“Criticism is something you can easily avoid by saying nothing, doing nothing, being nothing” ~Aristotle
The need for approval kills freedom. Basically, from the time of our birth we sent the message that what others think of us matters. It isn’t long before we realize how we behave, how we look, what we say, and the choices we make can draw the approval or disapproval of others. In society, certain behaviors are obviously needed in order to show respect and consideration for others. However, the problem occurs when we require others to approve of us in order to validate how we feel about ourselves.
As per Maslow’s hierarchy of needs (a psychology theory), esteem and love/belonging are essential components of human motivation. The part of the brain associated with reward is activated when we receive approval, more so in some people than others. Therefore, receiving approval can make us feel better, at least temporarily.
However, a constant obsession with seeking it certainly does not. Some people have learned to stop seeking approval and found that this brings its own rewards. Rather than seeking approval from external influences, try to find true happiness by developing a more stable relationship within yourself.
It’s exhausting trying to be everything to everyone. But more to the point, it’s unsustainable. To be truly happy, you must honor the truth of you. But all too often, finding this truth is profoundly complicated. Feeling confident without anyone else’s approval means loving yourself first and knowing your own self-worth. You can’t give away something you don’t own already. You have to love yourself first. It is better to be than to seem to be. That’s the very first thing ever
1.Become Aware Of Your Actions
“The first step to stop seeking approval of others is to become aware that we are stuck on doubt, insecurity, or uncertainty. We must recognize that our action of seeking approval comes from the emotions and beliefs that arise within us. Once you become aware of how often you’re seeking approval from others, you can begin to work on yourself from within.
2.You are the One in Control of Your Life
“Care about people’s approval and you will be their prisoner.” ~ Lao Tzu
Remind yourself that you are the one in control. You can seek all the guidance you need from within by listening to your heart and following your passions. Others are often unsure about their own life path, much less yours. Ultimately, you have all the power you need to take charge of your life. You are the driver of your own soul; you know where to turn and what roads to take already. Trust in yourself and the Universe to guide you along your unique path.
3.Develop A Greater Sense Of Self-Worth
“Self-worth is knowing you are loved, valuable, and worthy simply because you are, and not because of what you think, say, do, or what others think of you. We tend to seek approval from others when our sense of self-worth is low, when we believe we have to ‘perform’ to be worthy of attention and love.
Sometimes you can be your own worst enemy by having negative thoughts about yourself. But quashing these is the key to recognizing your own worth.
4.You find Your Own Happiness
Seeking happiness in others often leads to disappointment because others may not agree with your life plans. They may dismiss them and not understand what you truly want or believe in your dreams.
When you look to yourself as your own beacon of hope, light, and happiness, you empower yourself. You stop letting things or people outside yourself control your destiny and remember that happiness comes from within. Others can let you down, but you can never let yourself down if you remain true to your innermost desires in life.
5.Seeking Approval from Others is Time-Consuming
Think of how many other things you could be doing besides arguing with people about your plans and trying to get them to see through your eyes? To be honest, some people may never understand you or even try to see things your way. Asking others for approval adds a superfluous step to making a decision.
Time is precious, so use it to make your heart happy instead of convincing others to agree with every decision you make.
6.Freedom Comes When you Depend Solely on Yourself
Imagine how it would feel to make a big decision about your life all by yourself. Believe it or not, you have the strength to carry out your plan without others’ permission.
Next time you feel inclined to receive counsel from family/friends about your next big move; try to set your plan into action first. Don’t feel like you have to inform everyone when you make decisions; you can save a lot of headaches and gain freedom when initiating change by yourself. You are the creator and master of your own life – never forget that. You have the power to transform your life all by yourself; all you have to do is believe it. True freedom awaits us when we rise up to our own potential and let go of our need to please everyone, which brings us to the next point…
7.Learn To Accept Yourself For Who You Are
Don’t worry about what other people are thinking, but instead solely focus on what makes you happy. It can be challenging to accept all parts of ourselves, but that is truly where self-confidence begins. As we accept who we are, we find we don’t need others’ approval or input anymore, because we know the truth about ourselves.
8.You Can’t Please Everyone, So Don’t Even Try
Not everyone will agree with you all the time. Maybe no one will agree with your plan besides you, and that’s okay. Being a people-pleaser usually makes everyone happy except you, and you’re the most important part of the equation.
