” We don’t always control what happens to us. But we always control how we interpret what happens to us, as well as how we respond.”- Mark Manson
Logically, thousands of years ago it was difficult to live and survive alone. Therefore, humans had to seek a group approval, so they get the protection needed to escape potential death at many occasions. Those who seek approval had a better chance of survival amongst the group, but those who didn’t care were dismissed.
It is fascinating to see how in today’s world kids and adults still seek approval from others in order to be accepted.
In the world of ego, the promise of approval and the threat of disapproval are commonly used tools that people use to get what they want from each other—or rather a single tool, a double-edged sword where one always follows the other.
If you are one of those who seek a group approval, then without realising you may be impacting your effectiveness negatively as you are probably avoiding doing things that matters to you and feeling anxious about trying new things outside of your comfort zone. Hence, you get stuck worrying about what others think and expect of you. Therefore, it is important to understand how your need for approval is stopping you from doing what is important for you.
Here’s what I learned in my journey to let go of anyone’s approval:
- Unlock Your Mind First
Have you ever heard of the “Baby Elephant Chain”?
It’s about how when baby elephants are chained up for too long, they won’t leave as adults even when you let them go.
Human minds work the same way. In our part of the world, parents interfere and make decisions and plans for their children from early age. Sometimes, it is difficult for the child to unchain from their parents’ power. The parent wants to continue making decisions for their children even when they reach adulthood. So how can the child take the power back without hurting their parents? Thus, the child believes he or she has chains on.
If you feel there is someone in your life holding you back, whether it’s a partner, a family member, or a friend, see if you’ve mentally created chains between you and that person. Ask yourself: how can you break those chains and what would the benefits be?
- Recognise Unkind Behaviors
Whenever a child misbehaves, the parent would raise their voice and say hurtful things to try to get the child to stop.
I had no idea this was a destroying factor to any child’s personality and it’s not healthy. It’s normal for people to yell to express their emotions, but it’s not normal to intimidate and control what you do.
If you share your ideas with someone whose opinion you respect a lot and all they do is dismiss, criticise, or intimidate you, that’s a sign of an unhealthy behavior.
- Perfect the Behavior You Wish to Get
If you want your spouse/parents to stop a certain behavior, you must stop first.
It takes a lot of self-discipline and preparation, but whenever I find myself getting upset, I try to take a few steps back and breath before I say something might regret it later. I would think about what I’m going to say and how I can say it in the most loving way.
Rehearse pausing and breathing between sentences the next time you get irritated speaking with someone. Overtime, you’ll get better at it and the other person will notice your efforts and try to match your tone.
- Accept that you won’t get Approval from Everyone
It is not important for others to understand you —but if you keep waiting for their approval, it’s your choice.
If you want to achieve your dreams and go for what you truly want, then you have to accept the fact that some people might never understand that – and guess what? IT IS OK.
Lastly, start being honest with yourself. You are a unique individual with a purpose and beliefs that will differ from others. Be authentic and true to your values. If you are doing something you don’t believe in, generally the reason for that is to gain the approval of others.
So, STOP and say goodbye to the approval of others.
Why do you think so many people fall into the trap of thinking that who they are is not enough and that they need other people to approve of them in order for them to feel worthy and valuable? I really want to know what your thoughts on this whole approval seeking behavior.