“The person who seeks all their applause from outside has their happiness in another’s keeping .” Dale Carnegie.
We have all been victims or maybe players in this game called approval seeking behaviour. Constantly seeking the approval of others and a validation from everyone but yourself. We worry about what people are saying, what they are thinking and whether we are doing the ‘right’ thing in order to please this often nameless and faceless lot of people. But you know what, odds are most of them really don’t give a damn and neither should you!
This constant cycle of wanting and needing a nod from someone else to make you feel like you are doing something good, something worthwhile, something ‘cool’… it gets tiring; so tiring. It is time better spent doing something you love or actually enjoying what you are doing in that moment, without fearing someone’s else’s disapproval. It is like putting up new things on any social networking site and only feeling good if you get a ‘like’ or an effusive comment!
You change what you were wearing because you are worried it won’t be trendy enough, listen to different music because you don’t want to seem passé, pick a career because someone else thinks that is more prestigious, don’t express an opinion because it doesn’t line up with the rest of the group…hold on a minute and stop. This is a sure-shot way to unhappiness and a feeling of low self worth. You are worth more than this!
Let’s take a look at a few reasons why you really need to stop caring sometimes and get a taste of bitter-sweet reality-
1. Not everyone is going to like you – One thing you have to remember is that you will never have everyone’s approval. And just how many people are you going to keep trying to please to be deemed ok in their eyes?! There is never going to be a time when each and every person you encounter likes you or gives you their whole-hearted thumbs up. Get over it and know that you don’t need that in order to be a fulfilled and fantastic human being. There will always be people judging and dissecting, and those who don’t play a big part in your life don’t deserve the power to affect your decisions or choices. Improve, change and grow for yourself not others; you will never be able to gauge or control what they think anyway.
2. Being who YOU want to be is liberating – The freedom and inner peace that comes from being the person you want to be and choose to be is unparalleled. The self acceptance that comes when you let go of the need to know and control what others think about you is empowering and actually enables you to make better decisions for the life you want to be leading. Harness that power.
3. Only you deal with consequences – The choices you make affect you and only you. These other ‘people’ aren’t the ones who will be dealing with the consequences of your decision making. Listen to advice and communicate but don’t let judgement, especially from those who don’t know you well enough, sway you in a direction your gut and heart knows is wrong for you. Because the end result will be yours alone to tackle and live with.
4. This time can be better spent – Constant approval seeking behaviour sucks out more time and energy from your life than you realise. It is exhausting and anxiety inducing to always be so conscious of what others are thinking about you and then actually spend time changing things to suit them. Instead use your precious days well and fill them up with activities, moments and memories that enrich you as an individual.
Know that sometimes disregarding another’s opinion is not about disregarding laws and norms of a society. It is not about rebellion. It is not about completely doing away with the counsel and advice of friends and family. Not at all. Sometimes it is just about the little things that are part of the bigger picture that is you. Continue to communicate to, trust and respect….but not just others, yourself too.