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Sharing Yourself Without Worrying About Being Accepted

Hiding

“Happiness is really a deep harmonious inner satisfaction and approval.” ~Francis Wilshire

Acceptance.

This is a word we often toss around, but what does it truly mean? Perhaps the meaning of it ultimately resides within its beholder. I know I have certainly achieved my own understanding of what acceptance means to me and for me, and so far, this definition is ever evolving.

On November 6, 2013, I returned to the United States after having lived in Australia for two and a half years. I spent the majority of my time there studying and practicing yoga and teaching yoga and meditation.

As a teacher, I had to face my attachment to the experience my students had or did not have. I feared that I would not be good enough, that somehow they would find fault in my delivery, and that I would ultimately not be accepted.

Now, let’s be clear, this fear was no new fear. It had haunted me all my life. Becoming a yoga and meditation teacher was just one of the divine blessings that brought this fear to the surface for me to clear and overcome, like nothing had been able to before it.

At the end of last year, I traveled to the Oneness University in India. For thirty-one days we went through many classes, ancient rituals, and ceremonies, and had an abundance of time and opportunity to see ourselves clearly.

The monks lovingly guided us to look at our unconscious fear, pain, suffering, and inauthentic actions.

This was extremely confronting, because most of us had no idea we were operating on a level of such fear.

After that, I went back to Australia and spent the next five months falling apart as I became aware of so much inner dissatisfaction and disapproval. Holy Moly! I sometimes wondered if I’d ever come through it.

During this time, I did some coaching with a woman named Jaxin Brooke. In our initial consultation, it became clear how much I longed to feel like I fit somewhere, like I belonged, like I was completely accepted.

She helped me see how I had been going about this with external efforts; I thought if I could up my career game, or perhaps if I moved back to America, or got married, then maybe I would “fit in.”

The truth was, I suffered from internal rejection and an inability to feel like what I was offering, who I was, and where I was at in my life were good enough.

Awareness is the most effective tool for helping me shift from fear to love, from criticism to compassion, and from conditional to unconditional love.

Awakening begins with seeing.

Once I become aware of the way I am currently operating—meaning I can see the inner critic, the judgments, the fear, and the stories—the awareness alone brings light to the darkness or consciousness to the unconscious. This brings about an automatic shift in perception. So for me, inner satisfaction and approval depend on my level of inner awareness.

Between working with Jaxin and watching a TED talk by Brené Brown on vulnerability, I began to experience a profound shift. There was a specific message that I received, and that message was this:

“Acceptance comes as a result of sharing what’s in our hearts, regardless of the outcome.”

It clicked. I understood that acceptance was no one else’s responsibility. It was my own. The first step toward it was vulnerability. Vulnerability is courageous. Courage comes from the Latin word cor, which means heart.

I began to share what was in my heart, regardless of the outcome, in my classes, with my boyfriend, with my clients, with my friends, in my articles, and I began to experience something beautiful.

Showing up and sharing was no longer about the feedback or responses I got from others. It was about me doing my part. It was about showing up as the best version of myself, without hiding the things I assumed other people wouldn’t love.

I began to apply this into my daily life as a spiritual practice. I began to give fully, to speak my truth openly, to share what was in my heart each day, regardless of the outcome, and I experienced the joy of connecting with people like never before.

I was no longer trying to be perfect, but rather letting them see me exactly the way I was.

I was finally able to see my boyfriend through loving eyes, becoming aware of everything that was awesome about him instead of picking out what was wrong about him.

I was able to share, personally and professionally, from a place of authenticity and vulnerability. I was no longer taking responsibility for what others did or did not get from my sharing, because I knew my only job was to generously and unconditionally give what sat in my heart and to surrender the rest.

As a result, my relationships became even more powerful, even more mutually nourishing, and even more effective.

Everything began to flow in abundant ways after this awareness blossomed within me, which has been a huge help for me now that I am back in the U.S. and spending time with family.

Our loved ones have the ability to show us our deepest, darkest corners of insecurity, self-judgments, and inner disapproval.

As a result, we typically end up pointing the finger at them and complaining about how imperfect they are. This trip home has been different for me than trips in the past.

I have always assumed my family thinks certain things, that they judge me, or are disappointed in me for not being what they may have wanted me to be.

Now, however, when I see myself in conversations with them and the old programs come up, telling these stories of their disapproval of me, in that moment I can soften. I can recognize the pain that is present in us all in that moment. I can have compassion for them and myself.

I can reaffirm that I know who I am, I know what I’ve achieved in my life, and I know what amazing things I am up to; and therefore, I don’t have to demand their approval.

I can consciously choose to let go of the old stories, the boxes I have put us in, the need to prove anything, and instead I can re-examine things with fresh eyes that have only one goal: to love myself and them.

