We all want approval. In fact, right when I started listening to this podcast this morning, I got interrupted by Julia, who wanted to show me a preschool worksheet she’d been working on. She wanted my approval. (And she wanted the chocolate chip for the work done. Ha ha). We all want approval.

And then, if we can’t get their approval, then we think that they need to at least understand us. Actually, Jody puts it into three steps:

“These are the three levels I notice of things that people seek: I would love for them to love me, but if they can’t, I want them to at least understand me. If they can’t, then I at least want them to know that I know that I’m a mess. We sort of proclaim ‘I know that I’m a mess’ as if our own self-judgment means that at least we’re not foolish, at least we’re not in the dark.”

Why? Why do we want any of that? What we ultimately want is to feel good about ourselves – to love ourselves. And we tend to want others to approve of us, so that we kind of have permission to approve of ourselves.

This is how it goes for most of us, right? Have you noticed this?

“And this doesn’t mean that you’re insecure, or that something’s the matter with you – that you’re weak. People say to me all the time, ‘I know I shouldn’t care about what other people think.’ I’m like, ‘No, of course you care about what other people think.’ (But) you don’t have to let it drive you, you can temper that with what you know is true.”

And what is true? I am 100% worthy, just the way I am. I am 100% lovable, just the way I am. That is what’s true. What else is true?

“You’re allowed to think whatever you want to about yourself. Did you know this? You genuinely are. You don’t have to have anybody else’s approval. In fact, everybody else can think that you’re wrong. Everybody else can think that you’re just not self-aware and you’re still allowed to approve of yourself. You are allowed to just decide that they are wrong, that they’re misunderstanding and that they don’t get you, and it’s okay. We don’t need them to.”

We can think about ourselves any way we want. And we can think about others any way that we want. And this is what the work is about. What can I control? What can’t I control? And what thoughts will serve me best?

“What if we just decide it’s okay? I give all of them permission to think whatever they want to, and I give people permission to be wrong about me at times when they’re wrong.”

And sometimes they will think negative things about me: I’m selfish or I am weak or I don’t care about this or that. I had one woman tell me that I had stolen from her when I didn’t give her an award that she didn’t win, in any way. Sometimes people will think negative things about me. And sometimes people will think positive things about me. And the question is, are they really wrong? The fact is, they are probably a little bit right and a little bit wrong. Sometimes I am selfish. And, though I didn’t physically steal anything from this woman, maybe I “stole” attention away from her that she deserved for her efforts. And the positive things, too. When people think such kind things about me and send me such kind notes, they are probably a little bit right and a little bit wrong about me.

That is why Elder Uchtdorf was given this bit of counsel at one time:

“When I was called as a General Authority, I was blessed to be tutored by many of the senior Brethren in the Church. One day I had the opportunity to drive President James E. Faust to a stake conference. During the hours we spent in the car, President Faust took the time to teach me some important principles about my assignment. He explained also how gracious the members of the Church are, especially to General Authorities. He said, ‘They will treat you very kindly. They will say nice things about you.’ He laughed a little and then said, ‘Dieter, be thankful for this. But don’t you ever inhale it.'”

People will think good about me. And people will think ill about me. And they will be right and they will be wrong. And that is okay. I can be at peace in letting people think what they want to think about me, and not inhaling it.

That’s it for today. This was a fun one to think about today. Let’s see if I can apply it. Have a great day, my friends.

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