Photo by Michael S. Wright
This morning I read a beautiful blog entry by a wise friend about the value of silence. A few minutes later, I was already distracted from the beauty of her words and truth, because self-doubt decided this was a great entry point for the day. I rationally knew the blog post was about this person and her process, yet I started questioning my own blogging project, and my choice to commit to daily writing. Once again, I wondered what people thought of my entries, especially the ones when I am tired or feel like I don't want to share too much. Fortunately, I recognized my habit pretty quickly. I have been working for a while on shifting from external to internal validation. Of course we all need some external validation; it is always good to have feedback from others to keep balanced! However, some years ago I realized how much I relied on other people's approval, and how often I sacrificed my own truth, power and intuition, to ensure I would not meet disapproval. Cognitive understanding is a wonderful thing but it seems that shifting those emotional habits takes far longer, so here I am, fighting once again with this familiar demon.
This week I have been actually struggling with validation quite a bit. Maybe I felt tired because I am still fighting whatever bug gave me this incredible sore throat. Maybe I felt tender because of a couple of situations at work and with friends. What I know is that sometimes the ground underneath my feet can tremble at the mere fall of a single leaf, just out of habit. That is why I need to pay attention, to keep cultivating mindfulness, so that I can remember that the ground is indeed solid. I don't know if I will ever outgrow the habit of checking whether the ground is shaking, when I am unexpectedly startled by external movement. I don't know if I need to. Maybe it is enough to notice, to take a breath and say, 'Hey, I know you, aren't you the need for external validation when it is not necessary?' Then I can smile and greet my old demon/friend, knowing that, this time, we do not need to visit with each other for long.