Disapproval from others – can I still approve of myself?
Do you want everyone to like and approve of you? I think we all do. Last weeks blog How to put the Toothpaste back in the tube was about approving of ourselves when we make mistakes. This week it is about approving of ourselves without the need of others' approval.
I have had some encouraging feedback regarding my posts and while I have appreciated and enjoyed this I have been aware not to get “too big for my boots” as my mother would say. It is easy to approve of ourselves, and sometimes even tempting to become smug, when things go right and others are approving. However it is not so easy when others don’t care and harder still when they are disapproving. I was speaking with a friend of mine and she mentioned she had been receiving the blogs. I resisted the temptation to ask “what do you think?” but she told me anyway. She commented she was busy and did not really have the time to read them. Here was my not interested person. Could I approve of myself now? Following this another friend whom I respect and admire very much commented that she did not find my blogs that helpful and did not agree with all I had to say. Here was my disapproving person. Could I approve of myself now?
It was getting tricky as I felt myself ready to board that negative thought train. “What do I think I am doing? I have done something wrong. Should I stop writing? I am not qualified, worthy, etc. Or equally unhelpfully "it is her fault". Judgement or blame of myself or others is never helpful I stopped this thought train and
‘One third of people will like you, one third will feel indifferent and one third won’t like you’
Of all those people we encounter one third will like or approve of us, one third will feel neutral or won’t care either way and one third will dislike or disapprove of us. So it is impossible to have everyone approve or like us. There is great relief in that as it can be exhausting to try to do the impossible and get everyone on board. Like John Lydgate's saying reminds us “You can please some of the people all of the time, you can please all of the people some of the time, but you can’t please all of the people all of the time”. I had my three types of people, approvers, neutrals and disapprovers. Could I approve of myself knowing this? Yes I could, if I examined my intention in writing the blog.
Resting in our intention
It is helpful to think about the intention behind our actions. When our intention has been to be kind we can rest in that regardless of the result. My intention was to be kind, to share what has been helpful to me. How this was received and how others responded to it was not in my control. What was in my control was my intention and how I responded to their response. Instead of hoping on that negative thought train of fear and doubt it is more helpful to
The secret of my own happiness lies in doing my best to benefit others. Whether or not I can be of benefit to them is not up to me (the thirds truism), it’s up to them. It is still important that I see myself do my best to try to help and then let go of the result. It is liberating to get that ‘worried Maree’ who is seeking impossible approval from everybody, out of the way and do my best to share what I have found useful with those that want to know and then let go of outside approval or appreciation. I can give that approval to myself knowing I have done my best. Peace of mind and happiness are my rewards.
It is interesting to think about times I have not been able to truthfully say I have had a kind intention. Times I have wanted to get someone back, be righteous, judgmental, selfish etc. I cannot rest in my kind intention then, so what do I do? Feel guilty is not the right answer, although I have done that many times. Lets look at what to do in next weeks blog The difference between guilt and regret.
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