As children, the majority of us learn what is good and what is bad, what is right and what is wrong through the validation of our parents or carers. When we did something good or an action they wanted us to achieve, “Well done! Good girl/boy, aren’t you clever? Very good!” And when we did something they deemed bad or naughty or undesirable, “No! Naughty, stop that, very VERY bad.”
We learn that nice voice and good words mean we are accepted in what we are doing and the way we are behaving and that angry voice and bad words mean, maybe don’t do that again?
This becomes so ingrained in us that we continue to seek this validation, even once we are full grown adults and should be able to think for ourselves, I know I have and still do even now, until I become aware of what it is I'm doing or seeking. And that’s the thing, sometimes just being aware isn’t enough to make you stop craving it, it’s a bit like an addictive drug. When will you get your next fix of praise from others, validating your existence and self worth.
For a long time without realising it, I had been trying to play the good girl and please all the people (which is weird because I was extremely rebellious and disruptive throughout my teens). But the last few years have been a slow process of peeling back layers, unlearning a lot stuff and relearning new stuff, lots of new great stuff! And I'm still learning...
Through doing my yoga teacher training and putting myself out there, something I felt so awkward and apprehensive about in the past, but have overcome massively through perseverance. I have noticed how much I was craving that validation. As a teacher, learning to stand up in front of people and speak with confidence and authenticity sent me spiralling well out of my comfort zone. What if I make a mistake and the words don't come out the way they're meant to, what if they think the class is rubbish, what if they just don’t like me, they find my voice annoying?
What if, what if, what if? And what if they don’t think any of those things and love what you’re sharing? You could drive yourself nuts constantly worrying about this stuff, and in all honestly, you have to accept at some point that you just can't please everyone. So I have had to learn to let it go for my own sanity, but it’s definitely not been easy, and something that still can crop up from time to time, until I notice it happening and give myself an imaginary sharp slap on the wrists.
Whenever I teach or share I do so from the heart, sure I get inspired by others and I love trying to incorporate that inspiration into something original, it’s part of the creative process for me. I appreciate that it may not always go the way as planned and that not everyone will resonate but I always hope that some will and that’s normally good enough for me, because I know that deep down what I shared was honest and true and that’s what I’m here for, because that’s how we form deeper connections, by allowing ourselves to be vulnerable.
But when I get praise for this? Oh my, it sends me into a bit of a weird excited panic. Like a weird trigger that can’t help but set me off. My ego is in it's absolute element and wants to do an excited little dance around the room, then there's that other voice that says, calm yourself down, they're probably just being polite don't get all big headed about it. But then that's the thing, when you're open and share from the heart and express from the heart, the compliments hit so much deeper than when you get them for doing something just to make others happy.
I guess I don't really know the point I'm trying to make here, but what it all boils down to is, do the things that bring YOU joy and express yourself wholeheartedly instead of the other way round, just doing things for the sake of pleasing others. Because when you do the things that please you, you don't need that validation, and when you do get it man does it feel even more potent. Just don't get addicted to it. Always remember, do it for you first, and the right people will join along for the ride eventually.
And to anyone reading this who has ever come to my classes and offered kind words about the things I have shared, it honestly means the world to me and you know what it's taught me? To make sure whenever I see someone doing or expressing themselves in a way that I have admiration for, I need to tell them and let them know! It's a ripple affect, so always spread the love!