“You are good enough.”
I have a fatal flaw.
I rely on the praise and adoration of other people to determine my worth. It’s a horrible habit. I’d say it’s right up there with smoking or drinking, and like both of those things, it’s just as addicting.
Throughout my day it’s easy to bombard myself with negative self-talk like:
- “You’re freaking weird.”
- “You’re not any fun.”
- “Nobody wants to talk to you.”
- “What are you even doing with your life?”
Furthermore it’s just as easy for me to engage in hyper-people pleasing to justify my worth as a human being.
It’s just a delicious cocktail, isn’t it?
It’s a problem, for sure, that many people have.
The hard part is, it’s a painful process to eradicate this need of approval from your psyche. It’s an addiction. When you cut off an addictive substance from your body, you go into withdrawal, right?
I think the same is true for a need of approval. Cutting that out of your life will lead to some sort of emotional withdrawal. And it’s going to suck.
Here’s how to start understanding you are good enough.
I’m 28 Years Old And I’m Just Now Learning This Lesson
As a blogger I’m pretty much addicted to attention. I’m addicted to views. 50,000 followers. 3,000,000 lifetime page views. My work featured in major outlets like the Huffington Post and Elite Daily.
It’s been one big race to get as much attention as possible.
I feel emptier than ever.
Every day I race to my work to try get as much work done as possible. If I don’t get a lot done, I’m worthless, right? If I have one bad day I’m a sack of shit who doesn’t understand the value of good ol’ fashioned hard work.
But my work ethic doesn’t make me a good person.
It gives me some value, sure — I won’t take it that far — but here’s a thought worth exploring..
You are good enough.
Even my romantic relationships go like this. I lean on the approval of my partners to make me feel like a worthwhile human being.
How I’m Kicking The Habit And Understand You Are Good Enough
My addiction to other people’s opinions started at a young age. I was bullied heavily in elementary school. Every day felt like I was walking into some psychological war zone. All I wanted was to be accepted by my classmates — particularly the boys — so the suffering could end.
It’s hard for a child to understand that he doesn’t need the approval of anybody else to feel good enough.
When you’re alone and getting mentally abused as your brain’s developing, that’s not a great combination. I think my addiction started there.
It might be easy for you to see why I took up something like blogging. I craved acceptance so much that I decided to go write on the internet for it. I reached millions of people. I got a lot of praise and adoration. My plan was working.
But after five years, millions of article views, and viral Facebook videos, I still wasn’t happy. I still didn’t hear “you are good enough” from the universe.
All the things I thought would make me happy — semi-internet fame, a successful business, freedom — it’s not doing it for me.
So in this way I got here to this crossroads at 28 years old. I’ve cut all my friends out of my life, I’ve quit vlogging, and I’m trying my best to break up with social media.
And boy does it feel like withdrawal.
What have I done to crush the addiction?
I’ve cut out all the sources of approval from my life. I use friends to feel like a good person. I use relationships to feel like a good person. They’re like drugs. No more.
Isolation isn’t a good thing. But sometimes you need to shock your system to make a significant change in your life. I feel bad because I don’t have anyone to tell me that I’m worthwhile as a human being.
I can tell myself that. I can look myself in the mirror every day and be my own number 1 fan. I can change. I can take the pressure off of my friends, family, and significant others and feel fine without their approval.
I can say “You are good enough,” to myself every day.
What Would A Good Person Do Right Now?
“Yesterday I was clever, so I wanted to change the world. Today I am wise, so I am changing myself.”
In March of this year I got sick of feeling sorry for myself and started designing a plan for my life.
I started reading. I started learning a new language. I started working out. I started waking up consistently at 6:30–7:00 AM for work.
I started introducing some discipline into my life.
I asked myself a few questions every day..
What would a good person do right now?
What would a disciplined person do?
What would a person with character do?
I answered these questions, then did whatever the answer was.
Did I really want to improve? Great, then start reading, Tom. Did I really want to change? Good, then buy a fucking plane ticket to a place where you don’t know the language, Tom. Do you want to act like an adult? Try getting up at 7 AM every day because that’s what adults do, Tom.
One by one I weeded out bad habits, and I’m still doing so right now.
With every bad habit weeded out, I felt better and better. I felt worthy.
Heroes don’t become heroes by sitting at home doing nothing. To become the hero of your own story, you gotta get your ass kicked. You have to embrace the beginner’s mind. You need to place your body into the fiery crucible of anti-comfort and get hammered away on.
That’s how to fucking change.
Do it for you, too. Don’t do it for anybody else. Do it for you. Improve in silence. Improve behind closed doors.
As you do all of this, you’ll break the addiction. You’ll understand that you are good enough. You’ll become an army of one, and you’ll be able to take on the world.
That’s what’s worked for me, anyway.
So here’s the 2 step process to breaking an addiction to approval.
Step 1: Cut out as many sources of approval that you use as you possibly can.
Step 2: Improve yourself behind closed doors, and do it for yourself, not for anybody else.
That’s a shock to the system if I’ve ever seen it. It’s worked for me.
That’s how to start understanding that you are good enough.