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Addicted to approval? Reclaim your self-esteem

Addicted to approval? Reclaim your self-esteem | Cultural Trendz |

The past few years have been full of hard but necessary lessons I needed to learn about my relationships with others—their limits, boundaries, what healthy relationships are and are not.

I realized that the foundation for some of my relationships (the unhealthy ones) was my need for attention and approval. This, of course, was futile because we can only truly feel good about ourselves despite outside opinions.

Because I felt inadequate and overly self-critical due to a past full of put-downs and personal failures (real or perceived), I needed “proof” that I mattered and was worthy in the eyes of people who represented the very individuals from my past who had shamed me, abused me, ignored me, and devalued me.

Growing up, I was always the outlier and in a lot of ways I still am—the girl with the wild imagination and unpopular hobbies (art over sports, unique tastes over trends, time alone in introspection over socializing).

I was also the middle child who didn’t quite measure up to the overachieving big sister and gifted little brother—often ignored, humored, my “little” achievements dismissed.

While I was not mistreated or neglected in any major, obvious way, the lack of attention and validation culminated over time to make me feel like a general disappointment as a human being.

Even after many major accomplishments, I felt inadequate. I earned a master’s degree, married a wonderful man, quickly built an impressive career, made amazing friends, moved to my dream town and into a gorgeous home, but I still sought validation from others that I was worthy and wanted (and still occasionally do).

I recently realized that I was holding onto some people not because they were friends I needed (they were actually quite toxic and manipulative), but because they seemed to want or need me. They occasionally fed me a crumb of self-esteem—complimenting me, asking to spend time with me, and telling me how much they liked me.

These friendships were superficial and overall damaging to me because of all the times they made me feel just the opposite, because they were too busy or self-absorbed and I interpreted that as a negative reflection on me.

They reminded me of the people I’d failed to win over in my past. People I was still intent to gain approval from but never will. And I needed to let that expectation go.

I have ended or distanced myself from these relationships and I often feel heavy with sadness about no longer being close to them. But I know that the grief I feel has more to do with the loss of attention (“approval”) I got from them, not necessarily them.

It was selfish that I had held onto them for an (artificial) ego boost and out of a sense of duty, because a relationship had been established; that was unfair to them and unhealthy for me. I needed to be selfish in another way: focus inward and provide myself with that ego-boosting energy.

In approval-addiction friendships, both people seek validation and attention from each other instead of truly being there for one another, unselfishly. That’s a no-win situation.

I am now on a journey toward self-love and acceptance from within. I have developed four “mantras” I repeat to myself when I find myself drifting back into old relationship patterns, clinging to other people and things to gain feelings of self-worth.

Self-Love Mantras

1. No one else can prove your self-worth.

True friends can help boost it, but only temporarily. Authentic, lasting personal validation exists when you value and approve of you.

2. You are who you are, and that’s good enough.

You will have moments, even phases when you’ll doubt this, and that’s okay. Just remember: bad things are going to happen. Some people aren’t going to like you. But these are not a negative reflection of the awesome person you are.

3. Your friendship, time, and thoughtfulness are precious.

Invest these wisely and with integrity. You deserve it, as do your loved ones.

4. Be proud of yourself and all you do.

Depending on others to confirm that you’re worthwhile is a recipe for disappointment. No one will approve of everything you do. You don’t either, right? You have more than enough to be proud of and that pride should come from within and be unshakeable at its core.

By: TinyBuddha


Vilma Bonilla's insight:

“To be beautiful means to be yourself. You don’t need to be accepted by others. You need to accept yourself.” ~Thich Nhat Hanh

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How to lead when employees don't want to follow

How to lead when employees don't want to follow | Cultural Trendz |

Employees aren't going to like every decision you make. Strong leaders, though, know how to rally the troops, even around an initially unpopular idea.

John Maxwell, a prolific author who's written more than 60 books, says whatever you do, you can't buckle under unpopularity: "Sooner or later you encounter fierce resistance. Leadership feels a lot like peddling uphill, swimming upstream, or running into a stiff headwind. The challenge is to overcome the resistance instead of being overwhelmed by it," Maxwell writes on his blog.

Read below for Maxwell's suggestions on how to overcome stubborn employees unwilling to change.

Know that change creates friction.

Humans are creatures of habit, and changes in the day-to-day may upset their routines. So don't take opposition personal--it's bigger than you and your idea. "Leaders launch forward motion, but people stubbornly resist change because they dislike uncertainty. Most people would rather have familiar problems than unfamiliar solutions," Maxwell writes. "For this reason, you can anticipate having a tough time bringing about substantial transformations in your organization."

Don't forget the 20-50-30 principle.

"As a rule of thumb, 20 percent of your people will support your efforts to initiate change, 50 percent will be undecided, and the remaining 30 percent will resist you," he writes. He suggests not wasting your time trying to convert non-believers--it'll only backfire and make them resist you even more. Instead, court the 50 percent who are undecided and use the 20 percent to help convince them that your effort to drive change is positive.

Make a clear target.

Maxwell says that everyone needs an end goal to get through challenging, tough times. An employee needs to know his or her hard work will result in something beneficial. "As a leader, it's your duty to remind people of the benefits that lie just around the bend," he writes. "Without a sense of purpose, people quickly tire and lose heart."

Promise problems from the start.

Once you announce your campaign of change, be honest about the hardships ahead. If your staff doesn't anticipate problems, they're going to complain and you'll lose support. "Remind people of the rewards of change, but don't gloss over the difficulties," he says. "The nature of change is that things get worse before they get better."

Via Bond Beebe Accountants & Advisors
Vilma Bonilla's insight:

Leading change is difficult. Friction is often inevitable. However, resistance may be overcome by addressing employee needs. I have been deployed to help employees in the field to manage change. Difficult situations  call for direct assistance in the field where face-to-face guidance and support is needed to meet objectives.

When the stakes are high and the change is major, resistance is inevitable. That is precisely when employees need to feel the company is supportive, listening, and guiding them though a major transition. Once the initial difficult situation has been overcome, there should be a stronger and more supportive team working together towards common goals.


Bond Beebe Accountants & Advisors's curator insight, November 19, 2013 5:12 AM

Change always creates friction.  Learning how to properly manage and guide change in your company is essential to success.