I’ve been out of routine and out of my writing groove for the last few weeks. Luckily, organized, Type-A Jenn predicted this would happen with the travel I had planned and got some posts prepared ahead of time just in case I didn’t feel inspired to write while I was away. But of course, the posts ran out.
And now here I am trying to let the words flow after a stretch of time living life and visiting with many different people that I love dearly. It’s been a while since I’ve thought about what to share with you and in trying to come up with something worthy to say, I can't really seem to find any words to pour onto this page.
It's funny isn't it. When we think too much, try too hard, we're actually working against ourselves. Life as a writer, yoga teacher, really whatever it is you do, becomes so much more difficult when you're trying to please people and prove yourself to the world.
I always want to write something that will make a difference in your day. I strive to make this blog a little extension of your yoga mat. Part of that has been the result of me not teaching as much as I'm used to. This blog has become my way of sharing those little golden 'nuggets' of perspective that so often pop up naturally in a yoga class. I've been pretty good at setting that aside this year and writing no matter what. Some posts have really hit home, others are just simple updates on life. But today, the 'you need to write something inspirational' voice in my head has me typing, erasing, typing, erasing and sitting here staring at a blank screen with a blinking cursor.
This has me thinking - when does this all start?
At what point do we begin the endless and exhausting pursuit of seeking other’s approval?
At what age do we decide to base our self worth on what other people think or to word that a little better: what we think they think?
There is such a sense of freedom and joy in the way that small children move through their days. There is no concern for looking good and no need to please others. They are who they are, unapologetically. But at a certain stage, we all start to look to others for reassurance and approval that who we are and what we’re doing is enough. We stop defining our worth on our inner voice and instead we seek out external sources to build us up.
This strategy might work for a while but the problem is it’s temporary and fleeting. At a certain point we have to shift back to being the builder of our own self-worth. We have to be able to look ourselves in the mirror and believe whole-heartedly in who we are and what we do.
I’m going to be completely honest here and admit that I’m not quite there yet. In fact, with all the practice I do and transformation work and self help books I’ve read, it still shocks me how often I’m questioning myself and what I’m doing in the world. And here I am, sitting here, tea in hand, struggling to find words - I’m still playing the type, erase, type, erase game with myself, you're just reading the end result - and I can’t help but ask myself: how do I snap out of the doubt?
This strategy was shared with me by one of my great teachers, the problem is, I can't remember who. So if you happen to be reading this and you think, hey, that was me - please tell me so I can give you some credit. Here's the secret to shifting from seeking approval to serving with purpose. The moment you hear your mind slip into the cycle of wondering how you can prove yourself, whether you're a writer, a yoga teacher or far from either of these things, you ask yourself:
How can I help?
Boom. Just like that you're reminded that this work is never about you. That you're here to help others, not to get their approval. It shifts you out of the selfish, narcissistic thought patterns of wanting to be everyones favourite and into the purposeful, fulfilling work of sharing yourself with others so they can have their own experience, without worrying what they think of you. It puts you into the headspace of serving the world, which no matter who you are or what you do, is what we are all here to do.