Usually, it starts out as a sensible plan of action. We get their approval and feel pretty good about ourselves in exchange for their ephemeral enjoyment. It seems to be the wisest course of action, and we might stick with it for years because we believe it helps us feel less afraid of rejection in daily life. Actually, it does a pretty decent job at gaining the respect of others. They don’t complain to our actions, so we get to enjoy the occasional pat on the back. The constant demand for approval, which once served as the root of all of our problems, will soon reach its breaking point. And the very thing that made us feel so accomplished, that activity, will become the problem.
We really want other people to approve of who we are, which is why we work so hard to win them over. And if we try to find what we ought to provide to ourselves in the outer world, we will only be disappointed. To live up to others’ expectations of ourselves, we get ready to live lives we don’t particularly want to live. We don’t dare take the chance of doing something that might provoke a critical glare or be perceived as having a low social standing. We carry out our commitments. We carry out what other people want for and from us. They approve of us in return. You could wonder why not ask for permission. The truth is that we can only succeed by sacrificing our ability to recognize our goals and embody our authentic selves. Our ability to accept ourselves—even if others don’t—is inhibited when we seek the acceptance of others.
How Does Seeking Approval Stop You From Being Your True Self?
Without you even realizing it, seeking approval from others can be hindering your effectiveness. This is likely a result of your avoidance of activities that are important to you, your fear of venturing outside of your comfort zone, and your preoccupation with what other people might think of you. Needing approval may push you to give up possibilities because you’re too anxious and feel that your performance must be flawless. You could become so paralyzed by fear of failing that you give up before you ever attempt.
You must pay close attention to how your desire for acceptance keeps you from carrying out important activities for you. Once you’ve done it, you’ll be freed from worrying about what other people might think, which will enable you to accomplish and create the things you want in life while experiencing significantly less stress.
Even if you undoubtedly work hard and accomplish a lot, you frequently put everything else on the line to get your ostensibly favorable results. When your primary motivation for succeeding is to satisfy other people, you’ll do too much, feel overwhelmed, lose yourself in your issues, try to please everyone, work too hard, put off taking care of yourself, and find it difficult to say no.
If you identify with this, think about focusing on how your desire for acceptance is leading you to overextend yourself and avoid participating in activities that are important to you. When you start to feel uncomfortable because you are putting other people’s needs before your own, it’s time to make a change.
It’s Important to Know Yourself
When other people’s acceptance of you shapes how you choose to spend your time, you lose sight of what is important to you, what inspires you, and what brings you joy. If you keep acting ineffectively while doing a job you don’t truly enjoy, you could feel trapped. If you can relate to this, it’s time to focus your efforts on figuring out what matters most to you. What? is a good place to start when evaluating your values. What keeps me awake at night? Why do I like to use my time in this manner? Start paying attention to your genuine life goals, and check that your actions are in line with your values and aspirations. It is much simpler and easier to live your life in accordance with your values.
Stop making decisions based on what other people will find acceptable and start making decisions based on what is right for you. If you’re committed to achieving the things that are important to you and deliberate about how you spend your time, you can create the life you want. Contrary to what the general public believes, success does not require that you always appear busy. You may also say that following your passions is what defines success.
Leave behind the urge for approval
The first step in doing this is having the courage to act on your gut feelings. Once you start doing this, you won’t need to seek other people’s approval anymore. Become more self-aware and pay attention to the things that, regardless of how other people react, make you feel good about yourself. Think about the choices you made, the qualities you appreciate in yourself, and the times you remained true to yourself.
As soon as you commit to something new, you should start being honest with yourself and determine whether you’re doing it because it’s right for you, for other people’s approval, or to avoid trouble.
Think things through thoroughly before agreeing to a new duty or task. Consider the following questions: What is genuinely necessary and important, and what is motivated by people-pleasing? After standing back up, sitting down, and looking over your calendar, once you are sure of this, start slowly going through the list of authorizations you require to review. When you realize what you aren’t doing for yourself in order to gain other people’s approval, it will be easier for you to stop doing those things and replace them with actions that progress your own goals.
Making choices that can be perceived adversely by others is not an easy task. It’s very probable that you started seeking permission for very good reasons; in certain situations, it probably seemed like the easier, less dramatic thing to do. Acting without first receiving consent from others could be harmful in some circumstances. Nevertheless, avoiding disputes over and over again can drive you to live a life devoid of your true convictions, which will inevitably make you question your value as a person. Since each choice has disadvantages of its own, the decision ultimately rests with you. But remember that you do have a choice, and the final say in that choice is yours.