Our Need for Approval
The vast majority of society seeks approval or validation from others. We learn at a young age to occassionally look up at mom and dad, waiting for that nod or smile to show that what we are doing is ok. As we grow we look to teachers for praise. Once we are adults we need to be told we are doing well at work and we even look to social media for likes and comments. All of these are forms of validation and approval.
The Question is WHY Do We Seek This Validation and Approval?
We seek validation because we ultimately lack self trust and confidence. Sometimes we are simply trying to please others, which is fine to an extent, but not when we compromise our own desires. We each were born with a unique gift to share with this world and we are robbed of sharing that opportunity when we conform to what others want. This is somewhat compounded by others judging us. No one likes to feel judged or like they are on the hot seat. It is also compounded by acceptance. We all want to fit in and we seek love, even through friendships. When we are ousted because of a choice we make, not seeking approval, it hurts. It is important to allow others to react however they do, we do not control that.
In my personal experience, sometimes people distance themselves or even walk out of my life because of a decision I have made. Truth be told, no one else has to approve or like what I do with my life. What is critical is to be sure each choice we make brings us happiness and does not cause anyone else harm. Compassionate decision making is what I call this. Sometimes we even make mistakes, but it is important that our friends and family continue to love us through those mistakes rather than try to control the situation to protect us, which often makes it worse and can cause a sense of isolation. For example; if my parents do not like who I date I may not spend much time with them. Someone seeking approval may defend the boyfriend or even decide to see someone else even though he may treat you wonderfully. It is great to set boundaries and to respect those of others. But we do not need approval for our actions. Once we stop seeking validation and approval we natually relieve stress in our lives. It is stressful to constantly worry about what other people think of us.
Five Steps to Letting Go and Living Authentically:
Free your mind from the confines that hold you back. Go deep within and ask YOURSELF what you want and need.
Do not compromise who you are to please others
Speak your voice.
Slay the chameleon within, meaning stop trying to “fit in”. Wear the clothes YOU like, take the job that excites YOU, feel free to shed toxic relationships so you can grow…
The last Yama in the 8 Limbs of Yoga is Aparigraha. Aparigraha means non possesiveness, non grasping, non needing and letting go of what you no longer need. You do not need approval or validation from anyone. Stand firm in your opinions and standards. Do not let anyone hold you back. People may get upset or give you a cold shoullder, but simply allow that. If they truly love and care about you they will process it in their own time and more than likely return with even more love.
The more authentically you live your life, the more you will earn the respect of others. Just remember to do all things with kindness. And remember, it is Ok to agree to disagree respectfully. Trust yourself and you will never seek outside validation or worry about trusting others. You have got this!
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