And that’s when I started to find out how to stop seeking approval. I didn’t want to be dependent on other people’s approval, affirmation or acceptance anymore. I didn’t want to exchange my own dreams, wants, wishes and desires for other people’s approval anymore. Heck, at that point in my life, I wasn’t even sure what my own dreams, wishes, wants and desires were! I had put my own preferences on the backburner for such a long time that I didn’t even know what they were anymore.
I wanted to know what it feels like to really respect myself – my true self. I wanted to start following my own path. I didn’t want to feel like a sell-out anymore. I didn’t want to squeeze myself in one place and stretch myself in another place just to fit the mold someone else had created for me.
Here are a couple of things I learned about how to stop seeking approval:
Is It Worth It?
If you are about to do something that isn’t truly something that you want to do – ask yourself: Is it worth it? Is it worth to invest my time and energy into doing this, just so I get the approval of someone else? Do I really want to trade this in for a part of my real self?
If A Friend Was In Your Situation
Let’s say you have the option of switching your job. You could start at a small company with a great team, where you could really bring in your passion and enjoy working with the people around you. Or you could stay at that big corporate job with better benefits. And actually you’d want to take the job at the small company, but other people would look at you as if you’ve taken a step down on the career ladder. Maybe your uncle Joe would start gossiping about you in the family, telling them that you didn’t really have a choice because you couldn’t make it with “the big boys”.
Now if a friend would ask you: should I take the job I love, even if some of my family members will think it’s wrong, or should I stay at the safe boring job with the annoying people I don’t like but have my family approve of my choice… what would you advice your friend to do? Looking at it from this perspective might help you to make a better decision.
Choose The Right Friends
When you spend time with friends, do you want their approval to? If that’s the case it’s time to find out whether these are the right friends. Instead of bending yourself, simply state what you think and voice your true opinions, no matter whether your friends will approve of them or not. There’s a limit to that – you don’t need to get obnoxious about it. But be honest and stick to your values.
So where am I now?
I’m not a people pleaser anymore. I don’t do things just to get other people’s approval anymore. I’m fine if I don’t get positive attention from others. But I still do nice things for other people. But not because I feel I have to do it. Not because I expect to get their approval that way. The reason why I now do nice things for other people is because I really want to do it – I do it when I want to just do an act of kindness.