Everything stems from you – the quality of your relationships, your thoughts about life, what career you choose, etc. If you make major life decisions with everyone but you in mind, you will never find true happiness.
For example, if you took a high-paying job as a Marketing Director at a huge company just because your parents wanted you to, but you absolutely hated it, what good does this do for you? If you can’t come home at the end of the day and say you’re happy, nothing else matters. Not the money, your parent’s approval, your title or status, none of it. Do what makes you happy, and others can either choose to encourage you or rain on your parade. Remember that others’ unhappiness with your life is not your responsibility to fix; everyone is in charge of their own.
9.You Get to Know Yourself Better
There is no relationship more important than the relationship you have with yourself. If you look to your inner-self for guidance and wisdom, you will better understand who you are and what you want out of life. Take some time to tune into you- block out the voices from everyone else attempting to control your life and listen to your inner guide. By breaking the habit of approval-seeking, you can put all your focus into figuring yourself out and learn to trust in your path, rather than putting that responsibility on others.
10.Check The Accuracy Of Your Beliefs
While there’s nothing wrong by collaborating with other people, you don’t want to be persuaded because you may not truly believe in your voice yet.
By checking the accuracy of your beliefs, you will recognize that your story is not stable and therefore will be able to consider other perspectives, such as: ‘I can consider I am good enough’, or ‘I can consider I am equal to everyone else’, or ‘I can consider the only person who can truly grant me confidence is myself.
11.You Drain Yourself of Valuable Energy
Not only does approval-seeking waste time, but it wastes energy as well. Energy makes up everything in this vast Universe, including you. If you want to use that energy in the most efficient ways, cut out unnecessary actions. If you want to keep the fire alive and truly transform your life, you will need to dismiss the need to gain outside approval for your decisions.
12.It Could Discourage you From Following Your Heart
Let’s pretend that you want to drop out of college and travel the world on a quest to find yourself. Do you first worry about how you think others will react? If this truly resonates with you, you will never know unless you try, and you will forever wonder where life would’ve gone, had you only listened to that inner calling.
Don’t let others kill your dreams before they become a reality. Have confidence in yourself and trust that your inner voice is directing you to the right path.
Remember to be just as kind to yourself as you are to your friends. This includes doing kind things for yourself, practicing self-care, and letting others love you, as well as practicing self-compassion. As we build our self-worth, our need to seek approval will diminish dramatically.
14.Fear comes with this
When you seek approval from others, you begin to form expectations of what they will say. You start to think of how the conversation will go if they don’t agree with you, and you become anxious of their response. Fear only holds you back, but love will set you free. If you truly love yourself and feel assured with your life, you won’t even think twice about giving up the need for acceptance. We have been conditioned to be afraid of many things – other people, their opinions of us, trying new things, listening to new ideas, and much more.
Remember that fear is just an illusion. Give into who you truly are, which is abundant and unconditional Love is, and you will realize the limitless power within that greatly surpasses the power of others’ opinions.
15.Journal Your Thoughts
While writing is already considered to be therapeutic, it can help you figure out your internal struggles, too. Each day write a full page in a journal of just your top of head thoughts. At the end of the week goes through the journal and circle consistent thoughts and feelings. Then on Friday make a list of the transcendent thought you had throughout the week and the circled words in your journal.
Don’t let anyone else tell you your choices are not good enough. “Hold on to your truth and allow it to absorb into your psyche. When you find yourself going into judgment around it, label the judgment as defeating thoughts and push them away.
17.Take A Break From Social Media
Sometimes you just need to take a break from being over stimulated by social media. Try to focus on other things like fixing up your resume or reading a new book to help your mind unwind. In a world full of media — social, television, print and beyond — we’re bombarded with images of idealism. We end up in a state of constant social comparison to others, knowing someone else had ‘100 likes’ and needing the same to feel validated. We become addicted to seeking approval through “likes” and other external accolades. We end up diminishing, second-guessing and getting down on ourselves for all of the things we haven’t yet accomplished or acquired if we don’t get that approval.
Whether you’re trying to get hundreds of likes on Instagram or hoping to connect with someone on Facebook, sometimes it can seem like our happiness depends on other people in today’s society. But there are ways to stop seeking approval of others. The key is to begin with addressing your own thought process. Rather than seeking approval from external influences, try to find true happiness by developing a more stable relationship within yourself.