We’ve built a billion dollar self help industry on one fundamental premise: Somebody else, a guru, a God, a mentor, a hero, or role model has the answers we’re searching for.
As a culture, we constantly look outside of ourselves for answers. We read self help books, listen to podcasts, go to church, hire coaches, and attend seminars. We look for so many things outside of ourselves: validation, satisfaction, permission, love. We base our happiness on factors we can’t control and our lives get filled with unmet expectations.
We fail to see that what we seek outside of ourselves is already within us. We can give ourselves validation, satisfaction, permission and love. Paradoxically, when we give these things to ourselves, we are much more likely to get them from other people.
It’s very common in Indian cultures that kids are raised with very high expectations and as a result, these kids desperately want to feel their parents’ validation and acceptance. I spent years seeking validation from my parents, only to realize that even though they were proud, it would never be expressed according to my expectations.
In my interview with Ishita Gupta, she said she came to the same conclusion. Everything that she was seeking from her parents and family she would have to give to herself.
This is easier said than done because we all have a deep need to be validated, but it’s only in letting go of that when we become the most fully self expressed, no-bullshit versions of ourselves.
We don’t look for anything outside of ourselves as much as we do for love. We look for it from our parents, friends, and romantic partners. All of the things mentioned above are really a search for reassurance that we’re loved.
We all want to be seen, heard and above all things loved. But we also have an expectation of what that looks like, how that love is expressed from parents, peers, friends, and romantic partners. With that expectation, we attempt to fill an internal void with external validation. But this kind of love leaks, it doesn’t fill us up. We have holes in our hearts because we don’t love ourselves.
We can’t expect other people to fill our hearts or make us feel whole and complete. Whether that’s in the form of permission, validation, or love, when we expect to get those things from other people, and be expressed according to our specifications that not only puts unrealistic pressure on them. But, we enter situations in our lives from a place of scarcity, and deficiency.
When we assume our hearts can only be filled with love from outside of us, we’ll inevitably go through the world feeling deficient in some way and paradoxically unlovable.
It doesn’t have to be this way. The less expectations you have the less disappointments you have. You might think this would prevent you from getting what you want, but it has the opposite effect. You go through life with a greater sense of inner peace. You acknowledge what you’re looking for from other people, and you go to war to give that to yourself.
When I started letting go of my need for permission, validation, and approval, and started to give those things to myself, I started to experience a very different reality. I was happier, more confident and all of my relationships improved.
It’s incredibly powerful to give yourself everything you’re seeking from others. Ishita Gupta will be teaching how to do that at The Architects of Reality.
Ishita Gupta works privately with people who want to live up to their potential, gain confidence, magnetize the right opportunities to them. She helped Seth Godin launch his book, Linchpin and was the head of media at The Domino Project, where she helped launch 6 best-selling books. Listen to her interview or watch our new animation to get a glimpse into her work.
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