Are you aware how often you throw away your freedom: blindly imprison yourself? Freedoms won with blood, education and commitment; to vote, speak, practice religion (or not), make life choices - all tossed aside voluntarily
More important: How do we truly feel free? The winning combination:
Nothing to Hide. Nothing to Prove.
Q: How do we get there?
A: Simple: INTEGRITY.
Let's take this out of theory, show why it's important to you, in your life, now, today. Also below are simple steps to free ourselves- - even if we can't yet see the self constructed cage.
The first step, Nothing to Hide is astonishingly simple:
"Never do anything you'd be ashamed for the world to know." (From Mom: Thanks Tammy.)
Think about it:
No one in the history of everything, everywhere, anytime, anywhere was blackmailed, threatened or manipulated for doing something they were proud of doing. Integrity strikes again.
The second part is just as simple, yet simultaneously challenging; for all at times, for some all the time.
Nothing to prove. Freeing yourself from seeking approval will set you free in ways you can't imagine - until you try it -so let's get started:
“The irrationality of a thing is no argument against its existence, but merely a condition of it.”
In other words, it's ok to be yourself - - or OK2B
Whatever you are, vanilla to tutti fruitti, it's all yummy. OK2B
Never apologize for who you are. When we've done wrong, we must be strong enough to own it and apologize. Apologizing for words or actions is not apologizing for existence. It's still OK2B
A child outcast nicknamed Goober, I had buck teeth, chubby cheeks, big belly, and the only thing thicker than my coke-bottle glasses were the books I carried everywhere.
Classmate’s approval being unwinnable, I had nothing to prove. Watching from the outside I didn’t want to be in the ‘popular’ group anyway. The ‘mean girls’ cruelty was often turned on each other. I witnessed them struggle for acceptance, even from their own - - let’s call them - - ‘friends’ (for now).
“I don't want everyone to like me; I should think less of myself if some people did.” (Henry James)
How does this relate to you, today?
My childhood is the basis for a profound and liberating disinterest in other people’s opinion of me. Yet I continue to watch with morbid interest (like passing a car wreck) as people twist themselves in futile attempts to impress others. Do you think ‘the mean girls’ cease to exist after elementary school? They didn’t- but it doesn't matter!
“What people in the world think of you is really none of your business.” (Martha Graham)
You'll never control what others think of you because they see you through a filter of themselves, called “Projection’ in Freudian psychology. We project ourselves onto others, and they onto us. A liar, correctly or not, believes others are lying. An honest person tends to trust.
Q: How do we 'let go' of approval seeking, so we can use our energy where it will be of use?
A: In addition to unapologetically being yourself, always challenge yourself to be your best. You’ll like yourself, and will freely celebrate every quirk and scar. They got you where you are today.
"The Dot and The Line. A Romance In Higher Mathematics" inspired the earrings below: A charming, hilarious book, all mathematical puns, about a line, in love with a dot, who's in love with a squiggle. The story follows the line learning to be his best, achieving self-respect, and winning the dots love. "And they lived happily ever after....at least reasonable so."
Ok- so, we agree, right? We will endeavor to be our best, Crumbs- sometimes it's hard!!! How do we make it seamless, effortless, and second nature to reach that goal, even when life nudges us - - let's say - - in different directions?
1. Define your core values.
2. Stick to them.
A foundation of core values guides us when lesser instincts dominate.
An example, working on a cruise ship, everything in me instinctively wanted to fight, mirror ugly behavior, and protect myself when an officer verbally attacked me. Blindsiding and incomprehensible, my reaction something I had never experienced, drenched in a sudden sweat, my whole body trembled intensely, and I could not think. An atavistic, self defense part of my brain dominated. My instinct was to strike back, and still, I could not think -as if my brain short circuited. "Don't move. Don't talk. THINK." I told myself, struggling,. "Don't react. Freeze. It can't be as long as it feels." I froze myself until my head cleared enough to weigh options, review goals and core values,and take appropriate action. Had I not defined core values in advance, and trained myself to use them in ambiguous, emotional situations, I would not have been able to wait until the correct answer became clear.
Core values = Integrity. Believe it or not (if you don't yet, you will soon) Integrity = Freedom. When we violate core values, we don't like ourselves. If we don't like ourself, we try to 'fool' others into liking us as compensation. We all fall short sometimes and make our apologies, but with self-knowledge, self-esteem, and good intent, we never, ever have to apologize for ourselves - - even to ourselves.
The need for outside approval disappears. Imagine- free from the opinions of anyone.
Below: Mom & me in jumbo pearls- definitely not shy about being unusual,
So let go of the need for outside approval. Be your best self. Be confident that you are true to your core values. Enjoy the moment while lworking towards goals. You have nothing to prove to anyone but yourself.
“If people are talking behind your back, it means you are already way ahead of them, and
They are in a perfect position to kiss your - - -“