Stop Approval Seeking Behavior With These 5 Steps

Take 3 deep breaths.  Think back on your childhood and things you did to get attention.  Were they good behaviors to be seen as the good child or were they naughty actions to be seen as someone who needed to be scolded and constantly reminded to try better?  No matter which route you took, or even a combination, you were probably trying to win approval from the adults around you.  Depending on the reactions you got, it further reinforced this behavior.

I am going to be honest, as a child, I don’t know if I just liked the bad route or if I got used to being told “Stop that Aimee.  Go to your room.”  But I probably thought that was my name for a while.  Gotoyourroom.  <<< my name.  So I got used to lots of alone time and introspection.  Not a bad thing, really, but I did want to fit in as I got older.

Apparently, we have been wired since before time, seriously, to be a “pack” or a group.  It used to be linked to survival just like in animals, but times have changed.  We aren’t trying to forage in the cold wilderness and seek shelter.  We have evolved; however, someone forgot to tell us that.  We are still seeking that pack acceptance…the need to fit in.

At home we want our parents, siblings, and relatives to like us.  We genuinely want to have love and with love, we feel like we have to have that approval.  That doting grandma beaming at our accomplishments creating the shrine to how great we are.  Saving that last bite of special cake for us.  This does not always happen.  Ha.  Sometimes, we are the black sheep.  Baaaa.

At work we want our co-workers to give us high-fives in the hallway.  Our boss to nod at us in respect and say things like “You saved the x account today.  Single handed.  It was all you.”  You want that Elle Woods moment in the court room where everyone thought you weren’t paying attention, but you were smarter than you looked.  But the truth is, sometimes your life is more like Friends where Chandler has worked at his office for years and not a soul knows what he does.

You ask yourself questions each and every night like:

  • Will I still be liked if I am 15 pounds heavier?
  • What if I don’t wear the exact right outfit to work tomorrow?  Will they laugh at me?
  • What if I stand up and say no to something that is wrong with this policy at work?  Will I get fired?
  • What if I answer truthfully because I am really tired of how I have been treated…will I still have love/respect/a place in this world?
  • What if I was honest?

You, my friend, are creating the pressure for yourself.

5 Steps to Stop Seeking the Approval of Others:

  1. Firstly, what is it you actually want out of the relationship?  Ask yourself what the end goal is and if you seeking approval is going to produce that or help you in any way.  The answer might even surprise you.  Journal it right now.  You can do this in a variety of ways.  Put the desired result in the middle of a bubble and your actions all around it that will produce the result, or just write about it.
  2. Identify what emotion or result you were seeking from the above exercise.  If the answer is acceptance, ask yourself if you fully accept yourself right now as you are.  Faults and all.  If the answer is love, take a good hard look in the mirror.  Are you worthy of love?  Of course you are.  No past mistakes are bad enough that you are not worthy of loving yourself.  Your subconscious is likely remembering language from your childhood.  “Why are you always bad?”  “You aren’t good enough…”  “Why can’t you be more like so and so.”  <<< So and so is now in jail.  Or has had a rough life because everyone thought they were so great.  It’s time we move our inner child past these experiences with some loving kindness to ourselves.  You can heal these wounds by noticing every time you think these thoughts and allowing yourself to replace them with the mantra “I am worthy of love.  I am enough.”  Write this in your journal.
  3. Take baby steps.  In any good program they say things like “Well, it took you 9 months to gain that weight…” or whatever, but we forget the months and expect immediate results.  When I deal with clients who are in a rush, I watch their language.  What they are willing to change and work on right now without expecting to change over night always tells me more about themselves than they realize.  Are they being honest with themselves?  Are they willing to do the work?  <<< 2 great questions to ask yourself.  Don’t attach yourself to a certain place, friend, job, promotion etc. without seeing all the steps it takes to make it work.  Your self-worth is also not tied up in the fact that sometimes things simply don’t work out.  Not trying to throw anyone under the bus, but take teacher of the year.  It was not ever based on merit in my school district.  One lady won because she was not actually at work all year.  True story.  She was ill, and people were glad she was better.  While I get this, truly I do, other people were so wrapped up in winning that they talked about this for months.  It was never in your control.  Period.  Let. It. Go. Be like Elsa.
  4. On that note, learn to take rejection.  Things happen.  Let’s think back to the first time you faced rejection.  Hmmm.  I got it.  My school team (back then it was called Olympics of the Mind), came really close to winning the top prize and going to state, which was a big deal to my 5th grade self.  Sadly, we lost.  But we all had a great deal of fun and our performance was very unique.  We got to work together on the props and I made new friends.  I still talk to those people today…some x number of years I won’t name later.  Fast forward to being observed as a teacher.  UGH.  I could not stand it because there were so many factors out of my control.  Would x kid act like his lost his mind today?  Definitely.  Would such and such say something embarrassing?  Yes.  Always.  But what could I control?  Me.  Myself.  And I.  I would visualize the lesson going perfectly, having the correct responses, and being prepared.  Sometimes it worked…sometimes I had to say you know what?  I will try again tomorrow.  <<< always remember you can try again.  Something better might be coming from that rejection and you never even saw it coming.
  5. Lastly, remember you are always learning.  Focus on you and only you.  Learn to be like the cool new Michael Phelps meme out there.  It looks like this:Micheal_phelpsBut it says winners focus on winning.  Losers focus on winners.  Or something like that:)  I know many, many people who are constantly checking on what others are doing.  Do you think the people out there doing things are thinking about them?  Nope.  Have a “growth mindset” where you know you have some things to learn, but looking at other people and where they are is not going to help you.  Only focus on you and your path.

powerWant to work with me on changing yourself in a self-guided course?  More on that here.  Also see Head|Heart|Health for more.

