“Maybe the trick is for me to always be in some sort of disguise,

to always be dressed to play someone else.

Only then can I really appreciate myself.”

~Franny Banks in SOMEDAY,SOMEDAY,MAYBE by Lauren Graham


Approval can be a tricky thing.

There are moments in my life when I feel unquestionably comfortable in my own skin, when it’s easy to appreciate myself.

Like hanging out with my husband and kids. Writing. Chatting with my sister.

road trip

Open road, open hearts.


There are times when I don’t feel all that secure, like walking into a room full of strangers alone. Then I can easily get all turtle-like, ready to disappear into my protective shell.

 approval quote Wayne Dyer


I mean how can you not think about getting external approval when you post on Facebook, step out in a brand new outfit, lose weight, throw a party, publish a book, or throw down what you think has to be the world’s best power point presentation at work?

Wanting acceptance is normal, but it’s cringing to think your happiness is dependent on someone else’s decision.

Reminds me of a moment in college, when I ran into a guy who I’d crushed on in high school. I was dressed up to go out. I was with my friends, I was feeling cute, wearing jeans so tight, I’m surprised my eyeballs didn’t pop out. I didn’t care. Because that  night, I possessed my 19-year-old version of my personal stamp of approval.

Of course, this guy–who never looked twice at me when we were sixteen–was suddenly lifting me in the air for a spinning hug.

And telling me how great I looked.

This moment replays VERY clear for me. Believe me, I wasn’t immune to his compliment, but it was jarring in that I knew immediately his opinion didn’t matter to me.

Not because I had some self-esteem super power (I definitely didn’t), or because I suspected a shallowness in his comment based on his once upon a time reaction to me as an awkward sixteen year old (again, I didn’t).

But his approval didn’t matter, because that night I wasn’t looking for approval. I already felt a happy acceptance of myself when I stepped out, one that kind of turned into a perfect storm of esteem for me

Normally, I didn’t feel that secure.

I was used to looking for and needing approval, especially with my grades, SATs, college recommendations, applications, job interviews, boys.

It was kind of never-ending.

But that moment with that once upon a time crush, I had the added benefit of being the first one to validate me. Maybe it wasn’t exactly purposeful, but I carried with me my own stamp of approval.

And self-validation is the most important one.


there will never be another you


Sometimes when you’re unsure, it helps to find those moments when you feel most like yourself.

Maybe it’s with your friends or family, maybe it’s when you’re painting, or going for a run.

You are unique, you have your own journey, and your own heart to follow.

And that’s something you can approve.


you approved


When do you feel most like yourself? What are  your thoughts on approval? Do you have any advice for those struggling with self-esteem?

Have a great week!

Check out children’s author, Lynn Kelly! She’s got funny (and crazy) parenting stories–Parenting Plights & Delights– over at her blog.

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37 thoughts on “Give Yourself the Stamp of Approval, There Will Never be Another You

  1. Beth K. Vogt

    ” … I had the added benefit of being the first one to validate me.” Love this line because — Wow! What a crazy thought! — it expresses the freedom that my validation of me is actually legit.
    Brilliant post, Coleen.

  2. Tameri Etherton

    Fabulous post, Coleen! I have so many friends I wish could read this and get that ‘aha!’ moment! They are aways obsessing about their weight or this, or that, or something. If only they could see that they are pretty darn cool just as they are… I think they want that external validation, but it has to come from inside, not from me. Such a shame.

    It took me awhile, but I finally got it and I’m so glad I did. It makes a huge difference in my life! I’m comfortable in my skin and know who I am. Sure, I still have moments of insecurity, but it’s cool. I can also look in the mirror to get the validation of knowing I totally rock.

    This post started my week off with a huge smile!
    Tameri Etherton recently posted..Everyone Has a Big ButMy Profile

  3. pat cooney

    Col, as usual you ROCK, big time!!!(not that you needed that for validation, just let it be known you are appreciated) Daily for me it depends on productivity and it doesn’t have to be on a grand scale).

    1. Coleen Patrick Post author

      I get that, I’m a big believer in the baby steps productivity! 🙂 And that photo of us in the car was taken by me, while Em drove–on the way home from A.C. I think because I had the camera facing us, but flipped, it made it look like we’re driving in Europe. Good observation!!!

  4. pat cooney

    BYW, are you guys in Ireland in the picture? Noticed Em driving on the opposite side of the road

  5. Phil

    I think there are times that all of us feel insecure and at others more confident. It definitely depends on the setting and people around you. You just have to learn to be secure in your own skin. I think it’s much harder for shy people and introverts. I’m an outgoing extrovert that enjoys people and being in the spotlight. A career in ad sales almost demands it. Yet, there are times when I enter a big room of people at an event that I just want to blend into the wallpaper. We all have our moments. Just have to be confident in knowing that you validate your own worth and self esteem.
    Phil recently posted..Subway cell phone torture. Thanks NYC. What’s next?My Profile

    1. Coleen Patrick Post author

      I wondered if it’s easier for an extrovert. I guess if you’re comfortable in social situations, it’s one less thing to worry about. 🙂 Thanks, Phil!

