A Life-Altering Question

Several years ago when I first began researching resilience, I attended a conference on psychoneuroimmunology (PNI) – one of my interests.  During one of the sessions, we participated in an activity that was designed to help us clarify our priorities.  As I began to think about what my true priorities are (e.g. God, family, etc.), I realized that the way I spend my time and energy does not accurately reflect these priorities.  In fact, if I were to carefully list my daily activities, including the time spent on worrying about certain issues, it would probably reflect a life that is focused very little on my identified priorities.  After that conference, I began evaluating my actions, behaviors, and responses to certain situations.  I began asking myself the question, “Whose approval are you seeking?”.  I realized that much of my stress and anxiety were due to trying to please everyone else, but not necessarily those identified as my top priorities, namely God and my family.  When faced with situations that would have normally caused me distress, I started praying for God’s guidance and that my responses would be pleasing to Him.  Once I was able to let go of the desire to please everyone else, my purpose became much clearer and I experienced much less stress and anxiety.  I still suffer from an internal desire to please, but I feel less pressure and am more comfortable in going against the desire to conform.  The decisions to ask myself “Whose approval do you seek?” has been a source of great freedom and peace.

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