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If Life was Like Game of Thrones…

Hey there geeks and geekettes.  So I was minding my own business while daydreaming about Jon Snow nothing, and this thought popped into my mind.  What if life was like Game of Thrones?  I wasn’t sure where this line of thought was going to take me…so I explored it naturally.  Here are a few things that might happen if this line of reasoning were true in life:

  1. That guy who just cut you off in traffic and then made a rude gesture out the window, well, a few miles down the road, you passed his car on fire because Drogon instinctively knew the Mother of Dragons was pissed.  What? So instead of saying something rude and getting all mad, you accidentally said the command to call him under your breath.  It’s easy to utter.
  2. When that guy who sits on the Iron Throne calls you into work because Varys whispered you weren’t really using your sick days properly, you know because Varys was stalking your Instagram account and saw you out so he told everyone, you tell Varys that he has to take a message over to your bud Ramsay’s house.  Problem solved.
  3. A staff meeting is called and that one annoying co-worker, you know, the one who sneaks in late daily through the back door, never takes a day of sick leave, but can’t be found during the day, the one who shows up on “Pot Luck” day saying “Oh man, I forgot that was today!”, but eats all the food, you know that one, well, when they ask you where the meeting is, you tell them to go through that door on the right up ahead…and drat.  Someone left the moon door open.  Oops!
  4. You go to ask your boss a question, but see that fake Petyr Baelish coming out of his office and the next thing you know you are being transferred to a remote location like you came up with the idea.  What just happened?
  5. Luckily for you, while you are pondering the absurdity of this, a mysterious e-mail comes in with photos of your boss and wait, isn’t that some guy named Loras from the copy room?  Interesting.  You decide to blackmail your boss and now you have a room with a view.  Petyr is now being transferred.
  6. The CEO makes a surprise visit and is one of the most cunningly shrewd people you have ever met.  You try hard not to call him an “Angry Elf” and you feel like you’ve heard that line somewhere before, but nevertheless Tyrion took a liking to your style…especially since he somehow already knew you blackmailed the boss.  He asks you to work for him immediately.
  7. While working for your new boss, you discover someone trying to pilfer from the monthly coffee and snack collection funds.  You let him know and he tells you to assign that person to a new outpost…beyond the wall.
  8. You think your new boss drinks too much…during the day.  But you understand.  You met his sister once and she would drive you to drink as well.  You shrug and just get to the liquor store like he asked you…after all, you don’t want to be late with his breakfast.
  9. You start to feel like you are being followed, and when you look behind you, you notice a really large woman.  You think nothing of it, but decide to run around the corner anyway just to see what happens.  As you duck behind a trashcan, the large woman shouts out that she was sent to protect you.  Considering the way things have been going…she might be telling the truth, but just in case she isn’t, you snap a photo of her and post it on FB to everyone you know saying “Who is this crazy lady?”  You can’t be bothered calling the police.  Asking your social network is probably safer.

Check out this cool quiz to see who you played in this story!  Which Game of Thrones Character Are You?

Aimee’s note: these are ramblings of a writer who works with 3 dachshunds so no reference to your real life boss is actually reflected.  But always ask yourself “What would Tyrion do?”…

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7 Brilliant Ways to Get Rid of Stress

I bet that you didn’t want to start your week off the way it happened.  But there it is.  Nothing you can do about it.  You forgot a major timeline…or you got sick and missed an important meeting.  Whatever it is, it has you feeling stressed and it’s only the start of your work week.  Because you are stressed out, you start to feel anxious as well.  Which then leads into all sorts of scenarios in your head.  You know your boss is looking at you funny.  What?  Why is everyone in the workroom laughing except they got quiet when you walked in?  Ack.  Your boss thinks you are an idiot.  Chances are, none of these things are true.  But what if they are?  Really?

