Beliefnet
Letting Go with Guy Finley

Question: Why do I care at all about how I appear in the eyes of others?

Answer: Please follow this explanation carefully. It will set you back on the road to having your own life. You have always believed that the better people feel about you, the better you can feel about yourself. However, you may have never really considered that the opposite of this belief must hold equally and unhappily true, and that is: The less you are approved by others, the more alone and uncertain you feel. This helps to explain why you think you have to please people, as well as why you resent those you feel you must please. Being approved by others has become a strange kind of life-support system wherein, after a lifetime of depending on it, you unconsciously believe that there won’t be life without someone there to approve you into existence. Just the opposite is true. The more you depend on others to confirm you to yourself, the less real life you have of your own.

The chief cause of why our lives so often wind up in the hands of others is not that they are superior or that the world is too strong for us, but that we don’t want to face the uncertainty and aloneness that we think we are too weak to bear. This is the real cause of all of our wrong relationships in life. We have been betrayed by a belief in our own weakness.

The conscious refusal to go along with your weakness is what invokes and finally delivers real inner confidence. This new kind of strength gradually becomes the cornerstone of a true individual existence — the life you’ve always wanted. The stakes are actually eternal — but self-victory is as certain as the fact that light always triumphs over darkness. If you will stay in the middle of this struggle for true self-possession, not asserting your individuality but allowing it to flourish and to blossom — bearing what you must bear by refusing to submit yourself to negative,self-betraying influences — you will come to know the highest approval that life can award: Reality itself will approve you. And when it does, all of your struggles will become a thing of the past. You will possess yourself. No one around you will suspect that you now live in a new kind of bright inner world — a world that is always on your terms, because your terms and the terms of this happy new inner world are never in conflict. You have won your own life.

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