If you want to live a life that is inspiring, fun, adventurous and meaningful, it’s going to entail letting go of your need for approval from others.
Here are 10 reasons why others’ approval shouldn’t matter to your life:
It’s as simple as that. This is your life to live. At the end of the day you are the only person who needs to approve of your choices. Besides, it’s not their life. They have their own things to focus on and worry about. You can even remind them to mind their own business and concentrate on their own life, while you focus on yours.
Nobody will ever be as invested in your life as you. Only you know what is best for you, and that entails learning from your own choices. The only way you will ever truly learn is through making your own decisions, taking full responsibility for them, and that way if you do fail, at least you can learn from it wholeheartedly, as opposed to blame-shifting it onto somebody else. If you want to live a meaningful and fulfilled life, you have to own your choices and learn from them. This will build your character and help you grow.
It’s important to recognize that someone’s opinion is often based on what they would do. This alone is the problem. What is best for somebody else, can be the worst thing for you. What one person considers garbage can be another person’s treasure. We are all so unique, thus, only you know what is right for you.
Spiritual teacher Deepak Chopra writes:
“If you’re really spiritual, then you should be totally independent of the good and the bad opinions of the world…you should have faith in yourself.”
This is one of the wisest teachings I know. You see, often the people who give you their opinions (and even commands!) love you and have your best interest at heart. They are telling you what they believe is best for you. They have good intentions and thus their opinion is essentially good, since they are telling you what they believe is right. However, even if their opinions are coming from a good place, you still need to be independent of them. Inside all of us is a deep intuitive knowing that gives us solid information on what is best for us. When you listen to that deep knowing, you will feel a sense of joy, expansion, and deep peace (even if the choice is a little scary and out of your comfort zone). The wise teacher is inside of you. At the end of the day, you must choose what is right for you—even when others’ well-intended opinions differ from your own.
In life, you are the one stuck with the consequences of your decisions. For example, if someone suggests you buy some stocks, but you just don’t feel like it’s the right choice, you are the only one who will live the consequences. If the stock falls and you lose a lot of money, you are the one that will have to live with the fact that you didn’t follow your inner call. When people give you their suggestions or even orders, there is no risk for them. They don’t have to live with your choices—but you do.
When you listen to the call from within—your deep desires, yearnings, and dreams—you end up living a fulfilling life. As Joseph Campbell famously teaches: “follow your bliss” as this always takes you to the place you are supposed to be. And only you know what that inner call is. It is better to live a fulfilling life that you can approve of than living a life for somebody else.
It’s common to want and seek the approval of others, however this can leave us in a terrible position where we lose trust in ourselves. The more you seek approval of others, the less confidence you will have in your ability to make your own decisions. Making decisions by yourself is akin to working a muscle. The more you make your own decisions, the easier it becomes, and the stronger you become inside leading to greater confidence in your choices. Conversely, every time you give your power away, and rely on others to make decisions for you, you weaken the muscle of confidence and decision making. Start strengthening your decision muscles today by relying on yourself to make your own decisions.
When you live life by your terms and with your approval you are living an authentic life. Alternatively, when you live searching for others’ approval, you end up living a lie since it is not the life you truly desire. Living with integrity means acting in alignment with what you feel is right. When you live by others’ standards you are not living a true life, nor is this a life of integrity.
If you find yourself worried about what others think of you, chances are they are not thinking about you as much as you believe. We all have complex lives to attend to, and whatever approval you are seeking from another, chances are they don’t care as much as you worry about. Therefore, the best thing you can do for yourself is take the energy you put into worrying over others’ approval, and transform that energy into evaluating what you truly approve of. Make sure you approve of what you do—that’s what matters!
The fact is some people just won’t like you, and some people will never approve of what you do. So you might as well get on with what you feel is right. Whether it’s regarding what you are wearing, a business decision, or career decision, not everyone you know—from family to clients and co-workers—will approve of what you choose. It’s just the hard truth. But that’s part of the saving grace in all of this. Simply knowing this gives us the freedom to act honestly in our lives. At the very least, you’ll be able to sleep at night with peace, knowing that you approve of and are pleased with your choices.
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