Even if my assumptions about my family were right, which is unlikely, with inner satisfaction and approval, I can still be happy and okay in the face of other people who may think, feel, and see things differently than I do.

Awareness is what opens the pair of internal eyes that we need to see what is going on onside of us. Awareness will shine the inner flashlight on the internal fear and criticism. It will show us where we are currently operating and offer us the opportunity to upgrade.

I am not inviting you to fix or change yourself. I simply invite you to turn on the flashlight within and see what happens. I invite you to become willing to surrender to the process that will follow such awareness, and to stay committed to your intention to accept yourself and others.

Photo by Jennifer Graevell

About Erin Lanahan

Erin is an Internationally Certified Life Coach, Yoga Instructor, and Motivational Writer and Speaker. Her mission is to inspire as many people as possible to return to their natural state of peace, abundance, health, inspiration & love so they may create the life the deeply desire. Visit her blog  and  You Tube Page.

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  • gigi

    ‘Vulnerability is courageous’: this is so beautiful and true.

  • I totally agree with you. It’s not more confession centered as the other articles, but it’s more focused on helping others, which I state awareness as global problem 🙂 Great one Erin!

  • Tara

    Great post!

  • erinlanahanmethod

    Thank you Tara! Nice to meet you here 🙂

  • erinlanahanmethod

    Thanks Nikola! Just out of curiosity what do you mean by “confession centred?” So great to meet you here! Peace 🙂

  • erinlanahanmethod

    <3 <3 <3

  • Kristal

    Thank you so much, this is just what I needed to know.

  • sheree

    Thank you, just what I needed right now. What a fantastic and well written article.

  • DE

    Vulnerability is wonderful, but the society I came from, it is a rare practice. Each time, I am trying to be vulnerable, people around me consider it as weakness and they coil up more than
    open up.

  • This is great. I tend to think of seeking approval and acceptance from external sources as a way of giving away one’s power. When you depend on others to feel okay about yourself, you give them control over you. When I remember that, I’m inspired to take my power back. I tend to be pretty self sufficient and stubborn, and I don’t want anyone else to get to decide my worth but ME! ;p
    The funny thing is, once you do accept yourself fully, often you find that that’s when people actually start accepting you more! Or the people you really care about anyway 😉
    It’s definitely an ongoing process, but personally, I think it’s the most important and life changing thing a person can ever do.
    Thanks for sharing your story 🙂

  • Amazing story, Jennifer!
    I love this part “I was no longer trying to be perfect, but rather letting them see me exactly the way I was.” which pushed me to recall as a chain reaction this: “Be proud of who you are and not ashamed of how other people see you.” Both very powerful messages I think…

  • ddh

    thank you:)

  • Talya Price

    “Acceptance comes as a result of sharing what’s in our hearts, regardless of the outcome.”

    Thank you for this. I believe that this is very true. We have to be true to ourselves. Life is a journey and what is the point in living a lie, it is best to be yourself all the time. And it isn’t your job to make people like you. You attract what you are.

  • Harmony

    I absolutely love your post, Erin! I have been travelling the same path and I know it is no easy road so congratulations on your courage. This is really what it’s all about–awareness and acceptance of oneself. Then the fear begins to fall away and there is only love and compassion. Some days I feel like a ball of yarn unravelling but I keep moving forward and inward, doing my best to be open and share my truth. Yes, indeed. I AM up to some amazing things!! Thank you so much! Exactly the reminder I needed today!

  • erinlanahanmethod

    Beautiful Harmony 🙂 Thank you for sharing and connecting with me here! Love and Peace <3

  • erinlanahanmethod

    You are so welcome Tayla 🙂 Thank YOU!

  • erinlanahanmethod

    Pleasure. Sharing is what brings us together. Great to meet you 🙂

  • erinlanahanmethod

    I know what you mean, and usually they do this because they are unable to share what is in their hearts, so when you do, it triggers them. This is the practice for us all. Thank you for sharing 🙂

  • erinlanahanmethod

    Thank you Sheree! <3

  • erinlanahanmethod

    You are welcome Kristal! Hugs and Peace!

  • erinlanahanmethod

    Hey LesyaLi, my name is Erin. And thank you 🙂 I think Jennifer is the photographer <3

  • Well, the other articles are more directed towards showing life experience from confession, while you give more direct information of self-improvement. The other articles I sensed more with compassion, while yours can be directly inducted 🙂 I hope I made more sense now.

  • dyson

    True, life does fall apart when you look inward, one of the most difficult things to do but beautiful and worth it , I am not sure how far I am done but feel better. Biggest lesson : go easy on self and when the need arises the strength/ skill shall be there within. Love u Erin lanahan

  • Whoops… sorry, Erin. My vision has been letting me down lately ;( But hey, I just have to accept that 🙂

  • lv2terp

    BEAUTIFUL!!!!!! Inspiring post, thank you for sharing your insight! 🙂

  • erinlanahanmethod

    Ahhh got it! Thanks for clarifying that for me:) Have a beautiful day!

