Writing the last blog “This Is Me” made me come to terms with the fact that I have had a horrible addiction for most of my life.

And for a long time, this addiction pervaded every area of my life. I was addicted to whether people approved of me. I molded my behavior to evoke positive responses and stifled other behaviors to keep negative reactions at bay.

I squelched my truth in order to make others more comfortable. I wanted to make sure they would like me, approve of me, and make me feel validated.

I was a slave to their opinions. Praise was my drug of choice. Judgment and criticism made me feel like I had been severely slapped on the wrist. And when the judgment was really harsh, it shook my inner core. I equated being in people’s good graces to being a “good person”.

But after doing a lot of soul work, I decided authenticity was going to be one of my core values, and performing in order to elicit a positive reaction, was not only exhausting but also the farthest thing from being genuine.

I will never be able to control what other people think, but I can control what I think of myself. Praise is fleeting and even criticism doesn’t last forever. So to become obsessed with consuming positive affirmations, while trying to dodge every bit of criticism is a pure waste of my energy. I was feeding an addiction that would never-ever be satisfied.

I want to operate from a place of love and consciousness. I never want to intentionally be rude or hurt anyone, but operating out of love, also means loving myself enough to let my truth shine, even when that truth won’t garner me praise, approval or validation.

This past month has landed me in several situations where people tried to “shame” me for being authentic and speaking my truth. And for the first time in a very long time – I realized I DID NOT CARE what they thought.

It is not that I did not care about them. Compassion and empathy are also my core values, but rather I decided to detach from caring so much about their view of me. I realized that whatever opinions they were throwing at me I had no business obsessing over.

Judgment usually takes place because people have a particular issue they need to work through themselves, and they criticize and project in order to release their own inner turmoil.

When people project upon you, it can often have a powerful sting, but only if you allow yourself to swallow whatever is being tossed your way.

And for the first time in my life –I have decided to STOP swallowing the approval pill! I have decided that it really doesn’t matter what people think of me. I will strive to always do my best, operate from a place of love, and be extremely mindful that my behaviors have pure intentions – and anything after that – well, people can say what they want but I will no longer re-align to make them happy — just so I can receive a hit of praise and approval.

Lea Michele from Glee soulfully sings in Cannonball “Freedom. I let go of fear and the peace came quickly”. That line makes so much sense to me!!! I was fearful of other’s opinion, but now that I have let go of caring what they think, I have received a peace and a freedom that I have never truly experienced before.

There is such freedom in not worrying what others think. There is such freedom in spending my time focusing on living a life from a place of soul, versus living a life being a slave to others view of me. There is a peaceful-bliss in just being me and not performing.

I will no longer operate out of trying to perform, trying to please, trying to audition. I will only operate from my truth. I will only be authentic. I will only be genuine. I will let go of smothering whom I really am and what I really want to go after, just so others are pleased with me, and comfortable with my choices.

Can you replace the need for people’s approval with the freedom to be authentic?

To living an authentic life. To making your truth a priority.

Jenn