Why It's About Time to Stop Seeking Approval

by - April 09, 2018

As brilliant, but complex human beings we repeatedly fall into the patterns and stories we've created for ourselves and strikingly often the need to seek approval is one of them. Most of the time we are not even aware of all these moments when we're craving for the approval of others. It could be your boss, your mother, your father, your siblings, friends and co-workers, or the approval of your new date. But frequently it also happens to be the approval of the store cashier, the barista in front of us or let's face it - the dozens of strangers we follow on social media every day. It's more common than you might think, but it's not that harmless. Seeking approval is neither helping you, nor the people you're seeking it from. They didn't ask for the expectations you placed on them and most importantly, you are worthy of much more than a life spent in approval-seeking.

We like the nod of approval, because it gives us the sign we're on the right track, it gives us the acknowledgement that what we do matters. And there are also those times when we're afraid to express our ideas and thoughts, because we're almost certain that we wouldn't be approved of. Have you ever found yourself saying something that didn't represent your opinion, but you did it anyway, because you're worried you wouldn't come across well? You knew it's not what you wanted, and yet you agreed on going to that family dinner for the sake of everyone else's happiness? Or that time when you agreed to stay late at work even though you were so tired that you couldn't keep your eyes open, but what would your superiors think if you disagreed with them? We've all been through similar situations throughout our lives and we willingly decide to continue them, because we're either used to it or because we don't think there's another way. But those frustrations don't just evaporate afterwards, they stick with you and build up with time. Every time you're not being who you are and not expressing your true self, you grow resentment within you. Seeking approval is not the only option.  

It's not only exhausting, but also limiting your freedom. Taking actions and making decisions, constantly worrying over what would others might think and whether they approve of you is not the recipe for a fulfilling life. You are your own unique person and you have to live according to that, not according to what you think others would want from you. It's your life, not theirs. If you tweak the way you act, because you're afraid that they won't like you, it's preventing you from embracing who you truly are. This way you're hurting yourself and making yourself miserable rather than being absolutely open and comfortable with who you are. Not only you won't get those years of chasing approval back, but also you won't really find that contentment you seek from receiving approval. The only approval you need is the one of yourself. 

Let's try to think about the root of this need for a moment. It could be something ingrained in you from your parents and family or something you've picked up along the way while growing up, believing that the key to making yourself happy is by making the people around you happy, or simply satisfied. You can have a moment to reflect on where it stems from if you think you need it to help you move on, but don't risk getting too intertwined in the past. Whatever the cause is, I know you have the strength within you to free yourself from it. You can re-discover your self-worth, love and appreciate the person you are, and not allow the approval of others to dictate your well-being. Because I can absolutely guarantee you that you don't need their approval. Pleasing people is not going to bring you happiness, it's not something you have to live with. If you decide to do something, do it because you want to do it with all your heart and your entire being, not because you crave the acknowledgment or the "thank you" that might follow.

If fear is what drives you to approval, don't give it power over you. Living a life, afraid of what might happen if you follow your heart is neither a joyful nor healthy one. Listening to the voice of fear can only keep you in that circle of negative thoughts and emotions, and you know you deserve more than that. I've been there, I know that no one likes to disappoint others, but if you don't live your life the way it brings you peace, the only one who you'd end up disappointing is yourself. As I've said several times before, we learn and we grow, honour your life progress and allow yourself to move forward free of all the things that hold you back in the circle of unhappiness.

Free yourself from seeking approval and choose the other way, the one that's truly who you are.

Inner Quiet is all about you. We will tackle the thoughts and fears of living in a world that keeps going even when you feel that you need a break. When a stressful life wraps you in its claws with no-way-out, we will try to show you another possibility, another solution, another way. No matter what you do or what you want to see yourself doing, we want to help you to shine through you. To be a human is hard enough without the constant pressure of being perfect and in this day and age we might feel it's impossible to live free of self-imposed constraints and others' expectations. Let's prove it wrong.

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