“Attachment to approval stifles your potential.”- Dennis Merrit Jones, The Art of Uncertainty, p. 85.
I think that is what I’ve been learning my whole life, a lesson that would not go away until it was learned. From desire for parental approval as a child to desire for spousal approval in my 20s…
Then, I thought I had it all… Approval from all at last until it was taken away and I learned impermanence. I worked through several jobs and relationships before realizing that there’s more to life than approval from others. There’s so many things to look forward to…So I took some time to enjoy those things. I had the courage to leave everything I ever knew: job and family to do something I wanted to do: travel. Everyone judged and said I should be working and not wasting my money traveling. When I returned, I had no regrets. I was able to find a very good job within minutes of the application process. Sigh! No more need for approval!
Now, I’m back in the rat race, and it has been difficult to stay present. It is so easy to get caught up in the hamster wheel. Slowing down this long weekend has really helped. I am spending my weekend dog sitting. As much as I enjoy the dog’s company, I was finding my mind wandering to the future about how I could pay off student loans and get a house and a dog and then I got stressed out about how to do all that and if that was what I even wanted. It brought to mind so many times when I wasn’t in the present such as when I lived by the beach and would stress out about the period of my life ending and how to make it last by finding another job by the beach. I do not do this when I am out hiking or traveling. I am fully engaged in the wonders of the moment. So, with each breath, I endeavor to find something I am grateful for to smile about for as many moments as possible!
Where will life take me next? It doesn’t matter unless I want to feel anxious! What do I regret? It doesn’t matter unless I want to live in the past! What am I grateful for? That is the only question I need to ask to get me from moment to moment!