Your Approval is Not Required

Many people create lives where there are a lot of hidden things going on behind the scenes that others don’t see. How many people do we each know that have skeletons hidden in the proverbial closet?

I created life this way too. I had the life I showed people and I told people about. I also had a life that nobody knew existed. Rather unintentionally I was taught to make life look right. What that meant was that I should blend in and be the same as everybody else. Happiness wasn’t really the goal of life. The goal was just to create a boring life, get through unharmed and definitely don’t make a scene.

Well, I guess I took that to the extreme, mostly because I was never going to create a life that allowed me to blend in. That just wasn’t going to be a thing. But in an effort to keep the people around me comfortable and happy, I made a valiant attempt at it.

I settled and got married because I was supposed to. I took on normal jobs because I was supposed to. I looked a certain way because I was supposed to. I blended in because I was supposed to. Where was I in all that “supposed to” stuff? Buried, hiding in the background, wondering how to combine who I was with the life I had created.

I compare it now to a stage, with what everybody saw up on the stage in full view and my real life, the real me, behind the curtain. Nobody ever sees what goes on behind a curtain during performances, but it’s pretty much guaranteed to be organized chaos. That was me with everything perfectly arranged for show and tell, while behind the scenes I was a walking natural disaster.

What I’ve learned over time is that taking on others’ expectations wasn’t healthy for me. Allowing others to dictate what my life should be based on their own fears and trauma wasn’t serving me in the least. Those expectations weren’t anything I could maintain either. It was bound to self-destruct because it was so far from who I was that it made me miserable. Life isn’t about being miserable all the time or putting on a show. Life is about doing all the things that make us happy, regardless of what those are and getting okay with the idea that not everybody is going to approve. That’s okay, it’s not their job to approve.

For me now, it feels like it’s almost time to come out from behind the curtain. I guess in many ways, I’ve already started by just doing what I’m doing. But I’m not done yet. There’s more to see. No, not everybody will approve and that’s okay. It’s my life and other peoples’ approval is not required. That’s a tough lesson to learn but it’s extremely valuable and important. Was this something you’ve had to learn or are still learning?

Love to all.


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