You don’t get the life you deserve, you get the life you decide. – Dharius Daniels
Let’s start this post with a little guessing game!
There is one person in life, aside from God, whose opinion should always matter to you. Always. Besides God, this is the only person who can talk you into a life that’s greater than you can imagine or talk you out of all the blessings this life has for you. This one person is the key to everything. Once you’ve discovered how to get this person’s approval, it makes the biggest difference in your life. When you don’t have this person’s approval, you typically go looking for it in and from other people, places, and things. And, sometimes, that temporarily works. However, while other people are capable of filling you with affirmations and approval, it always fades if this one person I’m referring to doesn’t co-sign that external validation. At the end of your life, God’s approval will matter first, and this person will be a close second. Who is this person?
That’s right! It is you. Your self-approval matters the most. You are the only person who knows whether you are truly giving this life the best you’ve got or if there’s more you can give.
Say this out loud: I am the key to the life I desire, so all efforts to improve my life must start with me.
Why Does This Conversation Matter Now?
First, let me say this: This entire post is centered on the belief that we are all important, and beautiful, and have something(s) to contribute to our respective communities, and even the world. I also think that if you are reading this post then you believe you have more to accomplish in this life, which requires building and maintaining a solid and positive self-image.
There is more inside of you.
I believe there’s more inside of each of us, and it’s our job to keep uncovering that. First, we have to believe there is more to achieve, give, and do. Second, we must be honest about the areas, small or big, that we need to improve in order to get there. This is the essence of self-improvement.
We all experience seasons in life when we stop caring about trying harder because life feels overwhelming and exhausting. In those seasons, giving more or becoming more sounds like tons of work and energy that we physically, emotionally, or mentally don’t have to give. We want more but can’t imagine having to give more to get there. Well, I’m here to remind you that it’s just a season; it doesn’t have to be your entire life story. Renew your hope and dreams. Take a breath. Regroup. Then, get moving.
It is OK if you’re not happy with how you are showing up in life right now. Start deciding what you want to improve, and then start making small actions. Work on keeping your word to yourself and focus on progress, not perfection. I know you’re tired, but can you try again? Is there more you can give yourself so you can experience the life you want?
You are your own superpower.
Once you face yourself, no one will be able to take that power from you. This means learning to celebrate the positive about yourself and having a deep self-awareness of where you can improve. Then, decide that you want to make yourself proud by simply continuing to try, day after day. Remember, it’s about progress and not perfection. Once you can affirm yourself and be proud of your own progress, no one else can take that from you. And most importantly, this will give you the hope to keep going.
We don’t want to have regrets.
It is important to begin with the end in mind. What will you regret if you don’t try? What will you look back on and wish you had done more of? Once we get to the end of our life, what will matter most to us is that every day we tried to be better than we were the day before, whether we succeeded or not. Going for it (whatever that “it” means to you) requires worrying less about other people’s opinions and focusing more on how we see ourselves.
Why Your Self-Approval Matters Most
As I mentioned above, your internal dialogue is your superpower. Yes, it is possible to find affirmation from other people’s opinions, but yours matters most. If others speak positively about you, but your internal dialogue is negative, eventually your negative voice will drown everyone else out. The opposite is also true. If others speak negatively about you or don’t agree with your decisions, but you speak positively to yourself, your positive voice will also drown everyone else out.
The problem with solely relying on other people’s opinions of your life is that they can only validate you to the extent that they see and believe in your worth. If they see you favorably or agree with your decisions, their validation is often positive. However, if you’re breaking the norm, chasing a bigger dream, or just living a life that’s different, this can often challenge other people’s paradigms and garner less favorable opinions. If you are just relying on external acceptance, once people’s opinions of you waver, then your view of yourself will too.
This is why I say your self-approval matters most. It is so important to practice positive self-affirmations and examine your life regularly to make adjustments where necessary and to ensure that YOU are truly giving life your best.
Self-Approval Takes Practice
Creating the life you want will require that you have an internal anchor—a self-approval and self-image that is positive and unwavering. Writing this makes it sound so easy, but this can be a lifelong challenge. However, if we realize its importance and begin to make this a daily practice, we can eventually build a positive internal narrative that sustains us.
This starts with believing that you are valuable and have something meaningful—whether great or small—to contribute to the world. Then, you have to repeatedly speak positively to yourself, surround yourself with positive influences that will reflect that same positive light back to you, and continue to speak to yourself until you start to believe it.
Personally, I have found my deepest sense of self-approval when I first connect with God and nature and then repeatedly tell myself that the universe is too beautiful for me to be an accident. I was created on purpose and for many purposes. It’s my job to accept that and stay open to living purposefully. I get my legitimacy from my existence.
When you sit quietly alone, only you truly know if you’re giving this thing called life your best. What’s your best? Only you know. (And once again, I’m not talking about perfectionism). You know if you’re really focusing and applying yourself or if you can give a little bit more. If you’re not sure, find a quiet space and look inward. Then, start working, one step at a time.
We Need Their Cheers and Yours
We are all on different life journeys. Every day, we are learning to navigate that path and create the best life we possibly can. And, honestly, sometimes we just want reassurance that we are on the right track and that everything is going to be OK in the end.
Everyone is looking for love, success, peace, happiness, answers, and even hope in life. Everyone. Therefore, it’s normal to seek validation and affirmation on a regular basis. Don’t get me wrong, we all need cheers and high-fives at critical moments along the journey. So, this post is not telling you to shut everyone out and never allow those positive voices in. This post is just to remind you that those external voices alone will only take you so far. At the end of the day, your soul needs your own affirmation and approval. And, it’s OK if that takes a lifetime.
So, can I leave us all with some homework?
Here are some reflection questions to consider:
- Where do I need more self-affirmation today?
- What has my internal narrative been saying to me?
- Have I been seeking more external than internal validation?
- Am I living for other people’s opinion of me more than I am my own self-acceptance?
- How can I continually find healthy self-approval?
- Do I need help with improving my self-affirming practice?