to the topic at hand… looking to outside sources for support – especially where it doesn’t exist.
I’d like to pretend that I’m not exactly sure why that has been my natural tendency, to consistently seek support where it doesn’t exist. The truth is that I know it’s an unconscious response from my inner-gremlin to keep me playing small; by looking for support from people who don’t support me then I get to question myself, stay anxious and insecure, not take any action, and everything stays the same… No change for me and my inner-gremlin to deal with.
The truth is, in moments like that, I’m not actually looking for support or help. I’m looking for someone to validate me, or stroke my ego and tell me I’m doing the right thing. I had been looking for approval… and approval is significantly different than support.
Looking for approval (from anyone) is really disempowering.
You’re putting all the power (your personal power) ‘over there with them’ to determine whether you’re worth it or not…
Good enough or not…
Smart enough or not…
Doing the right thing or not…
‘Whatever’ or not.
Seeking Approval = Disempowerment
The thing is, this is a really normal thing for us human beings to do in our lives… We get an idea about something: what we want to do/ have/ or how we feel, and we go around to our network looking for people to jump on our bandwagon and justify that we’re doing the right thing.
The example I’ve used here to illustrate this concept for the article is pretty concrete and tangible: I’m feeling insecure about a major decision I’m making and I look to a friend for validation. Clear. Simple. Easy to identify…
Consider that this type of situation (seeking approval) happens in life all the time:
You do something and then second guess yourself so you go to your friends for moral support; to rehash and go over the details to determine if you did the right thing (of course you did) and then justify why you did the right thing and the other relevant party is in the wrong or over reacting or whatever.
You feel something (angry, hurt, confused, insecure, a crush, etc.) and rather than just owning that feeling for yourself, you have to check it out with your people – gain consensus and set up a bandwagon for your supporters to jump on.
That’s not the worst thing you can do for yourself and your life however, it’s a guaranteed way to never be fully responsible for what’s happening in your life.
If things go sideways for you and it turns out you made a poor decision or your feelings weren’t leading you down the right path, you can easily blame the results on your bandwagon-posse of people who side with you – after all they told you it was a good idea! If someone had just told you that you were off-side, you’d have done something different!
If you don’t get the responses that you want from people, you get to stay focused on how unsupported you feel instead of owning your truth (how YOU feel or what YOU want to do) and avoid taking any action to move you forward in your life: “why is it that so-and-so is never on my side? Why do they always have to pick apart what I’m up to or brush me off like I don’t matter?! Grrrrr…”
Trust me, it’s not a great way to live if you want to be living a life on your terms… If you want a to LIVE YOUR LIFE FOR YOU, you have to take the risk to own your thoughts and feelings, thus being responsible for the actions you take.
Of course a sober second thought is never a bad thing – but that’s WAAAAYYY different than looking to someone else for approval. Similar to the way discussing and debriefing the ‘what happened’ in a situation in order to determine an effective course of action is WAAAAYYY different than just gossiping about what someone did or said… You get the picture.
So what can you do?
Well first off, stopping this disempowering behavior in your life will be a whole lot easier if you recognize when it’s happening. Take some time to reflect on when you go looking to other people for support and determine whether you’re trying to figure out what to do/ how you feel based on YOU and your thoughts – or – if you’ve already decided what you’re going to do/ how you feel and you want someone to tell you you’re justified.
The first one is looking for support and the second one is seeking approval or looking for permission.
Once you recognize what’s going on for you, own it. Simple as that. If you’re feeling insecure and need an ego stroke – own it. If you’re confused about how you feel or what to do and are looking to a trusted confidante to help you untangle the mess, own that too. If you’ve basically decided how you feel and the action you want to take, stand up and take ownership of that! It’s your truth!
The only way to be empowered in this life and live on your terms is to own that sh*t!
Once you’ve ‘owned it’ your only real option is to act on it. Sometimes this feels really risky – especially when you’re just starting to take ownership for your life. And… that’s where the magic happens! Outside your comfort zone! Beyond the realm of the old actions and patterns of behavior you’re used to.
So get out there!
Own it! Live life on YOUR terms!
Until next time ,
PS – If you’ve been reading through this article and thinking to yourself “Yeah. That resonates. I want to take that leap, but I know I won’t actually follow through”… Then we should probably talk. If you’ve finally hit that wall where you’ve just HAD ENOUGH of playing a small game and you’re ready to bust out of your comfort zone, you need to call me.
If you’ve done everything you know to do and you’re still stuck, tell yourself “ENOUGH IS ENOUGH!!” and send me an email. I do free consult calls so the only thing you have to lose is another excuse about why you don’t have the life you want.
I have a few spots for new clients opening up in the New Year and I’d love to work with you to help you create real and lasting power in your life. Together we can deal with the mindset side of things that gets in the way of you having the life you want! Let’s kick off your 2018 with a bang!
Click here to set up your free 30-min consult and we’ll (at the very least) get you started down the road to real success!
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