Approval neither desired nor required

I tapped my foot rapidly and folded my arms across my chest.

My cheeks felt warm and before I could wipe my eyes, the tears started to flow.

“You’re starting to make me angry,” I said to my therapist as I stared off into the window.

It had been a rough week.

I was irritated before I walked into the door, but the direction of our conversation was pushing me rather close to the edge.

I was not in the mood to be misunderstood or forced to justify why I felt hurt.

Several statements made me feel as though my pain was being minimized. Granted, it’s hard to not listen for hurt when you’re already feeling hurt, but darn it, I just wasn’t in the mood for foolishness.

I felt vulnerable.

It took everything in me not to walk out mid-session, but believe me when I say it ended worse than it started.

I don’t need her approval to feel hurt I thought.

And then it clicked.

In June, an emotional wound from my childhood was suddenly reopened, causing me to distance myself from certain family members. All of the sadness, anger and frustration I felt 10 years ago was as fresh as the days the hurt initially occurred.

When what was done in the dark came to light, I went to counseling looking for answers, but if I’m honest, I was really looking for approval.

The people I felt should have cared for me, did not care for me the way I needed them to. I think I just wanted someone to say, “Jasmine, it’s okay for you to feel hurt. It’s okay for you to feel disappointed and afraid.”

Who taught me to question my feelings, my value and my ideas?

And why the heck did I give “them” so much power?

I’ve noticed a similar mindset in other areas in my life. There are times I’m afraid to be good at something or to desire something different than the “norm” without someone saying it’s okay to do so.

I’m on a journey to unravel this mystery, but I realize I don’t need a green light to be great. And while I have your attention, I have to leave you with my favorite quote because it’s all starting to make sense to me now.

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. 
Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. 
It is our light, not our darkness
That most frightens us.

We ask ourselves
Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?
Actually, who are you not to be? 
You are a child of God.

Your playing small 
Does not serve the world. 
There's nothing enlightened about shrinking 
So that other people won't feel insecure around you.

We are all meant to shine, 
As children do. 
We were born to make manifest 
The glory of God that is within us.

It's not just in some of us; 
It's in everyone.

And as we let our own light shine, 
We unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. 
As we're liberated from our own fear, 
Our presence automatically liberates others.

-Marianne Williamson