Chase your own approval
January - 11 - 2012
Why do people spend so much time looking for approval from others when oftentimes the person they want approval from is no better, or knows no more, then they themselves do? Why do people find it so hard to let go of the need for approval? Some people seem like they are consistently chasing the approval of one person or another.

Does that sound familiar? Have you done a little too much chasing over the years? Is it time for you to let go of the destructive habit of seeking the acceptance, approval and even permission of others? Perhaps you’re good enough all by yourself? Perhaps you should stop giving away your power? Perhaps in the letting go you’ll find the only acceptance you need: self-acceptance.

Try this:

“I approve of me.”

Liberating, huh?

An interesting phenomenon about us often-insecure creatures becomes apparent when someone is liked by ninety-nine people and disliked by one. Guess which ‘group’ will have the biggest impact on that person’s mental and emotional states? Is it the one detractor or the ninety-nine fans?

You know the answer.

Why? Because (1) on some level we have an unhealthy and unrealistic desire for universal approval and acceptance (that crap will wear you out) and (2) we have an uncanny knack of finding a needle of negativity in a haystack of hope. And then, we focus all of our misplaced attention on that teeny-tiny needle. We ignore the considerable good while finding the bad. Dumb plan. And a poor investment of our emotions.

Of all the human drivers, the desire to be wanted, loved and, of course, liked is near the top of the list. And while that desire is completely understandable – normal even – it becomes a problem when the want becomes a desperate, unhealthy and irrational need.

Here’s the scoop: not everyone will like you and that’s okay.

For your own health, it needs to be okay. When it’s not, you have an issue. Get comfortable with the concept and your head will be a much healthier place to visit. Perhaps there are people who enjoy universal approval and have zero detractors but I’m yet to meet one. And I won’t hold my breath.

Some suggestions:

1. Don’t compromise yourself in order to be liked. You might be liked by others but you’ll be loathed by yourself. Don’t work at being popular, work at being you. It’s a lot easier and requires a lot less energy and acting.

2. Identify your core values – the things that are most important to you – and live a life in alignment with those values. That way you are being your authentic self rather than trying to satisfy somebody else’s needs, expectations, values, demands and rules. When your decisions and behaviors are a reflection of your core life values, you will be living a life of authenticity and the ‘need’ to be liked will be a non-issue

3. Know that God had enough confidence in you to give you this life. That alone should give you all the confidence you need in yourself to do anything your heart truly wants.
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Sudarshan @sudarshan
Kolkata, India
I only wish that ordinary people had an unlimited capacity for doing harm; then they might have an unlimited power for doing good.
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