7 Brilliant Ways to Get Rid of Stress

 

  1. Stop taking things so personally.  Maybe, just maybe, the people in the workroom were laughing at the fact that they were about to surprise you with a party.  Okay, it could happen.  But even if they were laughing at you, who cares?  Yes, you do.  I know that.  Now think about this, this is not a reflection of your actions.  It is a reflection of theirs.  Be polite.  Be professional.  Move on.
  2. Stay in the present moment.  Don’t create a story or a situation that was never there to begin with because that’s how you become your biggest enemy.  I know that you might feel stress creeping up so what if you shifted your attention out of worst case scenario mode and went back to the task at hand?  Always allow your thoughts to pass by, inspect them, and carry on with the present moment.  Here is my friend’s article on releasing anger with her affirmations.
  3. Work out and move your body!  I was doing research for the new yoga flow that I am creating for a workshop, and it said that one of the top ways to remove and release stress was through yoga.  Of course that doesn’t surprise me, so see my previous articles on 3 simple exercises to keep you fit or 10 yoga tips for beginners.
  4. Spend time with your loved ones.  Sometimes, when it’s quitting time, it’s best to quit and go on home.  Your work will be there.  You only have one life and this isn’t a test.  Play some loud music on the way home that you love, unwind, and by the time you get home, try very hard to stay in the present moment there too.
  5. Unplug and unwind.  This one is really hard.  I know it.  it has proven to be difficult for me as well.  I am very thankful for our family vacations away from people…and things…in the mountains.  With literally no service.  No tech.  No T.V.  I know right?  Sounds amazing.
  6. Find your quiet place.  Which brings me to this one, and I know you are thinking you can’t find time to do this, but find time to meditate, journal, take a bath, or do something that you can really focus on in peace and quiet.  Yes, even you new moms can do this!  You really need to make this part of your routine.
  7. Prepare for your next day.  We always all get ready by picking out our clothes, and not having to rush.  Take a minute to do a list of things before you leave the office, home office, school, etc, and when you get in, it will be there to focus you.  That way, you leave it there where it belongs.  Don’t take it home with you.  You can find balance in your work and life.  This leads you on a better path to wellness!

Still feel like you need help?  Sign up for my 4 Weeks to Wellness course OR get help in a closed support group.

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5 ways to find your zen.

Zen habits

There are times in your life when you need to just breathe…or scream.  Screaming is not appropriate at work though, so we need to find other ways to manage our stress.  This is always easier said than done.  We worry, fret, and work ourselves into a tizzy over something that might happen.  We ponder, speculate, and look for hidden meanings in the words of everyone around us.  Life would be much easier if people just said what they meant…well, maybe.  I know I work better that way, but perhaps not everyone does.  In the meantime, we need to work with what we are given.  This applies to all aspects of life, not just work.

5 ways to find your zen:

  1. Focus on the task at hand.  I realize this is easier said than done, but if you really work to train your mind on the task at hand, we can get into our flow.  We actually can shift the way we think and remove the obstacles we place in our minds.  We are moving away from distractions and really focusing on what’s in front of us.
  2. All in.  Are you all in or only sort of here?  Be present.  In order to be in the present moment, you have to really pull your thoughts back.  Think of your thoughts moving continuously like a river.  That is the basis of flow.  The ego falls away and you are in the moment.  It is almost like timelessness.  The end of the day comes and you got so much done that you didn’t even realize you were in flow.  That’s how I feel in yoga.  I am in my flow.  Flow experiences can occur in different way for different people, but we have strong concentration during the task.
  3.   Rest.  Sometimes, you need a break after a long stretch of working on things.  This is something I have a problem with and I am learning to let go.  After being in my flow, I know that if I stop, it takes me longer to recover than most people.  I learned I need to set a timer since I work from home.  In an office setting, you can get up and stretch your legs.  Get a coffee.  At home, I tend to just get back to work.  It’s very important to remember everyone needs a break too…even if you are the boss.
  4. Simplify your workspace.  Do you every find yourself looking for things and they were under piles of paper?  Do you not know important dates because you have a calendar system that’s messy and difficult?  Work to simplify things.  Don’t over book yourself.  Keep meetings to the point.  Keep your desk neat and tidy.  Work on diving up your task into smaller, easier to handle chunks.  If you work from home, do the same thing.  Keep an orderly space.  It helps clear the mind.
  5. Let go of that which does not serve you.  This is my favorite one.  Gossip?  Does not serve you in any way shape or form.  Let it go.  Truthfulness?  Yes.  It serves to make your life easier.  Weigh your responses before answering.  Jealousy over what others have?  Does not serve you again.  Gratitude for what you have serves you much better and brings about more happiness.  Too many possessions?  Clutter?  Thank the items and give them to someone who needs them.  This is way we create space for things we need to come into our lives.  Remember, if it doesn’t do you any good, you don’t need to focus on it in your life.  Period.

My good friend said to me “What other people think of me is none of my business.”  I loved that line and made her repeat it.  I instantly thought of ways to apply that to my life.  The next time someone says something snippy to me, I will breathe in and out and maybe even make the “ohmmm” sound in my mind as they are speaking.  Knowing me, I might even say it out loud until it annoys them.  Zen is the practice of “not doing”.  You are not reacting to things around you when the world might be in chaos.  You need to still the thoughts that are going on in your head and think about the bigger picture.

 “Life is short.  Time is fleeting.  Realize the self.  Purity of heart is the gateway to God.  Aspire.  Renounce.  Meditate.  Be good; do good.  Be kind; be compassionate.  Inquire, know Thyself.”

~Swami Sivananda