When I was deciding where I wanted to go to college it ultimately came down to two schools. Over months I had watch rejection after rejection come in from almost every school I applied to.
I had one school that was considered one of the top programs for musical theatre (which is what I wanted to study) in the country that was an option and I had another school that was a liberal arts college no one in Los Angeles had ever heard of. Those were my two options. I felt good about the lesser-known school. The people were kind. The campus was gorgeous. I did not, however, feel good about the other university that was so well-known and established. I didn’t find the people welcoming and I saw their program was incredibly cutthroat.
As I was trying to decide where to go I started asking everyone I knew what their thoughts were. The consensus of most of my friends, all of my dance teachers, acting coaches and my vocal coach was overwhelming that I should go to the “better” (aka more well-known) school and that I would be crazy to go to a small liberal arts college if I had the opportunity to study at a top-ranked Bachelor of Fine Arts musical theatre program.
After a week of this, I sat in the kitchen with my parents trying to decide what to do. I knew they would support me wherever I wanted to go and they had not weighed in on where they thought I “should” go even when I asked them. They wanted it to be my decision. I stared at my lap, both letters from the schools in my hands. My Dads were whispering in the corner for minutes on end, and then they nominated my Dad as tribute, “Baby, where do you want to go? It doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks.”
The entire time I had spent taking votes from everyone I knew as to where they thought I should go I had known all along where I wanted to go. I just wanted their approval. It seemed I wasn’t going to get it because I knew in my very soul I wanted to go to the place that made me feel safe, at home, and comfortable. I took a deep breath. I ignored their opinions. “I want to go to Muhlenberg.”
My parents exhaled a collective sigh of relief. They could tell that is what I wanted, but they didn’t want to push me in one direction or another. They were so proud that ultimately, I looked in, I saw what I wanted and I made the decision. I chucked everyone else’s opinion into the opinion ocean. I had known all along what I had wanted, yet I desperately was seeking approval. And four of the best years of my life ensued. I performed consistently, I studied what I had set out to study and I had a wonderful time doing it. I made friends that are still some of my very favorite people. It was the perfect decision for me.
From here on out, before you ask for someone’s opinion take a beat. Go inside, even if just momentarily and say to yourself, “Do I really want their opinion? Or am I just seeking their approval for a decision I’ve already made?”
If the answer to the second question is yes, be careful about the next words that come out of your mouth. You may not get their approval and then you may waver in your decision making regardless of what your heart is telling you. Go forward confidently. Your inner voice and your heart know you better than anyone else you could ask. Especially regarding important decisions. Trust yourself. Every other opinion that doesn’t ring true belongs in the opinion ocean. Let it float away and choose yourself instead.
As I spent time this week looking in and discovering what’s in that crazy head of mine I found so many areas where I am looking out for approval. Funny how that happens…
My challenge to you this week is to find an area where you are seeking approval and find questions you can ask yourself to redirect the focus inward and see how you really feel about it, not anyone else. Here are some examples of things I still look out for and am working on looking in for instead: my body, my worth, and my ideas. What are yours? Let’s work through this. We don’t need those opinions if we already know how worthy we are. We don’t need those opinions when we know how beautiful we are just as we are. You got this. I am in your corner. Have a wonderful weekend my friends. I love you. XOXO, CAMDW