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10 Reasons Why People Who Stop Seeking Approval Are Happier Souls

10 Reasons Why People Who Stop Seeking Approval Are Happier Souls

Basically, from the time of our birth we are constantly sent the message that what others think of us matters. It isn’t long before we realize how we behave, how we look, what we say, and the choices we make can draw the approval or disapproval of others. In society, certain behaviors are obviously needed in order to show respect and consideration for others. However, the problem occurs when we require others to approve of us in order to validate how we feel about ourselves.

According to research reported in Time magazine, the part of the brain associated with reward is activated when we receive approval, more so in some people than others. Therefore, receiving approval can make us feel better, at least temporarily. However, a constant obsession with seeking it certainly does not. Some people have learned to stop seeking approval and found that this brings its own rewards.

1. They know that it isn’t someone else’s responsibility to make them happy

By constantly seeking approval from others, you are effectively handing over the responsibility for controlling your happiness to them. It’s not their job. Take it back.

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2. They love the freedom they feel when they stop worrying

Getting rid of that need for approval is very freeing. You no longer have those imaginary boundaries around you dictating how you should live your life.

3. They’ve discovered that trying to seek approval from others takes time and energy

Thinking about what everyone else’s opinion might be of you, and working out how you might best receive favorable responses from them is draining. Consider how much more time and energy you would have if you only worried about pleasing yourself.

4. They refuse to keep setting themselves up for disappointment

Aiming to get approval from others takes a certain amount of guesswork. You can’t know for sure what others will think, you can only speculate. This means you can often get it wrong and end up disappointed by their reaction.

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5. They understand that everyone will view them differently

When we talk about others, we are referring to a whole range of people with differing likes, dislikes, and opinions. Everything we do could be viewed in contrasting ways by different people. We can’t possibly please them all.

6. They know that everyone else is too busy seeking their own approval to notice

Seeking approval from others is widespread, so while you’re worrying about how you will be judged by people, those people are busy worrying about how they will be judged too and may not even notice your efforts.

7. They realize they deserve to focus on their own needs

Who are these other people that think they know how you should run your life better than you do? They don’t exist. Only you know what you really want and need. You deserve to receive your focus and attention in meeting those.

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8. Their anxiety decreases

According to the Social Anxiety Institute, around 7% of the US population are suffering from Social Anxiety at any one time. One of the key aspects of this is a fear of being judged negatively. If you find your anxiety about what others think of you feels out of control, there’s a chance you could be suffering from Social Anxiety and might need to seek help. However, even those of us without the condition can experience symptoms of anxiety if we’re continually worrying about how to gain the approval of others.

9. They grow in confidence

A big part of confidence is being comfortable with yourself. It’s pretty hard to feel comfortable with yourself if you let the opinions of others define you.

10. They’ve discovered that the less they worry about seeking approval the more likely they are to get it

It is somewhat ironic, but when you stop seeking approval, you are more likely to receive it. Being confident and comfortable with yourself is an attractive quality. By becoming self-assured, rather than self-obsessed, you will more likely gain the approval that you no longer crave.

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Featured photo credit: They just LOVED him/Paul L Dineen via flickr.com

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Last Updated on August 4, 2020

The Gentle Art of Saying No For a Less Stressful Life

The Gentle Art of Saying No For a Less Stressful Life

No!

It’s a simple fact that you can never be productive if you take on too many commitments — you simply spread yourself too thin and will not be able to get anything done, at least not well or on time.

But requests for your time are coming in all the time — through phone, email, IM or in person. To stay productive, and minimize stress, you have to learn the Gentle Art of Saying No — an art that many people have problems with.

What’s so hard about saying no? Well, to start with, it can hurt, anger or disappoint the person you’re saying “no” to, and that’s not usually a fun task. Second, if you hope to work with that person in the future, you’ll want to continue to have a good relationship with that person, and saying “no” in the wrong way can jeopardize that.

But it doesn’t have to be difficult or hard on your relationship. Here’s how to master the Gentle Art of Saying No:

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1. Value Your Time

Know your commitments, and how valuable your precious time is. Then, when someone asks you to dedicate some of your time to a new commitment, you’ll know that you simply cannot do it. And tell them that: “I just can’t right now … my plate is overloaded as it is.”

2. Know Your Priorities

Even if you do have some extra time (which for many of us is rare), is this new commitment really the way you want to spend that time?

For myself, I know that more commitments means less time with my wife and kids, who are more important to me than anything.

3. Practice Saying No

Practice makes perfect. Saying “no” as often as you can is a great way to get better at it and more comfortable with saying the word. And sometimes, repeating the word is the only way to get a message through to extremely persistent people. When they keep insisting, just keep saying no. Eventually, they’ll get the message.

4. Don’t Apologize

A common way to start out is “I’m sorry but …” as people think that it sounds more polite. While politeness is important, apologizing just makes it sound weaker. You need to be firm, and unapologetic about guarding your time.

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5. Stop Being Nice

Again, it’s important to be polite, but being nice by saying yes all the time only hurts you. When you make it easy for people to grab your time (or money), they will continue to do it. But if you erect a wall, they will look for easier targets.

Show them that your time is well guarded by being firm and turning down as many requests (that are not on your top priority list) as possible.

6. Say No to Your Boss

Sometimes we feel that we have to say yes to our boss — they’re our boss, right? And if we say “no,” then we look like we can’t handle the work — at least, that’s the common reasoning.

But in fact, it’s the opposite — explain to your boss that by taking on too many commitments, you are weakening your productivity and jeopardizing your existing commitments. If your boss insists that you take on the project, go over your project or task list and ask him/her to re-prioritize, explaining that there’s only so much you can take on at one time.

7. Pre-Empting

It’s often much easier to pre-empt requests than to say “no” to them after the request has been made. If you know that requests are likely to be made, perhaps in a meeting, just say to everyone as soon as you come into the meeting,

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“Look guys, just to let you know, my week is booked full with some urgent projects and I won’t be able to take on any new requests.”

8. Get Back to You

Instead of providing an answer then and there, it’s often better to tell the person you’ll give their request some thought and get back to them. This will allow you to give it some consideration, and check your commitments and priorities. Then, if you can’t take on the request, simply tell them:

“After giving this some thought, and checking my commitments, I won’t be able to accommodate the request at this time.”

At least you gave it some consideration.

9. Maybe Later

If this is an option that you’d like to keep open, instead of just shutting the door on the person, it’s often better to just say,

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“This sounds like an interesting opportunity, but I just don’t have the time at the moment. Perhaps you could check back with me in [give a time frame].”

Next time, when they check back with you, you might have some free time on your hands.

10. It’s Not You, It’s Me

This classic dating rejection can work in other situations. Don’t be insincere about it, though. Often, the person or project is a good one, but it’s just not right for you, at least not at this time.

Simply say so — you can compliment the idea, the project, the person, the organization … but say that it’s not the right fit, or it’s not what you’re looking for at this time. Only say this if it’s true — people can sense insincerity.

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Featured photo credit: Kyle Glenn via unsplash.com

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