Cancel The Race and Enjoy the Ride!

I like to think that I’m not the only person (mystic or otherwise) in the world who gets hung up sometimes on what I’m not getting or feeling from some of the people in my life.

I freely acknowledge that even thought I may be one of the world’s biggest introverts, and to many onlookers, a rather self-sufficient fellow, I still find myself wanting (craving?) attention sometimes—and particularly the kind of attention that feels like support and encouragement and approval from those I call my friends.

So when somebody I really want those things from doesn’t exactly step up, in my humble opinion, or for whatever reasons, doesn’t offer what I deem to be the appropriate levels of positive feedback and/or applause for some achievement I’m waving around in their face, it tends to become an ‘issue’.

And so, suspecting that I would once again hear that I and not someone else, am the problem, I asked The Shower Team, “What can I really and truly understand that will help me get past this need of mine for someone else to validate or approve of me?”

You rightly ask in this as in most situations, “How can I feel better about this?” because in this as in most situations where you are focused upon what someone else is doing or not doing to please you, the real issue is what you are doing or not doing and how you are creating the feelings that you wish to change. In this case, where someone you care about is not offering the kind of support or encouragement or the level of sharing that you desire, you are not wrong to want those things. It is perfectly normal and justifiable for you or anyone else to desire the participation of those you care about in the experiences that matter to you.

Where you trip yourself up is in your insistence upon this participation at all costs and more important, the ways that you choose (consciously or not) to compete with others for the good feelings that are available to you. When you stand where you are, relative to any topic, and allow your well being to be diminished in any way by someone else’s response—or nonresponse—to you, then you are effectively saying, “I measure my happiness or my success or my well being at least in part by the degree to which this individual offers his or her stamp of approval to me.” When you need someone else’s validation or encouragement or support in order to offer that validation or encouragement or support to yourself, then you are making that person the judge responsible for awarding you the points you feel are necessary in order for you to win—to be validated or to be verified or to stand where you are with a sense of approval about yourself.

In a sense, it is as if you believe, once again, in a finite amount of approval or validation available to you from the Universe and therefore you are continually reaching for ways to win or achieve it . . . usually by making someone else the dispenser of it . . . You decide that this person or that person has some ultimate authority to proclaim you worthy and you set out to win that person’s approval (often in the form of their support or encouragement or positive feedback) and then if it does not come, then you make the absence of that approval or validation from that one source the criteria by which you judge yourself worthy of unworthy of well being or success or contentment or peace or whatever you call the good feelings that you seek.

You are continually turning your efforts to feel good about yourself into a contest or competition or a race that you must win, with the prize being someone else’s to give. Whereas we would encourage you to recognize that there is no competition under way. There is no contest for the well being available to you. There is not a limited supply of awards or approval for you and there is not one person anywhere who has the authority to declare you worthy or unworthy.

There is no race and no finish line and no panel of judges. There is only a smooth and enjoyable ride downstream or a rocky and laborious struggle paddling upstream—and either one is your choice. You can choose to engage in some imagined contest for limited resources and an even more limited supply of rewards or you can recognize that the joy of your ride has to do only with the way you are approaching it. We would rather see you enjoying the scenery and the sweet, swiftly flowing current carrying you downstream and simply notice those around you enjoying their ride and in the process, recognize that the enjoyment of that ride is all any of you really have control over.

We would atually encourage you to put on the rose-colored glasses so many of you joke about, where you can see only the pleasure that is all around you and to relax into the sweetly floating raft that will inevitably carry you in the direction of your dreams and desires as soon as you stop trying to buck the current and as soon as you let go of your compulsion to call out to this one or that one and ask “How am I doing?”

Told you they’d say it was all about me. Do I know my Team or what? One of the hardest things for me to hear sometimes is how competitive I can be. I much prefer the sweeter, compassionate, soulful and sensitive Pisces hat that I normally (try to) wear. But when They put it that way, it’s hard to argue that I’m out to snag someone’s stamp of approval in these situations.

And what’s really curious is that as soon as I put the focus back on just doing my thing and having as much fun at it as possible—the approval or support or participation from others always seems to follow. It leaves me, once again, digesting the truth that it is, in fact, all about me—that is, what I think about me. And I’m thinking that a relaxing raft ride floating sweetly downstream in the company of appreciative others sounds pretty good. It leaves me with an “Ahh” of validation . . . and for the moment, sweetly complete.


About Dan

Published novelist, poet, essayist, copywriter, photographer and college educator. Visit me at

Posted on June 11, 2007, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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