Life has a freshness for me these days, which is what happens when we move from having an intellectual understanding of ourselves to embodying the new way of being.

I've recovered from a severe addiction that showed up in my life again and again and again. The story that perpetuated my addiction sounded like this: if I'm more like you and less like me, then you'll love me more."

Breaking my addiction to being more like someone else to win their approval--therefore their love--has required me to drop old stories about other people's expectations of me. And when we drop all the stories of what we should be, all that is left is ourselves. All that is left to do is to write a story that is completely ours.

We all have a version of this story line, as we're taught it from the time we show up here on Earth. Even the most loving parents, grandparents, teachers, and other adults in our lives socialize us into believing that the way we desire to BE is not the way to BE. We are taught to DO THIS, NOT THAT; BE THIS, NOT THAT. SAY THIS, NOT THAT. THINK THIS, NOT THAT.

At the heart of my addiction is the notion that I'm not good enough--that being me is less than being like someone else. The self-judgment can be debilitating as we continue to wear the mask of someone else.

What this addiction has looked like for me is comparison, competition, and confusion. And this addiction can be the gateway to other addictions that don't serve our highest and greatest good.

Comparison happens when we embody the belief that we are not good enough. Instead of being able to recognize our individual perfection, we live in the space of continually feeling that we don't have as much, don't offer as much, or aren't complete just as we are. In not recognizing our own perfection, we look to others as the elusive example of what's better.

Competition has shown up in my life looking like overachieving and overdoing. The feeling of needing to prove myself beyond the essence of who I am has been debilitating at times. What if we trusted that we are enough, that we can shine fully by choosing to live in our fullness, with grace and ease? How would that feel?

Confusion is the opposite of clarity, and when we live in confusion of who we truly are, we can be less courageous to claim what's important to us, less curious about our own potential, and less grateful for the whole of who we are.

As we individuate more and more, we can find our personal growth bumping up against all of these old stories and, ultimately, the question we each must answer for ourselves is WHO AM I?  

When we ask this key question and allow the answer to arise, what we will always learn is this: we will never, ever go off course when we trust what our heart tells us. We will only be in alignment with the essence of ourselves when we choose to listen to our inner voice, and ask questions like, "what would feed my spirit the most in this life?" and, "how am I honoring me with this choice?" 

Ultimately, I've overcome my addiction to others' approval by getting clear on who I am, what I believe is true about this life, and by having the courage to stand fully in my own authenticity. When I learned to trust that I am whole, I am perfect, and I am enough, my old stories that kept me living only part of my life as me fell away, and I am able to embody my own, unique essence.