  • erinlanahanmethod

    Haha totally!! No worries, just wanted us to know eachothers names 🙂 Hugs and smiles! ❤️

  • stephanirose

    Wow, this is exactly what I needed to read today 🙂

  • Quandra

    Just what I needed to hear…

  • Thank you 🙂 You too!

  • Hi Erin!

    Self acceptance, self awareness and vulnerability challenge me ad infinitum. Thank you for gifting us with an insightful and eloquent enlightenment to awareness. As a published writer myself, I particularly admire your beautiful and inspiring manner. It’s very rich and I could almost feel the glow emanating from your heart and soul.

    I adore Brene Brown and her talk on vulnerability. Indeed vulnerability is courageous and not a sign of weakness, which I use to tell myself. I’ll add a second element to being vulnerable. In order to be vulnerable you must be courageous AND you must embrace being outside your comfort zone. Be uncomfortable! Greatness does not happen in your comfort zone.

    Courage + Discomfort = Vulnerability

    Thank you for my motivational jolt for the day. It’s much better than multiple shots of espresso. I am off now to get more of you by visiting your blog.

    Namaste

  • Alyssa

    Beautiful post! Thank you for sharing 🙂

  • Tania Yardley

    Thanks, Erin. This is great. It’s something I’m just starting to get. When you back and accept yourself, it doesn’t really matter so much whether other people do. It’s often self-rejection that really hurts. Sometimes that’s the only rejection that’s even there.

  • bdzc

    Wow. Reading this post lead to about an hour of watching Brené Brown videos on youtube and coming across some powerful thoughts.

    I feel like I had taken (somehow…I really still find it hard to beleive, it’s so new) the first step towards self acceptance and a feeling of self worth independent from external validation (or invalidation!) and your post and Brene Brown’s talk about vulnerability and courage have been like a second step towards living in a way that fulfills me.

    I also had the opportunity to put these notions into practice (literally while I was reading) in a conversation with someone…and even though the outcome wasn’t what I wanted, or expected by pushing to be honest, vulnerable and courageous I feel (1) Not frustrated, which is how I usually feel when something doesn’t happen like I wanted it to and (2) I feel like I got something valuable out of the conversation I had…I feel good about daring to express what I thought and felt, and at the same time I think I managed to connect a bit more with this person.

    Thank you for sharing your thoughts, Erin!

  • Jeevan/Mirthu/Gupt

    This was beautiful and thought provoking…Thank you for sharing & the raw authenticity & vulnerability in it! 🙂

  • Christie

    I love, love, love this post! It is so true that we ignore our authenticity when trying so hard to gain the approval of others. It is exhausting worrying about being accepted and living up to other’s expectations. Vulnerability can be a scary feeling but becoming aware of my insecurities and feelings while being “real” can feel so liberating. We can all feel accepted by ourselves, we have that right. I love the line, “I simply invite you to turn on the flashlight within and see what happens.” So very well written! Thank you for this, it is much needed!

  • M

    Self Acceptance is a hard lesson to learn, but as you said very valuable. Glad to hear that it worked out for you. I’m just at the beginning but have made similar experiences in regards to showing vulnabilities and therefore connecting with people on a deeper level.

    seeingdifferently.weebly.com

  • y3shuA imMANu3l

    So…

    I want to share the fact that I have been going through this “process” since june2014.
    I didn’t believe it myself until maybe 5 months ago. It always felt so real on the inside and I loved it so I pushed forward but my mind always had doubts.
    Until…

    About two-three months ago…
    I was at my house in Pennsylvania and I woke up at about 7:30am…
    I go out my front door…
    And there before me were these little bright lights flying around like fireflies…
    Only a little bigger and the way they moved was unlike any insect…
    The light was like the xenon or h.i.d. white light on car headlights….bright white

    I thought it was my morning eyes so I rubbed my eyes…
    clearer yet…

    rubbed my eyes again…

    I saw them with my eyes not in my higher consciousness…

    I knew they were waiting for my instruction…

    So…
    I asked my dad(God) to handle it since he knows best…

    I knew that experience was to give me more confidence…

    And it worked…

    My fathers will shall be done…
    Anyone trying to stop it will only hurt themselves…

    What is our mission?
    To remove evil from the face of the Earth and put our dad in his proper place which is in the hearts of his children…

    by any means necessary…

  • y3shuA imMANu3l

    “I am seeking to recall the Real You who is
    incapable of Fear, back to this physical expression called body.”