Do you change how you act when you are around others in order to receive their approval? One of the things that I am focusing on in my own personal development is showing up as authentically me regardless of the people or situation.
That doesn’t mean that I have to spew my opinions or be challenging if we have differences. Truly, it’s just the opposite. The authentic me is loving and accepting. The authentic me sees my value–and the value in each person and each situation. The authentic me knows that there are no mistakes and that the diversity of people and opinions is what makes the world go round. The authentic me knows that speaking my truth with ease and grace will be a gift to others—even if it doesn’t seem like it in the moment.
But if I am acting out of anger, frustration, fear, judgment, or condemnation, I’m not being authentically me, and that is when it’s best to keep quiet.
The onus is on me to stay connected to my Higher Self and to pay attention if I am coming from a place of love or a place of anger, a place of appreciation or a place of fear. If I am being authentically me, or if I am seeking the other person’s approval.
One way for me to maintain my connection to my Higher Self in relationships—particularly if we have a history of pushing each other’s buttons—is to actively focus on all the good qualities of the other person. To literally practice seeing them in the best light before we see each other. I might literally create a list of all the things about the other person that I appreciate, and read and add to it every day.
It’s also helpful to practice a visualization where I see myself bathed in a golden light that feels like joy and love, and then to expand that light to include other people. First I might extend the light to the people I love and get along with easily. As the light grows brighter and more powerful, I can then more easily expand it to include more challenging people or people I feel the need to please.
Today is day eight of my Gratitude Challenge and the assignment is to send thank you notes to five people who deserve a little recognition. This is another great exercise for shifting how I show up in a relationship.
We often think that it’s the other person who needs to change so that we can get along or get the approval we want, but we are contributing just as much to the difficult dynamics. By practicing appreciation we show up differently. Our expectations are a little different and we may not be so quick to judge, take offense, or alter our behavior.
The only person you can control is you. Choose now how you want to show up during your next encounter with that particular person, and practice shifting your thoughts and focus. Practicing your appreciation now makes it easier to show up authentically later.
If you do find yourself sliding into old patterns, you can take a few deep breaths, or literally remove yourself from the situation. Go to the bathroom, or step out onto the porch. If you need to, go for a walk around the block. Do what you can to reconnect and find some relief.
And if you do react in a less than positive way, the primary thing to do is forgive yourself. You don’t have to be perfect. Pick yourself up and keep practicing being the best possible version of you so you show up differently the next time.
Together we can do it!