Look to yourself - not others - for approval
I advise moms to look for what resonates with them and to make the choices that will truly work best for them – regardless of what others think, do, or say. And, this advice is always met with enthusiasm and/or relief. Of course we want to do that. That's the only course of action that makes any sense. Why would anyone want to do something that someone else wants them to do, if it's not something they want?
It's sensible. Practical. And, empowering.
Yet we too often trip up when we go to put this advice into practice. I see myself tripping up all the time. And, forgive me, but I bet you do too.
Here's how it looks: Instead of intuitively following your own guidance and inspiration, you start to check-in with "experts" (when you're the expert on you) and telling your ideas to others to see how they respond (and you're hoping they'll respond with immediate, unfaltering affirmations of how brilliant and "right" you are).
We've all got to remind ourselves! You are the only one who can truly "approve" your choices. I am the only one who can "approve" my actions. It's no one else's job to do this. We've got to do this for ourselves. This should be good news. It is good news actually. And, sometimes it feels overwhelming and unrealistic, rather than empowering.
It's YOUR life, YOU get to choose.
Bridget was reminded of this when she was pregnant. She learned that sometimes it can take a while to discover what you want, and that others telling you you made a good choice is not going to ring true, unless you believe it.
Bridget had decided she wanted to experience the birth of her son without an epidural. She felt certain about the decision… or so she thought. She told her midwife that was her choice and her midwife agreeably made a note in her file. Bridget got anxious and thought, "That's it? No acknowledgement of what a courageous and great decision that is!?" And, the doubts started flooding in. She was actively second guessing her decision and asking her friends what they thought. Bridget felt really down on herself that she wasn’t 100 percent certain about something to which she had thought she was passionately committed.
Finally she realized that she needed to stop wanting others to approve or solidify the decision for her. She looked to herself and as she reflected she had the insight that she had made the right choice, but maybe there was something to tweak about it. Maybe she needed some way to prepare for this choice or an “out clause” for certain circumstances. This got her excited and into an exploratory mode. She researched breathing techniques, took some classes, and talked to other women – yet, this time, from the perspective of gathering information about what worked for others, so she could decide what worked for her.
Eventually, she learned about a unique method of relaxed, natural childbirth education that’s enhanced by self-hypnosis techniques. With this information, Bridget knew she had found HER choice. From then on when she told others about delivering drug-free and with self-hypnosis techniques, she wasn't concerned about how others responded. If others responded less-than-enthusiastically, she knew they just didn't get how well this was going to work for her.
She approved of her choice. She didn't need approval from anyone else.
What choices have you whole heartedly "approved" for yourself?