The Infamous “Stamp of Approval” & Getting Your Ass Kicked in the Arena

As I was reading the book “Daring Greatly” by Brené Brown this morning, a passage hit me so hard I had to share it with all of you.


He had been a passionate artist as a child, and he winced as he described how he was sure from an early age that he’d be happy if he could spend his life painting and drawing. He said that one day he was in the kitchen with his dad and uncle. His uncle pointed to a collection of his art that was plastered on the refrigerator and said jokingly to his father, “What? You’re raising a faggot artist now?”

After that, he said, his father, who had always been neutral about his art, forbade him from taking classes. Even his mother, who had always been so proud of his talent, agreed that it was a little “too girly.” He told me that he’d drawn a picture of his house the day before all of this happened, and to that day it was the last thing he’d ever drawn. That night I wept for him and for all of us who never got to see his work. I think about him all the time and hope he has reconnected with his art. I know it’s a tremendous loss for him, and I’m equally positive that the world is missing out.


This story makes me weep.

My heart breaks for this young man who was so deeply wounded by the actions of his family. As young people, we are so entrenched in what our parents, family, friends (the world) think(s) of us.

We understandably want to fit in and have their stamp of approval, yet, is that stamp worth it if it comes at the expense of our heart’s desires – our dreams?

This is SUCH an important subject to discuss.

I would dare say that most dreamers come up against this kind of experience at least once in their lives. Dreamers of all kinds are ridiculed because they are often forging down the path less traveled – unintentionally reminding those who are not following their dreams that they are not following their dreams…

I’ve experienced this in a myriad of ways, many times.

Its uncomfortable.

It makes me question what I am doing.

It makes me question my talent.

It makes me question my sanity…

But what I’ve realized is, that while dreamers can be hugely inspiring, they can also be hugely intimidating to those who have refused, consciously or subconsciously, not to dream.

Dreamers are rule breakers and outside-of-the-lines colorers…

This often makes the rule abiding and inside-the-line folks uncomfortable.

It gets them thinking about their own lives and the possibility of following their own dreams… Following dreams often requires big changes and changes are scary… Changes produce fear… Fear rears its ugly head in oh so many different ways.

Most likely, their disapproval isn’t about you at all.

You may be igniting shame/disapproval within them and in turn, they may use you as a scapegoat to be an outlet for their own shame/disapproval of themselves. (#hatersgonnahate #shakeitoff #thanksTSwiftfortheseawesomehashtags)

Its all fear based.

You are showing them there is another way and it scares the crap out of them. Pursing a dream requires the ability to dare greatly, which we are all capable of, but many choose not to do, because of, again, fear.

We are all on different paths and at different stages on our paths, so I think we need to always keep that in mind.

Deepak Chopra said something to the effect of, “We can only hold people responsible for their level of consciousness.”

And to me, that frees me from the initial anger I feel for the disapprove-er. They probably don’t know any better and they certainly don’t know my heart, or they wouldn’t say such things.

I choose to send them light and love and to let their comments go.

… And I hope you will, too.


So why am I writing this to you?

Because I don’t want you to give up on your dream because someone you know/love/is your family/are acquainted with disapproves of it. (People love to share their opinions don’t they!?!?!?)

May what I am about to tell you sink into your bones like the calcium supplement you had before breakfast:

You must believe in yourself first, and eventually, others will too.



And I’ll end with a little “tough love” from Brené Brown.  She shared this after reading disapproving comments regarding her work online:


If you’re not in the arena with the rest of us, fighting and getting your ass kicked on occasion, I’m not interested in your feedback.




You got this, and if you need a little encouragement, read my blog/watch my video blog/reach out to me.

I want you to feel supported and ready to dare the world not to let you do what you love.

You are amazing.
You are unique.
You are one of a kind.
Only you can do what you do the way that you do it. So do it.


Jaclyn Steele 

p.s. I have a song entitled “Warrior” that will be released that speaks to all of this. <3 #wootwoot

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