The Art of Approval and Disapproval
Who has the right to approve or disapprove of me? This question is one I’ve been musing upon lately. You see, ever since I was very young, I’ve struggled with a pattern of seeking approval and being devastated by perceived disapproval. It is a pattern in which part of me lives in fear - fear of saying the wrong thing, of being inarticulate and unable to state my own thoughts and reasoning when under pressure. Sadly, it happens mostly with men because the pattern was imprinted on me by my father’s behavior towards me as a child.
Changing beliefs or patterns like this take time. Deep childhood patterns take the longest to excavate because they form more patterns on top of them that must be unraveled, like layers and layers of spiderwebs on top of each other all sticking to each other in oddly connected ways. They are truly annoying to unravel at times.
I am painting my way through my second Talisman painting, a very healing painting process taught by my teacher, Shiloh Sophia. Part of the process asks me to intuitively bring lost parts of myself back to me so I become whole again. When I went searching for lost parts of myself, I ended up with three memories surfacing - each of them ten years apart, layered one on top of each other.
The memory from when I was 25 years old was about feeling un-beautiful, un-sexy, un-sensual and completely disconnected from my woman self. It was an experience of embarrassment and confusion - of not knowing how to relate to my own body as female.
I dove deeper into a memory from teenage years. This one was all about negating myself because I was unworthy, unloved, worthless, of no value. I was destructive to myself in subtle lasting ways, giving away my virginity to a stranger because it was worthless and I wanted to scream at the world and show how little I cared about what the world thought of me. I was in pain and anguish.
The memory from five years old was surprising. It was from the evening of July 4th when we were walking out to the beach with a large extended group of family and friends to watch the fireworks. I was so intently watching my father talking to my uncle, I walked straight into a lamp post. Shaken and teary, he carried me the rest of way.
Why this memory? The answer I received back was to look again. To remember what I was feeling as I watched so intently. Suddenly, I realized what I was being shown. My small five year old self so desperately seeking approval from these male figures in my life that I walked straight into a lamp post.
At this point, I reached the bottom of the tangled web and found the place where fear and inarticulation lived. I sat with this memory the longest. Then I painted each memory onto my painting with blood red ink, writing out words to capture the essence of the wound, the pain, the hurt. Letting the ink coat my hands, drip down the painting, and connect all the wounds into one.
Taking a paint brush full of magenta paint, I drew a red thread winding them all up in a new pattern. Next, I brought in light over the wounds, connecting them to the heart of the painting, to source, to Spirit, into a pattern of wholeness and healing. It was only then that new words surfaced in my mind.
I am the ONLY one who approves or disapproves of me. The only one.
I take this power of approval and disapproval back into myself. I honor my integrity, ability to be compassionate, to love, and to make the best possible choices when I do this.
It seems so simple and it is. I just didn't have the words I needed to express myself in a way that shifted the resonance of the pattern inside of me.
This is why I paint with intention. It connects up my heart and mind and allows the insights to flow freely, transforming me as they move through my body. I am created anew each time I paint. Each time a little different as if I am stepping closer and closer to light each time, just like my painting.
In light and love, Annette