It’s time to fly, with or without your approval.

*Disclaimer: This post is a contradiction in itself. I get that.



“If people refuse to look at you in a new light and they can only see you for what you were, only see you for the mistakes you’ve made, if they don’t realize that you are not your mistakes, then they have to go.” ― Steve Maraboli, Life, the Truth, and Being Free

Sometimes you have to put the past away and start fresh. The past few years have been about finding gray, not living in the extremes of black or white. My pendulum has swung from one extreme to the other, and is now finally settling into the middle, in all aspects of my life.

This blog, that I once posted in at least twice a week, has sat dormant now for almost four months. What was once an indispensable part of my life, suddenly felt like an anchor pulling me down. My life has evolved so much over the past two years, and I have grown away from these virtual pages that once defined me. I see so many people, and other bloggers, who keep churning out the same struggles, complaints, and problems, while never seeming to find their way out of the misery. These pages are part of my past, without a doubt, they were the stepping-stones of life that led me here. These pages became chains, and I needed a break to live in the real world, experiencing my own struggles and successes without the need for the constant validation of blogging. It had become time to leave the nest, and fly.

I have still written, just not in a blog. Now I feel a need to start over, to close not only this chapter, but this book, and move on to the next one. I’m quite sure I’m not the only blogger who shares this sentiment. Sometimes we look back at the body of work we have generated, and realize we can’t walk around in it anymore. There comes a time to start fresh. That time for me, is now.

I went from one addiction to another.

Approval addiction had become my need for validation from others in order to feel ‘good enough’ about myself. If I cannot feel good about myself, my creative efforts, my decisions or my life without hearing from those around me, that I am indeed, doing a good job, then I have put myself in a very fucking powerless position. You feel me? (see what I just did there?)

While most of us enjoy appreciation for our efforts, there is a huge difference between a healthy pleasure in compliments, and approval addiction. The first problem with an excessive need to be validated by those around us for everything we do, is that we are relying on something that is beyond our control to make us feel good.

The only way that we can truly feel good about ourselves and our lives is to create our validation within ourselves.

Another issue is that seeking approval from others will never fill the void that is created by a lack of self-approval, and this is where the addiction sets in. Because we are looking to other people to give us what we have failed to create within ourselves, we find that we cannot get enough. No matter how many times our loved ones tell us we are great, or how many compliments we receive, it is never enough, because we can’t absorb what we are greedily seeking.

Let me stop and say, I thing blogging, writing, expressing, all of it, is awesome. I have no regrets. But there comes a time, when I have to see it for what it had become. I was lifted up, and I love you for all of it. Now it’s time to make myself feel the way I became dependent on other people making me feel.

The words of others can be like the icing on the cake of our solid sense of rightness in ourselves, but if we don’t have that cake to start with, no amount of icing is going to do us much good. We have got to approve of ourselves first. If we can create a healthy self-approval, then we will be able to accept both praise and criticism from others, without either being always hungry for more, or feeling shattered.

That right there people, is the trick.

I am realizing that forgiving those I feel withheld approval in my formative years is a vital step in letting go of past hurt, and being able to move forward in a positive direction. This is really, really fucking hard. Forgiveness does not mean agreeing that what was done is right, but rather, accepting that the person concerned did things in the only way they felt able at the time. It is letting go of the hurt and blame that keeps us feeling the pain of our past into the present.

Once I began to recognize that approval addiction was creating a problem in my life, I began to work on creating the approval and validation I needed within myself. I had an epiphany. It is not anyone elses job to make me feel good about myself. I must do this internally. There is no other way.

To begin creating a sense of being good enough without validation from others is a daunting prospect. I have craved approval for years from other people, and once I recognized it, it was downright scary to think of letting go of that need.

Approval addiction became a huge issue in my life. I encourage you to be aware of the pattern, and take courage from the fact that, like any other harmful habit, it can be changed. I believe that if there is anything in your life that you want to change, with belief and commitment, change is not only possible, but inevitable. If we think we can, we can.

We have to let go of who we were, in order to become who we will be.


Categories: Uncategorized

16 replies

  1. As per, brilliant, both in substance and execution. All the best for the next part of your journey. You have made us laugh until we cried, may we now look steadfastly into the mirror you hold up before us and embrace the truth. Lead on, I say, write on. Respect REDdog

  2. Tracy, I am so happy you wrote this. Approval has been my oxygen for as long as I can remember. I want that cake, not just the icing. IThis was inspiring, truly, and it reminded me that I have this big fucking mountain to climb when it comes to validation, but it’s within reach. It’s great to read you again.

