You, Alone

You don’t wait for anyone’s approval to be engaged. Ever.

Engagement is for you, alone. You do not need anyone else’s permission, approval, or acceptance for what you’re engaged in. If you have a sustainable connection to something, you are engaged in it. That is all, and that is everything.

The richest experiences in our lives come from the people, places, activities, ideas, feelings, and experiences we’re engaged in. These are things that stay with our through all of our days and ways, highs and lows, ins and outs. Engagement doesn’t have to demand, insist, repel, or attract. It doesn’t have to make, do, believe, or even know. It simply is.

Look around you right now. What are you engaged in at this particular moment? It may be reading this post. Sipping a cup of tea. Enjoying your daily ritual of alone time while on your subway commute, in your home office, or laying in bed waiting to fall asleep. These may all be things you’re engaged in. You might be thinking warm, comfortable thoughts about children, lover, friends, family, or that stranger you see every day and wonder about. You might be wrestling with how to pay your bills, play a better squash game, get that car fixed, or move passersby into customers. These are all things you think about in a sustained way, and they’re all things you’re engaged in. You don’t engage in any of them for anyone else but you, and that’s all that matters.

Goethe once wrote, “The soul that sees beauty may sometimes walk alone.” This is true of things you may be engaged in. Others might not see what you see, experience what you feel, or learn what you know. Its not your job to engage them in these things. The simple fact of the matter is that you don’t wait for anyone else’s approval to be engaged in anything, ever. Instead, you just engage. If there are people, places, activities, ideas, feelings, and experiences you’ve waited for approval to become engaged in, the simplest truth is that you weren’t engaged in those things. Instead, you were connected to them- but not in a sustainable way. You were participating in them, involved in them, walking with them, or even guiding them… but you weren’t engaged.

It is our responsibility to simply accept responsibility for things we are engaged in right now. There’s nothing more we need to do.

So if you’re wondering about someone else’s acceptance, thinking that someone else needs to get on board with you, or considering whether they’ll like what you’re doing, release that. Your experience of personal engagement belongs to you alone, and there’s nobody else who can give or take it.

Written by Adam Fletcher, this article was originally posted to Learn more at!

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