I just got back from a lovely family trip to Chicago to see my brother and his family, and my papa and step-mom. It was super laid back, full of entertaining conversations, games, amazing meals, long walks and lots of kid time.
Here’s a picture of me teaching my papa how to take a selfie. Hilarious.
I’m really close with my papa and I just love him to pieces. Being his favorite kid was a top priority of mine for a long time, and I spent a lot of time and energy trying to win that position. Unfortunately (or fortunately) I have three incredible siblings who are impossible to compete with – so I’m sure he’s never been able to award that title to any one of us for more than a day or two.
He isn’t the only person that I’ve vied for a favorite position with. In fact, I have to admit that most of my life I worked so hard to try to be everyone’s favorite: favorite student, favorite friend, favorite neighbor, favorite lover, favorite customer, favorite boss, favorite cousin, favorite … whatever I was to each person.
Now, I may or may not have achieved that position with many people, but the point is I spent so much energy trying … I. Was. Exhausted.
And no amount of external adoration could rejuvenate me.
I’m an extreme example of this. Not everyone shoots for favorite, but we all want approval. Whether you/we readily admit it or not, approval is something that humans strive for. And, because I know that it can be a never ending cycle of desire for more and more, I’m going to let you in on how I broke the cycle and became free of this struggle.
I focused on becoming one person’s favorite.
We search outside of ourselves endlessly for appreciation, loyalty, and esteem, thinking that if we were just prettier, smarter, funnier, or richer, other people would give it to us. And maybe they do, but until we are able to give it to ourselves, we can’t really accept it from anyone else. Their approval is meaningless, their praise empty, their compliments pointless – not because they don’t mean it, but because we don’t agree.
I see it all the time: employees who complain that they’re undervalued at work, wives who feel like their husbands don’t love them, artists who feel like no one appreciates their work. But really the employer is trying, the husband is expressive, and the public is adoring. It can’t be received, and therefore it isn’t perceived.
You have to value, love, and appreciate yourself before you’ll be able to experience it coming from others. You have to be your own favorite, first. – Tweet it
This inner approval will help you focus on what’s really important to you. You’ll no longer be yearning for others to give you the thumbs up, and instead you can use your energy to create exactly what you want. Without creation or failure being the determining factor for your self esteem, you can dream bigger, go farther, and explore more.
Because you are your favorite. No. Matter. What.
I’d love to hear from you in the comments. Come tell me about how great you are and why you love you.