  3. Scruffy,

    I get the contradiction thing, approval is a trap you have struggled in. Now it seems you will struggle less or not at all…The trap is sort of like your friend – it reminds you not to struggle if you choose to see things differently. I don’t even think of myself as a blogger, sure I got some whoop on for a stretch, but basically I’m enjoying a different frame of reference on WordPress. I could point to certain similarities we share or how I “get” you in ways that seem familiar, but sometimes it is really worth setting all that aside.

    I like you in remarkably neutral ways.


  4. Tracy, I totally get this. The need for approval and validation can be this constant circle on the blogs. I’m so proud of you. You sound so strong and certain, and that you have gained validation within yourself, so it is time to fly. I wish you the very best.

  5. And again, you wrote what I needed to read. Timing has a lot to do with the outcome of a rain dance. You’ve taught me how to find my truth – okay, maybe that’s something I already “knew” – you just worded it (so) much better. Thank you – your blog will be missed. sjg

  6. I was reading this, and thought – jeez, this is something I have thought about and actually have written about as well. It’s the touchstone of my own journey, in many ways, and something I still struggle with. It’s what you talk about – seeking validation from within, and not from the external. I spent my life doing that – people pleasing and trying to ingratiate myself to others in hopes that they would like me, and then that would make me like me. Drinking was both a way to feel good about myself and yet push away the need to have others like me. Self-loathing ensued.

    When I started blogging, I wrote only for me. I didn’t read any other blogs. Just wrote. Eventually I was all over the place, and was checking my stats, likes, etc. in a way that was uncomfortable for me. I was seeking that validation from others again. I took a few breaks and feel that things are more centered for me. I think what you said is vital – that no matter whatever anyone says – either high praise or venemous words – my view of myself, my core…doesn’t change. I am who I am, regardless of what others say.

    Today I strive to be in a place where words don’t affect the way they used to. I don’t get buzzed up when someone says something nice, I don’t get stuffed down when someone says something not-so-nice. It’s their reaction to me, and it’s theirs. I need to focus on where I am with me. And that sounds like your path too.

    I wish you the best – I know that you will be missed, but I think moving on is something that we all do at some point. I am pretty sure that I will do that same at some point.

    Love and light,

  7. Tracy, that was beautifully written. Everything you wrote was absolutly true. At some point in everyone’s life they have to change something about themselves. Let it go and be the person you want to be. I’ll miss your wonderful stories, but you are doing the right thing. It’s a new person and a new life.
    I wish you all the best and Love yourself !!

    Love you

  8. I took a break from Deliberate Donkey in December and planned to return in January. I still haven’t returned. In my time away, I found a happiness I hadn’t experienced yet in my journey and I knew I had told all the stories I could tell. I walked away from it without word one to anyone. No one noticed or asked, and I was ok with that. For me, it was about being supported as I glued myself back together, and offering support to others doing the same. That ran its course, as time does to everything, and the support worked. It was time to acknowledge that recovering had become recovered.
    This was a beautiful post, one I both understood and learned from. All the best to you in your next chapter.

  9. Tracy – I really identify with this post – I think approval addiction is something that I’ve struggled with …well, always… and wherever you fly, please know how much I’ve loved reading your works and how much you made me laugh (which, for me, is the best thing possible). I also am glad to have been able to glimpse at the genius of your cousin, Jake – who also makes me laugh.

    The future is waiting for you and the present loves you…the past – well it’s the past and is always there to help you remember how you got to the present. Or some shit like that 🙂

    Love & mush ~
    Rutabaga … Denise… Me (from being a fan of you to being quite fond of you!)

  10. Tracy,
    YOU! “I’m quite sure I’m not the only blogger who shares this sentiment.”
    I’ve come to the realization, my dear Tracy, that I don’t need to voice my opinion when you are speaking. Redundancy is so boring. I understand every word of this post. I can’t help but believe we see some of the same milemarkers on this road.
    Whatever you do, I hope we stay in touch. And if you can imagine a vacation not in Florida, consider Seattle. We’ll be your guides. No shit, you won’t regret it.
    I love you for your open mind and your fortitude and resilience and commitment and drive. It’s been a great ride.
    Love from Seattle-see you soon!

  11. I am going to miss your tales, however I am delighted to be able to wish you a wonderful new stage in your life full of growth and happiness 😀

  12. Just read your article on apricot farts and thought it was much funnier than the wiki answers I found when I googled, “Do apricots cause an outrageous amount of toxic gas?” You are pretty funny (for a broad) and I really enjoyed reading some of your other posts. Thanks for sharing your personal experience with the devil’s dried fruit and don’t you ever stop believing. #apricotfarts

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