Monday, October 24, 2011

First, Seek Self-Approval

First, Seek Self-Approval:
“You can succeed if nobody else believes it, but you will never succeed if you don't believe in yourself.”
-William J.H. Boetcker
The paradox of being a human is that while we are social creatures, it is our own self-approval that is most necessary to live a contented life. While critics may argue with this fact, I assure you, it is indeed true because unless we value ourselves, no matter how much approval the world around us bestows upon us, we will never be satisfied, and we will never feel settled.
“Cautious, careful people, always casting about to preserve their reputation and social standing, never can bring about a reform.” –Susan B. Anthony
Take for example the successful pop stars – Michael Jackson, Britney Spears or Whitney Houston. While talented, successful and adored by their fans, their unfortunate demise in one form or another was in succumbing to the image their fans perceived them to be. And the pressure, the mentality that they weren’t enough without the success in part caused them to reach for medicinal means to assuage their inability to calm down and just be content with their own company.
The irony I find is that the validation we mistakenly seek from others reveals not what truly is, but what the observers sees based on their unique perspective and experience. So in fact, their judgment should have no weight on how we feel about ourselves. As revered Canadian Health and Fitness expert Yuri Elkaim shares, “We must . . . consider that when someone judges somebody or something else, it says little about the target of their judgment and volumes about them sel[ves].”
To understand why we seek approval is simple – we want to feel love. We want to be loved. However, to only seek external approval is to create an evil cycle of dependence and insecurity that will never propel us to a life of inner peace. The first step is to seek internal approval. Once we accept and know that we are enough just as we are, that we have the ability to push ourselves and strive to live our best lives, then when we give to others it isn’t out of a need to get something back because we know that already we are enough.
Ultimately, at the core of desiring love is to feel secure, to feel safe, and once we realize that the only thing that is certain is our own abilities, mindset and actions, then we can also gain strength, inner-peace and security because we realize that by seeking internal acceptance we are giving ourselves what we once thought only others could grant us. And consequently, it isn’t until we first accept ourselves, that others begin to accept us which is simply the sprinkles on top (not necessary, but sweet and delicious).
And quite frankly, continually seeking outside approval is exhausting. Think about the many stressed filled hours that can be wasted by worrying about what others’ think? Why not gain back that time to pursue the passions and enjoy time with the people we love? Why not find the gumption within ourselves to do something that invigorates our spirit and provokes conversation whether it be supportive or critical? At least, we will have owned our uniqueness and not apologized for it. And the amazing and most wonderful gift we can give ourselves, to help us sleep soundly each night, is to have been guided by the successes and mistakes that come from being brave, and that means ignoring the crowds who are simply echoing what the man next to him is saying.
Yet again, writer Anna Quindlen sums it up quite well, “If your success is not on your own terms, if it looks good to the world but does not feel good in your heart, it is not success at all.” And how can we possibly feel good about success if we don’t first approve of what we each choose to do?
“Every man stamps his value on himself ... man is made great or small by his own will.” J.C.F. von Schiller
So how do we go about trying to better accept ourselves? Here are a few suggestions found on the blog Advanced Life Skills:
*Be truthful with yourself and others
*Be true to your values once you come to terms what it is that you value separate from outside influences
*Show consideration for those around you
It will take a shift in mindset if you are under the impression that external approval is paramount, but with conscious effort, the inner-peace, love and security that you desire will material. Be patient with yourself and trust that self-acceptance will occur.
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get Spirited... Halloween's just around the corner!

get Spirited... Halloween's just around the corner!: Halloween is just around the corner and admittedly we have nary a pumpkin in sight. I like to keep in the spirit and fun of the holiday but with as little fuss as possible. I'm simplistic and a minimalist when it comes to adding seasonal touches to my home. Christmas is the only exception to my rule. I like the way simple looks and since I like to create things myself but have limited amounts of time I'm always on the search for little ideas that pack a big wow factor. The following ideas and images inspired me for their fun, whimsy and simplicity. I so do enjoy Halloween , Check out ( The Entertaining House ) what a delightful blog .

I love the idea of placing the pumpkins, stacked on top of one another in my fireplace. I think a very similar effect can be created with pumpkins and candles without even having to carve the flames - though it is a fun effect. I also think an arrangement of white pumpkins and white candles would be a sophisticated, elegant and easy alternative.

image via Country Living

I love the simple Jack o'Lantern placed inside the glass jar... add some baked goods on elegant dishes and your table is festive, fun and without a lot of time and effort.

image via Country Living

Again, the arrangement on the buffet is simple, effortless and effective.

These stairs are a perfect example of simple meets whimsy. The mice are simply decals attached to the stairs. Nothing is more simple than the word Halloween hand written on some elegant white pumpkins. If you have a small budget, you could cluster three pumpkins together at the bottom of the stairs and simply write "boo" on them. This would be just as effective.

image via Pinterest

These Jack o'Lantern clementines may just be my favorite find! I love the simplicity of this idea and I love the idea of making a healthy treat festive. I'm bringing snacks in for Halloween parties at school. I was trying really hard to stay away from the junk and I think this is something that my kids of all ages would love!

image via

Of course Halloween parties need some sweetness to them. So you're not a baker, or a cake decorator, or perhaps you are but you don't have or really want to spend the time on something labor intensive. These cupcakes are cute, fun, simple and festive!

image via Martha Stewart

We all have leftover plastic Easter eggs at home. What a fun way to recycle them into something creative. (Directions on the Martha Stewart website) These make cute class gifts or party favors.

image via Martha Stewart

This has to be one of my all-time favorite ideas. The Jack o'Lantern balloons can't be more simple to make ... a black Sharpie, some orange balloons et voila!

image via Martha Stewart

I think these are perhaps my best find this year! How clever of Martha. Again, this is so simple. A few small pumpkins, some inexpensive, plastic, vampire teeth and some red pushpins will make your Halloween a hilarious one!

Tissue paper lined votives will add more whimsy to your Halloween home!

image via Martha Stewart

This is a project you can get the kids involved with. Create scary faces using potatoes or apples and let the kids stamp them onto brown or Halloween colored bags stuffed with fun bite-sized treats!

image via Swanky-chic-fete.blogspot

I loved these brightly colored white chocolate covered pretzels!

Another all-time favorite! To make enough of these for a crowd, and a simpler version of Martha's, draw faces on some disposable plastics cups with a Sharpie. The effect is very much the same and the effort level is much less!

via Taste of Home

These spooky strawberries couldn't be any more adorable! Or easier! Simply dip your strawberry in white chocolate and then using a pastry bag fitted with a small tip use melted chocolate or chocolate frosting to draw on the faces.

image via Tumblr

A most egg-cellent idea! My boys love devilled eggs and they love olives as well. What a great after school snack idea!

Ok, maybe this idea is not so simple... but they are beautiful!

image via Martha Stewart

Another fun, simple and creative idea that required little time and effort for a maximum result. Place a glow stick inside a white, green or orange balloon and, using a Sharpie, draw on your spooky faces!

If you're not already in the Spirit of things, I hope this helped! A fabulous Sunday is expected here in Southern Connecticut. A perfect day to visit the apple orchard and the pumpkin patch!



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