  6. Marcy Kennedy

    Love this post! And it’s so true. The times when I’ve felt most confident in myself and in my abilities are the times when that confidence shone through and other people validated me. There’s a lot to be said for knowing yourself and being confident in who you are. (I’m not always that confident of course. I had low self-esteem growing up and only started to feel comfortable in my own skin in my 20s.)
    Marcy Kennedy recently posted..What Would You Do If You Only Had 21 Days Left to Live?My Profile

  7. Jennette Marie Powell

    I had terrible self esteem until I graduated from college, and learned early on never to look for approval from others. Mt approval needed to come from me first. Even now, 25 years later, I’m sometimes surprised when it comes my way!

    1. Coleen Patrick Post author

      Yeah, I remember, especially when I was younger, how painful it was to have to rely on external validation. Ugh. Not even pleasant to think about it. So much better when we can find a way to encourage ourselves. Thanks, Jennette!

  8. Andrea

    Love this so much. Needed to see it today, so thank you! I am your former neighbor, and through the loveliness/vagaries of Effbook, I reconnected with your sister Emily and it’s been delightful (although, for God’s sakes, she and I haven’t seen each other in 23 years, but I just *know* she and I would be inseparable if we were in the same town). Anyway, so happy to have stumbled upon your blog, and will always keep reading. I love that photo of you guys!

  9. Patricia

    It’s weird, but I feel most like “myself,” when I do something stupid and everybody laughs with me about it and then I get forever teased about it, but I don’t care because we all laughed together. The belly-laughing makes it all okay and I feel so totally like myself at those moments. Because I do stupid things sometimes, that’s who I am, and I can laugh about it. When others laugh with me, I feel accepted and part of something bigger than just me being stupid.

    You always have such awesome posts!

    Patricia Rickrode
    w/a Jansen Schmidt
    Patricia recently posted..Meet NY Times Bestselling Author Brenda Novak and Help Find a Cure For Juvenile DiabetesMy Profile

    1. Coleen Patrick Post author

      Thank you, Patricia! And I know what you mean about those joking moments! If you’re with the right people who get you, and you’re laughing together, that’s awesome.

  10. Leigh Covingtonself

    I think I’m like most people… sometimes I’m perfectly comfortable with myself, while other times I just want to fix everything about me. I prefer to be comfortable with myself, although I think sometimes its good for self reflection and improvement. Too many people don’t love themselves though, and that is the point… to love who we are!

    You always write such great posts!

  11. Lynn Kelley

    I love this post, Coleen. I can relate to so much of what you’ve said in here. I definitely feel most like myself around my family and close friends, those who I can be my goofball self around and they don’t run the other way!

    Thanks for the sweet shoutout! Wow, you really made my day, Coleen. It’s been a really strange and stress-filled day. I wanted to just shut my eyes, but I meant to visit your blog yesterday and I didn’t want to procrastinate again. I’m so glad I read this tonight. You’re awesome!

  12. Debra Kristi

    This is a beautiful post. I’m so glad you were wrapped snugly in self esteem that night. Best thing ever. I also struggled with self esteem through my school years. Still do from time to time. Maybe it’s in our nature. It’s people like you that help remind me of my value. We all need to believe in ourselves. I love your Monday posts. Sorry I am sooo late. I had trouble getting my wheels moving this week.
    Debra Kristi recently posted..Ten unusual places on Earth: Immortal MondayMy Profile

  13. 4amWriter

    I probably will always struggle with self-esteem. I’m just made that way. But I have learned when to make it matter, and when to not care. I think that’s the hardest part. Unfortunately, we get so much feedback from society, even when we’re not seeking it, that it’s become part of the expectation.

    I loved this post, it really shouted warm fuzzies to me. 🙂

  14. Alarna Rose Gray

    Love your moment of self-validation, Coleen. Worth holding onto those moments! Mine are shaky, I have to admit… I’m most at ease when I am with my partner… or hiding behind a glass of wine. Or a computer screen 😉

  15. Patricia Tilo

    I really enjoyed your post Coleen. You really touch on deep and thought-provoking topics. Love that about your blog. Loved your last comments: “You are unique, you have your own journey, and your own heart to follow. And that’s something you can approve.” You really hit the nail on the head. Sorry I haven’t been around — just returned from vacation.

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  17. Kourtney

    Wonderful post Coleen. I’ve had those moments too where I was confident and others’ approval wasn’t as important. I wish that was the norm. 🙂

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