There’s a man called Lester Levinson who claimed that all problems stemmed from three things: wanting approval, wanting control and wanting safety, and that this constant wanting equaled lack.

I tend to think he has a point.

That said, I don’t believe he was referring to that initial desire that inspires dreams and brings them to reality, but to the niggling, naggling voice that keeps pounding away in our heads as to why the things we want haven’t yet arrived and wondering why it’s taking so long.

Many of us have convinced ourselves — or have been convinced by society — that we are lacking in these three areas and so we seek approval from outside [family, friends, social media]. We believe we have no control, especially in light of the way the world is going nowadays, and so we seek to control just about everything and everyone around us hoping and believing this will give us control. And we believe that we are unsafe, and so fear is never far from our thoughts.


So imagine for just a moment… What if we truly and unconditionally approved of and loved ourselves, how would that look? How would it feel? How would we move in the world and in our thoughts and actions?


If we truly felt in control of our lives, tapped into that aspect of ourselves which we’ve buried beneath doubt and fear and all other limiting and negative emotions and beliefs… How could our lives be? How would we perceive the world and the people around us?

Ditto for the safety aspect because we would no longer be living in fear and basing our actions and words on fear.

This is stuff I wish I’d learned in school or at least absorbed through my community or society when I was much younger, before I’d formed all the misconceptions about myself and taken them as gospel truth.

Imagine how life could be if universities taught courses such as, for example, Self Approval 101. But why wait until then? How about if we start inspiring such ideas in kids in middle school or elementary school, or – OMG – kindergarten or even pre-K.

How would that awareness of self, and even more, that belief that kids would develop about themselves, shape their lives and their decisions? How would we develop and evolve as a community, as a society, as a world? Imagine living without that gnawing sensation of lack, of feeling we aren’t enough, of feeling we need to impress others and gain their approval in order to feel good.

I can taste the freedom this will give us, the freedom to just be ourselves!!

Peer pressure could become a thing of the past.

Instead of kids feeling alienated and doing drugs in order to feel good, and instead of people relying on the externals to capture an internal, albeit temporary, sensation of ‘happy’, they would be part of a community that fosters awareness of self and others, where individuals support each other, not out of a desire to gain anything per se, but because it’s a way of life.

From personal experience, despite all the great reviews of UP IN THE AIR, the glow of success did last for a while, it’s true, but deep down, deeper than I could have even imagined, doubts kept cropping up over and over and over again…

No one can make me feel complete or happy.

That’s up to me.

It’s up to each of us to rediscover that happiness from within.

And since emotions are not concrete and tangible, it’s more of a challenge. Not impossible though.

Never impossible.