I don’t need your approval :)

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I have been doing a lot of personality studying lately, and one thing I really noticed about myself is I’m pretty conditioned to doing things for other people’s approval.

I never really realized it before, but after studying the eneagram (more posts coming soon on that), it was quite fascinating to see just how much I do so other people may like me.

I never realized approval was the reason for my doing nice things but after learning the eneagram it became very apparent.

Truthfully I know most people do this at one level or another, but I’m not OK with being “most people” – I want to push myself as much as possible.

After learning the eneagram I started to watch my patterns from an observer’s standpoint without shame or judgment attached. It was very interesting to realize not only do I expect everyone to like me,  but if they don’t, I tend to want nothing to do with them.

That’s a shame since people who dislike me are probably the ones I could learn the most from (and they, me).

When my mentor Piperlyne shared the poem “The Invitation” with me yesterday, it seemed to fit everything I have been thinking about lately. I had seen it before but it never spoke to me on such a soul-screaming level as it does now.

I am using this poem to remember:

    • Even if I already committed to something I have the right to change my mind (And not think of myself as a liar.)


    • It’s OK to put myself before others (And I’m really just taking the easy way out by putting others first.)


    • What other people think about me really doesn’t need to concern me. I can learn from it or I can ignore it – but I definitely don’t need to personalize it.


    • When talking to people I should talk about what *I* feel. I no longer choose to watch people’s facial expressions and body language to gauge approval/disapproval and move the conversation accordingly.


    • It is not “spiritual” to put other’s in front of me all the time. In fact it’s pretty fake and not at all honoring my highest self.


    • I can still be nice to others. It’s just that it needs to come from a place of wanting to do it for the love of them/the world and not for approval.


    • Sitting in pain is FINE and not something I need to hide from. I am allowed to feel sad, angry, or hurt and it’s a beautiful thing.


    • It’s perfectly OK to look like a fool =)


Without further ado, here’s the amazing poem:

The Invitation by Oriah

It doesn’t interest me
what you do for a living.
I want to know
what you ache for
and if you dare to dream
of meeting your heart’s longing.

It doesn’t interest me
how old you are.
I want to know
if you will risk
looking like a fool
for love
for your dream
for the adventure of being alive.

It doesn’t interest me
what planets are
squaring your moon…
I want to know
if you have touched
the centre of your own sorrow
if you have been opened
by life’s betrayals
or have become shrivelled and closed
from fear of further pain.

I want to know
if you can sit with pain
mine or your own
without moving to hide it
or fade it
or fix it.

I want to know
if you can be with joy
mine or your own
if you can dance with wildness
and let the ecstasy fill you
to the tips of your fingers and toes
without cautioning us
to be careful
to be realistic
to remember the limitations
of being human.

It doesn’t interest me
if the story you are telling me
is true.
I want to know if you can
disappoint another
to be true to yourself.
If you can bear
the accusation of betrayal
and not betray your own soul.
If you can be faithless
and therefore trustworthy.

I want to know if you can see Beauty
even when it is not pretty
every day.
And if you can source your own life
from its presence.

I want to know
if you can live with failure
yours and mine
and still stand at the edge of the lake
and shout to the silver of the full moon,

It doesn’t interest me
to know where you live
or how much money you have.
I want to know if you can get up
after the night of grief and despair
weary and bruised to the bone
and do what needs to be done
to feed the children.

It doesn’t interest me
who you know
or how you came to be here.
I want to know if you will stand
in the centre of the fire
with me
and not shrink back.

It doesn’t interest me
where or what or with whom
you have studied.
I want to know
what sustains you
from the inside
when all else falls away.

I want to know
if you can be alone
with yourself
and if you truly like
the company you keep
in the empty moments.

BONUS! Find this helpful? To download this post as a PDF, click here!

0 thoughts on “I don’t need your approval :)”

  1. Hi Rachel,

    I LOVE this poem! I too have always wanted the approval of others and I think it goes back to a lot of self esteem issues including relationships and such. It really goes deeper than that too but I’m slowly learning myself that I really don’t need the approval of others for me to be content and live my life with meaning.

    Worrying about what others think or waiting for their approval only hinders me from realizing my full potential. What I have learned is that I cannot control others, their actions or what they think, I can only control myself and if I do that to the best of my ability each and every day then I will be a better person and I can live my life in abundance.


    1. I love the poem too! Man – it sounds like we have a lot of similarities. Please look out for my Enneagram blog post soon… I think we’re both 2’s (I know it’s vague but I promise the post is coming soon AND it gives ideas on how to overcome stuff :))

      With love,

  2. Gina,

    Thanks for this comment!

    You are of course more than welcome to link to this post – and I totally appreciate it, too!

    Very interesting on what Stephanie had you do! It kind of reminds me of the 5 Love Languages – learn what primary love language someone speaks, and then help serve them in that language.

    It sounds like you’re probably very high “Words Of Affirmation” (I am too). :)

    I wonder if you’re the same as me on the Enneagram as well (I’m a 2 and it’s all about doing amazing things for other people all the time but deep down doing it because we want approval). ;)

    I want to make the enneagram blog post soon, I’m just waiting on one of the guys who taught it to give me an “OK” to share the notes!


  3. :) I completely agree, Jill!

    There is SO MUCH to celebrate and this poem keeps reminding me to forget the small stuff and go out there and LIVE!

    Thank you so much for the comment. :)

  4. Hi Rachel:

    I was cleaning some VERY old comments on one of my blogs today and stumbled upon a comment you had made a year or two ago. It linked me to your blog and I just had to say hello and thank you for sharing “The Invitation”. I hope you don’t mind me sharing it with my readers as well (giving you and Piper full credit, of course!).

    About 1 1/2 years ago, I studied with one of my mentors, Stephanie Frank, who also teaches you about personality style and values and how you can use them to become more efficient, more productive, and more fulfilled. When I took the tests that she recommended, I had 2 extremely high values:

    1) My value for being appreciated, and
    2) My value for the approval of others

    She helped me to find a way to make sure that these were honored each and every dy so that it could help me become more prductive. What did she do?

    Well, she suggested that I have my husband and my team members tell me at least once per day how much they appreciate me. She suggested that I require this of them and, at the same time, that I find out what each of them valued so that I could give the same message back to them in a way that would hold meaning for each of them.

    In the first month of putting this to work, I was able to get as much done as I had in the prior 9 months! Talk about increasing production! The best part was that I was also able to cut out 52 hours a month from my schedule and be MUCH happier in everything I did!

    I can’t wait to hear what you’re talking about with “the eneagram”. As always, I’m glad to see a former student succeeding in such a big way! Keep up the GREAT work!


  5. I love “The Invitation” – about ten years ago an awesome massage instructor & wonderful person read it to me. It made me awaken and I think of its intention now and again.

    Love your post – and the part of your journey that you are embracing. Life is so rich when you really get down to it!

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