The approval of others can boost your dopamine levels and make you feel great. However, this is how most addictions begin. Soon, you crave praise for everything you do.
So, you’ll start doing things for the possible admiration that might follow. When the results are crickets chirping, you feel upset.
However, no matter how much approval you get from others, you’ll still feel empty because the only acceptance you need is from yourself.
Have you done these things for approval?
- Changing your opinion to match those in your group
- Needing “likes” from every social media post
- Keeping quiet when you don’t like something
- Excessively complimenting someone you want to like you
- Constantly worrying about losing friends
- Sharing a social media post that isn’t true but your friends would like it
- Spreading rumors or gossip to get attention
- Inability to say “No” when you’re already overwhelmed
- Acting like you know the facts but you don’t
You can see how easily one can lose themselves in the quest for approval. It’ll make you anxious before you do anything. What will others think about this? What if I lose all my friends?
Approval isn’t always a bad thing, but the addiction to it can creep up on you before you realize it. Moreover, needing it will backfire on you, resulting in a loss of self-esteem and others’ respect.
So, let’s explore the ways you can free yourself from approval captivity.
1. Why do you want approval?
“Once we give up searching for approval, we often find it easier to earn respect.”
— Gloria Steinem
You need to find out why you think it’s important to stop caring about approval. As with most issues, this one usually begins in childhood. Maybe someone criticized you for something, and you told yourself you can’t allow that to happen ever again. So, you change your behavior to match what other people like, even if you don’t really agree.
2. Be aware when you feel the need for approval
“A man cannot be comfortable without his own approval.”
— Mark Twain
In order to stop a behavior, you need to be aware of when the urge arises. It could be when you’re on social media, hanging with certain people, or at work. So, be on the lookout for any yearnings for praise.
When that happens, say some of the following messages to yourself:
- “I accept myself as I am, and I let go of the need for their approval.”
- “My mistakes don’t define me or my future success.”
- “I won’t allow others to mistreat or take advantage of me.”
- “The right people and opportunities are naturally attracted to me.”
- “I don’t have to change how I act or think to be loveable.”
- “My authentic self is confident and independent.”
- “I approve of who I am, and I don’t need others to agree.”
- “Regardless of what others think, I bravely stand up for what I think.”
3. Learn who you are
“Life is too short to waste it waiting for other people’s approval on how you live it.”
— Dr. Steve Maraboli
Take some time to learn who you are and what you want out of life. Journaling can really help with this. Ask yourself what you value. What qualities make a good person? Where do you want to go in life? What makes you unique? Discovering who you are will help you not to believe what negative people say about you. You know the truth and they don’t.
4. Refuse to act against your values
“If you’re conscientiously seeking approval, you’re not being true to yourself.”
— Tomas Kalnoky
When you know yourself and what you believe and value, don’t allow yourself to act against them for someone’s approval. So, if you hate liars, then don’t share or like things that aren’t true. Don’t tolerate other people lying to you because you deserve the respect of the truth. When you live by your values, your confidence will soar.‘
5. Opinions aren’t permanent
“You should seek approval from yourself.”
— Ichiro Suzuki
Even if someone doesn’t like how you do things, that doesn’t mean they always will. I’ve had some great friends that initially we didn’t get along well. However, over time we became inseparable. So, don’t think their opinions (or yours) are permanent. Just let things happen and don’t try to force anything.
6. Needing approval will make you invisible
“Needing approval is like saying – your view of me is more important than my own opinion of myself.”
— Wayne Dyer
It’s ironic but striving for approval makes you appear less worthy of attention. When you blend in with the crowd, you disappear. However, if you stand out with your unique ideas and don’t care what others think, you’re admired for your courage and confidence.
If you want approval, stop caring about it, and you’ll attract it.
People can tell if you’re addicted to pleasing others, and some will take advantage of you. They know you’ll do anything for a pat on the back, and they can treat you horribly, and you’ll keep returning for more. Don’t allow this anymore, and stand up for yourself. Just because they don’t see your brilliance doesn’t mean it isn’t there. Avoid them and shine.
7. Shift your focus from their approval to your projects
Ruminating about what others think of you enforces your addiction to their approval. As a result, you’re telling yourself that what they think matters more than your thoughts. Try focusing on something that brings you joy, so you keep your thoughts positive.
Since it doesn’t matter what people think about you, shift your thoughts toward something productive and life-changing. Also, a project can really help with increasing your independence.
8. Opinions don’t determine who you are
Whether or not people accept you, it won’t make you less awesome. When you stop caring about what they think, you appear more confident and attractive. So, keep your head up and don’t worry about everyone else. You’ve got this!
In the end, it’s about whether you approve of yourself, regardless of others’ opinions. Moreover, no amount of “likes” will fill this need.
So, make today the day you choose your opinion over others. Be you because you’re pretty awesome.
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How will you stop striving for others’ approval?