This weekend the word approval came to mind. I found myself wondering why such a simple word complicated the lives of so many of us.
I can honestly sit here today and say that I struggled with needing the approval of others for a long time. From my childhood to adulthood this word I could not escape until now.
How did I do it? I sort to understand why I needed it and started approaching life and my interactions with others and myself differently. I understand it better and no longer let it control me or my actions.
History of approval
The need to get the approval of others starts early in our lives. We grow up seeking the approval of our parents, teachers and even our friends. Why? Once we’ve seen and experienced what disappointing them feels like we try not to repeat that once it can be helped.
We like knowing that they are happy and satisfied with us. Other times their approval can make us feel like we belong. As adults, we carry that same desire into the rest of our lives. It affects us in our relationships, in the workplace even how we see and value ourselves.
Let’s look at some of the pros and cons of approval versus dependency on approval.
The upside of approval
- It provides confirmation.
- Help validate who you are.
- Builds you up – making you feel good or better.
- Provide a sense of belonging.
The downside of dependency on approval
- When you don’t get it you don’t feel good about yourself.
- It could make you feel insecure or uncertain about what you’ve done.
- Some people may use it against you. They know you want their approval so they purposely don’t give it hoping this would negatively affect you.
- You’re constantly second guessing yourself.
- Keeps you stuck. You delay action or won’t act because you don’t believe in yourself hence you need this approval to push you into action.
- It breathes a quiet fear that hinders you from truly growing as an individual.
Reflecting on all of this confirmed for me that although the approval from others is good and has its benefits it is not always necessary except in the workplace when it directly relates to your job.
More importantly, becoming heavily dependent on getting the approval of others is more damaging than good. I can tell you from first-hand experience that sometimes in life, if you sit back waiting for others to recognize, substantiate, acknowledge or reward your efforts you may be disappointed. They may not give it and sometimes if they do it may not even be genuine and can be just as hurtful.
Don’t let this get you down. Don’t let it discourage you. Don’t let such people take away how good you feel about your contribution or yourself.
Their acknowledgement or lack thereof does not make you any less of a person. It does not mean what you’ve done is not good because it is probably amazing! Once you’ve done your best and feel good about it let that satisfaction fill you up. Their thumbs up would be great but you taking joy in yourself is more important.
The trick is to value yourself first that way what others think of you would be more of an enhancer and not a deciding factor. Many times it is simply their own insecurities or jealousy that makes it difficult for them to compliment or acknowledge the good others do. That is something they have to work on.
You just have to focus on being YOUR BEST not THEIR BEST.
I would leave you with this, if you have people in your life that support and encourage you be thankful for them. Genuine people are rare hold on to them. 🙂
Thanks for stopping by. 🙂