Have you ever wondered if there’s something broken inside of you?
Something that stops you from asking for what you need or want?
Something that stops you from holding eye contact with others?
Something that stops you from speaking up when you need to?
If you feel like that then you’re not alone.
I used to struggle with this as well.
It grew so out of control that even accepting compliments was painful.
To me, their words of kindness meant that they had no clue what they were talking about.
Or they don’t know the real me.
Yep, my self-esteem was that out of whack.
Asking for what I wanted or speaking my mind was out of the question.
But do you know the true cost of living like this?
Yes, your needs and wants never get fulfilled, but that’s not the worst part.
The worst part was the guilt and remorse that comes from not speaking up.
It keeps you awake at the night.
It makes you beat yourself up mercilessly.
It tanks your self-esteem even further down the hole.
Now a ton of all these emotions and negative self-talk were happening unconsciously.
I wasn’t even aware of them.
So what did I do to change all of this?
I thought my only option was to endure. This is how it’s meant to be.
I thought there was something wrong with me.
So I kept doing more of what wasn’t working already.
But deep down, I knew I had to try something different.
Because everything had started to seem pointless.
Life was losing its charm and joy. And dealing with this vague guilt, shame, and anxiety was a pain.
I had enough of living like that.
But one day, all of that changed
I had recently found out about the works of Dr. Aziz Gazipura. I was watching a few videos by him.
And it was mesmerizing.
Now I was no stranger to internet gurus and their advice.
I followed their advice. I tried “fake it till you make it”. I tried showing up with a confident veneer.
But inside, I still felt like an impostor.
I was afraid that a few prodding questions and everyone will find out who I really am.
But Dr. Gazipura’s videos were something else.
The way he talked, the way he held on to eye contact, the twinkle in his eyes – it made me realize what real confidence looks like.
I wanted that for myself. I wanted to know how it felt like to have something like that.
Although I had doubts if it was even possible, I started absorbing the works by Dr. Aziz Gazipura.
I found an exercise where he talked about a plan to develop boldness.
I decided to follow his advice and see how it goes (I thank God every day for giving me that flash of inspiration that day).
And here’s how it went…
I used to work as a software developer.
In my office, they were installing a partition wall to separate a huge bay into two smaller ones.
The loud noise during office hours was distracting. It was creating disturbances during our client calls.
But nobody did anything about that.
I thought of using this opportunity to try out what I learned.
With my legs trembling and my breath half caught in my mouth, I went to talk to the work supervisor.
“Excuse me, the sound from the construction is disturbing all of us. Maybe you and your crew can work during the off hours? Maybe early mornings or late evenings?”
“Sorry, can’t help you there. We are under a deadline. We can’t avoid working during these hours. Maybe you should talk to the admin department?”
Sigh…this was not going to be that easy. Now I have to face the admin department.
But hey, at least no one asked me to go sit down and mind my own business!
That counts for something.
A bit emboldened, I found out where the admin department sits and went to meet them.
I tracked down the person in charge of the project and told him about the disturbance.
Again to my surprise, he was quite understanding and told me he would see what he can do.
Huh! Still no one putting me in my place or asking me to stay in line.
A pattern started to emerge.
Maybe I was blowing up these encounters way out of proportion in my head?
Maybe I was letting my fears and anxieties run too wild?
I thought of pushing my luck a bit more.
I dropped a mail to the admin department keeping my bosses in the loop. I explained the difficulties that all of us were facing.
I don’t know if that did the trick. But the next day onwards, the crew stopped the construction during our working hours.
I was over the moon!
I stood up for something, didn’t get called out, and even succeeded!
This was something new for me and I savored every moment of the feeling.
I was shaky but I stood my ground. And I knew I could improve.
There was nothing wrong or broken inside me.
That day opened the floodgates for me.
From that day, I started to push myself out of my comfort zone a little bit every day.
I started making eye contact with strangers and holding them a bit longer.
I started speaking up. I started having my own back. I started holding my ground more firmly.
I started to disagree more with people instead of always saying yes by default.
And people started to reciprocate.
Some didn’t understand. They were bewildered and accused me of changing.
But most people welcomed this new version of me.
I started receiving the love, respect, and appreciation that I always craved.
I was loving this new version of myself.
And do you know the best part?
This time, it didn’t feel fake. I didn’t feel like an impostor or a fraud.
The guilt and shame that plagued me were gone.
I had never felt lighter. Bolder. Or freer.
Looking back, the doubts and fear I had of myself feel trivial, even silly today.
But that day that rolled the first snowball – that later became an avalanche.
Since then, I have helped several people get similar results in their life.
And I have formulated this approach into a framework that I call the 7-step-approval-reboot.
This framework has changed people’s lives.
They have newfound trust in their own abilities.
They have started enjoying amazing relationships with their families, friends, and peers on their own terms.
And they have started to take care of their own wants and needs without guilt and shame.
They have overcome their approval addiction.
Do these kinds of results set your imagination on fire?
Or do you still believe that there’s something broken within you?
If yes, then I don’t blame you. That is a result of years and years of conditioning.
But I want you to know that it isn’t true.
There’s nothing wrong with you – even if it feels like that today.
And I want you to know that change is possible.
And if you want that kind of change in your life then just reply back to this mail.
Let’s get that ball rolling.