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