Seeking Approval

By admin • In James Barbour News1 Comments

CatLionI remember having a conversation with a dear friend of mine a few years ago, and by a few years ago I’m talking like 10 years back.  I always try to help my friends pursue their goals and when I see them “stuck” I try to find ways to get them “unstuck.”

The interesting thing here is that in the beginning helping people get “unstuck” didn’t always work they way I had hoped.  I would get frustrated when after hours of in depth conversation about goals and dreams and revelations about their true inner fire, they would just go back to their old habits and be “stuck’ yet again.

I can’t tell you how frustrating that was at first because I couldn’t understand why they just wouldn’t get unstuck and pursue the goals they so deeply placed out there in front of them. I also began to get frustrated because I would spend countless hours with them, working with them only to have all the work we did fall by the way side and wondered if I was wasting my time.

So was I wasting my time? Not at all. I just had to look at the situation in a different light. THEY were the ones who were stuck. Oftentimes, and I’m sure you’ve experienced this yourself, it’s easer to see something when you’re standing outside of it.

Say you have a friend who is in a relationship and you know that it’s not the best situation for them.  They’re unhappy, they’re sad and they talk to you all the time about how their partner makes them feel this way or that.  It’s a bad deal they know it and you know it but for some reason they won’t get out of that relationship so they stay “stuck” and unhappy.

It is, however, absolutely clear to you that they would be much happier and flourish in their lives if they just moved on and no matter what you say, no matter how supportive you re…nothing changes.  This is true for many similar situations business or personal.

It’s easy for me to look objectively at a situation, take the emotion out of it and find a rational solution. But for the person IN the situation it’s not as easy…or so they think.

Again this all comes down to responsibility level. They, you, we are all ultimately responsible for EVERYTHING that that happens in our lives. If we choose to stay in the bad relationship that’s on us.  OK so why does this happen?

One of the main obstacles I encountered when people are stuck is that they are focused on what other people think of them, their choices and their goals rather than what they want or what is best for them.  I have friends in their 40’s and 50’s who are still worried about what their parents will think of their choices.  I’m not kidding here. COME ON! Seriously?

This is a MAJOR sticking point for many, many people.  Some people might call this selfishness and yes there is a certain amount os selfish behavior that comes into play but it’s not the “bad” kind.  What do I mean by this?  For example, you need sleep and food to function, you need to make it to work on time etc.

These things, if you think about it, are selfish acts.  You choose not to go out with friends because you need to get extra sleep before a big meeting.  You don’t want to eat the pizza others are eating at the Super Bowl party because it’s not healthy for you.  Yes…these are all selfish choices but they are positives.

Here’s the nuts and bolts of it.

YOUR REALITY IS NOT THEIR REALITY. Your life is not their life. Your choices are not their choices. Just because everyone around you is getting married doesn’t mean you have to.  Just because everyone around you is voting for a specific candidate doesn’t mean you have to, just because someone thinks your goal to be the best puppeteer in the world is silly…does not mean that it is.

Heck, look at Jim Henson.  He created the muppets and thus an empire that has changed the lives of so many people.  He played with puppets and made us all fall in love with them.

Stop worrying about what other people think of you. Stop worrying about what they might think of your choices and go for them!  Think of how much time you waste worrying about what others think of you when you could be using that time to pursue your goals or doing something that makes you happy.

My personal goals are family, friends, finances and helping other people achieve their goals and dreams. And here’s the cool part, they are all intertwined.  Every time and I mean every time someone told me I “couldn’t” or “wouldn’t” achieve my goals only fortified me to work harder to pursue and reach them.


Be true to YOURSELF.  Be true to your goals and be true to your choices. For you artists out there this is a big one. Make the choices in your art that YOU feel are right. Don’t be a cookie cutout. You are unique and special. Those qualities are what will set you apart from everyone else. Those qualities are what will make your dreams come true.

Set yourself free!

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