I subscribe to a lot of daily notes and newsletters from spiritual teachers, healers, gurus, and the like. They share powerful messages of choosing love, forgiveness, shifting perspectives, and awakening. I appreciate the powerful truths that are being embedded into my psyche, and yet sometimes I feel like I am reading the same thing in different ways.
Recently, however, I learned a new concept that shakes me to my very core. It sticks with me, sends chills down my spine, and it's potency increases. I share this in the yoga classes I guide, with friends, and essentially with anyone on my path when the topic comes up.
In this article I will share this earth shattering concept along with two actions it inspired me to take to allow me to live and be my most authenticly true version of myself.
I first learned of this gem of wisdom watching Tommy Rosen's Recovery 2.0 conference from this past February 2015. Tommy ,the founder of Recovery 2.0 is a world renowned yoga teacher and addiction recovery expert. Recovery 2.0 is an online forum where Tommy interviews well known healers and experts in the field of recovery from all types of addictions. This interview in particular was with Amy Pearson, called "Approval Addiction."
Below she explains it in the article, "Advice from a Recovering Approval Addict: Let the Hater's Hate," found on Maria Shriver's webpage.
If you divide the universe into thirds ... There will always be a third who I call The Haters. No matter what you do, they'll always hate. They won't like your shoes. They'll unsubscribe to your newsletter. They'll roll their eyes at you behind your back. There's another third of the Entire Known Universe I call The Neutrals. No matter what you do, they'll always be neutral. There's just no way to dazzle them.
Now, here's the important part. There's another third I call Your Tribe. This is your fan base. The more you show up as YOU, uncensored, the more they'll love on you. The solution isn't to continue trying to "be all things to all people." As you can see, this strategy is a complete waste of time. You just can't. When you do try to win over the haters and the neutrals, it just leaves you invisible to your tribe. They just won't be able to recognize you.
Stopped. Dead in my tracks.
No matter how out of the box I thought I was in my work in the world, my coast, and my music tastes, I was still worrying about how people from the first two groups were perceiving things. I worried about what relatives thought, former coworkers, and people from Facebook that I have not spoken to in decades. Did this behavior really make me less visible to my tribe?
This honest inventory was so uncomfortable; it catapulted me to truly commit to redirecting my actions to more authentically reflect my unique, most fun, happy, and weird version of myself.
Here are two actions I have been taking to redirect my approval-seeking behavior.
1) I committed to Joy.
Sometimes my default is to get stuck in my weekly schedule and plug in my social time as simply short lunches and coffee dates with friends. This is all fine and good, but I desired to deeply delve into the experiences that are so uniquely joyful to me. I chose to create the canvas for all this goodness to unfold. In the past two months, I carved out time to rock out at the Grateful Dead's final shows in Santa Clara. I saved up my pennies and drove to Oregon with one of my dearest friends to see Phish's summer tour opening concerts. I explored different hiking trails in my backyard with new friends. I stepped into my vulnerability by being the new kid and attended workshops with like minded women where we set intentions and celebrated the sacred feminine. My love for nature , sacred community, and for music (especially two named bands) are all experiences that truly make my Soul sing. I've met new friends, kindred souls, plugged back into fellowships, and experienced greater depths from some friendships that span over 15 years.
2) I asked: "Does it make me feel constricted or expanded?"
When I planned the upcoming weeks ahead, rather than being reactive and let other peoples requests dictate my free time, I asked that powerful question. Often times I would hear a fear voice say: "You should go to xyz event." Since obligation is not a feeling of expansion, I redirected and politely declined experiences that did not feel open and free. I even saw this show up in my past endeavors with online dating! I would hear the ego voice say: " You should wear something more normal and less loud." My soul and my true self desires to feel expanded by wearing the things I want to wear -- bright, loud, wild, and funky -- which all feel true to me. Others can pick up on our energy when we are totally real. When I am unapologetically myself, I know that there is an aura of a graceful, healthy confidence around me. Stepping into and owning this power has attracted new amazing people to me in the most synchronistic ways. And let's be real: We are not going to attract our partners by "toning down" our truth and trying to be someone else.
I feel eternally grateful for this big nudge in the rear to truly reflect and shift my actions so they better align with my truth. And my tribe? They are a-flockin'.
I think: "Be Carolyn, be YOU, choose joy, choose expansion, be funky, be weird, your weirdos are there to let your light shine even brighter."
I offer a Deep Bow of gratitude to Amy Pearson and Tommy Rosen for sharing your authentic truth with the world.