Sibling rivalry taught me how to worry about what other people think. I am the oldest of four. Two younger sisters, and a brother. I’m going to preface this by saying that I am, by far, the most sensitive of the bunch, and most likely to over-read into other people’s actions and reaction. Coming up, I thought my parents had a favorite. And it wasn’t me.
By birth I am a strong Leo. For those of you who aren’t familiar, Leo is the fifth astrological sign of the Zodiac, and ruled by the sun. It is the only astrological sign ruled by a star, in the center of our solar system no less. Thus, it is by no surprise that Leo’s personality traits are often defined as such:
“…they love being center stage. Making an impression is Job One for Leos….these folks never shy away from the limelight.” —Astrology.com
“…driven by the desire to be loved and admired, Leos have an air of royalty about them. They love to be in the limelight…” —GaneshSpeaks.com
“…are driven by a desire to be loved for what [they] bring to others…Many Leos are attracted to the theater, the performing arts and public relations…[they] truly understand the importance of putting on a good presentation.” —HuffingtonPost.com
So imagine now, as a child who sought the adoration of others, I began to concern myself with who got better grades, who had the most stellar achievements, who had the best PSAT score, who went to the better college… all so that I could seek the approval of my parents. Of course I couldn’t out-achieve my younger siblings and I felt inferior. I felt that my parents focused on their favorite because they out-achieved me. Poor, Talia. I thought.
Of course it is natural for a youth to seek these things, but as an adult, it’s who has the nice apartment, the nice car, the best job, the most money… and who has them first. As the oldest, it’s only natural that I should have them first, right? Thus, I’d be worthy to be among them; so that my accomplishments and achievements are discussed a length; so I am the superstar adult-child. I have concerned myself at great lengths about what they thought, and making sure that I’ve impressed them.
I sound vain, don’t I? But that is what approval seeking is… it’s vanity.
Now what have I done? I’ve followed a certain path only for approval, and failed miserably at it. I’ve wasted precious energy trying to be something of value to other people.
Over the last few months I’ve been working to embark on a journey for myself. I’ve decided to shed any approval seeking ways and begin down the road less traveled. I’m going to make unpopular choices, because when they make sense for me. I’m starting my own business (and hopefully a non-profits) and whatever else I want to do even if I don’t meet some superficial standard I set to be good enough for my family.
When I pursue my ambitions wholeheartedly, I will find value in myself. I am a Leo after all.