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10 Reasons Why People’s Approval Shouldn’t Matter

10 Reasons Why People’s Approval Shouldn’t Matter

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:

1. It’s Not Their 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.

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2. They Don’t Know What’s Best For You

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.

3. What’s Right For Someone Else May Be Completely Wrong For You

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.

4. Be Independent Of The Good Opinions of Others

Spiritual teacher Deepak Chopra writes:

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“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.

5. You’re The One Stuck With The End Result

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.

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6. Your Inner Guidance Matters

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.

7. Trust Your Ability To Make Decisions

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.

8.  Live With Integrity

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.

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9. Others Don’t Care As Much As You Think

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!

10. The Hard Truth: It’s Impossible To Please Everybody

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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Published on April 7, 2021

6 Signs Of A Controlling Person To Be Aware Of

6 Signs Of A Controlling Person To Be Aware Of

Some of the most manipulative people are so good at what they do that their words and actions can convince you into thinking they truly care about what’s best for you when in reality, it’s quite the opposite. The most common signs of a controlling person are rarely obvious to outside observers. And for someone enmeshed in a controlling relationship or friendship, it can be incredibly challenging to stay away from this toxic person, even if you’re aware of their emotionally abusive tendencies.

While it’s ultimately up to you to decide whether to preserve or leave a lopsided, unfulfilling relationship, it’s nevertheless critical to understand the following six signs of controlling people so you can better advocate for yourself and mitigate the influence of their manipulative tendencies in your own life.

1. They Push Their Own Personal Agenda

Do you know someone who always tries to micromanage the words, behaviors, and attitudes of people around them? Does this person act like they have the right to know anything they want about you, including your location, what you’re doing in a given moment, who you’re talking to online, or any other private information about you? And when planning events and special occasions, does this person dominate conversations, steer plans in their own preferred directions, disparage others’ suggestions, and refuse to collaborate with anyone who might disagree with them?

If you answered “yes” to some of the above questions, then those are clear signs of a controlling person whom you absolutely need to be cautious around. Controlling people are reluctant to even consider alternative ideas, let alone enthusiastically work with people who have differing views. They prefer to be the captain of every ship—regardless of how much or how little an issue personally impacts them—and they have an arsenal of manipulative tactics to deploy if someone stands in the way of them achieving their own personal agendas.

In long-term relationships with controlling people, you may feel constantly pressured to meet their demands, follow their schedule, and focus on whatever they feel is most important. It’s not an exaggeration to say that these people act like the universe revolves around them, which can be exhausting to deal with for their family members, friends, and colleagues.

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2. They Make Everything Transactional

Controlling people aren’t always self-centered, but they’re not too empathetic either. Empathy for them tends to appear in the form of strategic concessions they use as a means to get what they want. They typically view interpersonal relationships as transactional opportunities to extract more value from people surrounding them, which can have a draining effect on those they interact with.

For example, one sign of a controlling person may be their insistence on “keeping score.” This can involve doing nice things for you with the ulterior motive of demanding something from you at a later date in exchange for what you thought was just an act of kindness or a friendly support.

Perhaps they shower you in praise (also known as “love-bombing”) or gifts then blow up at you if you don’t intuitively know they’re expecting something back from you. None of us are mind-readers, but controlling people behave as though everyone else should think and act like they want others to and those who fall out of line are punished for failing to meet their impossible expectations.

A controlling person may also threaten to withhold support if you don’t adhere to their demands, but they do so in such subtle ways that the guilt they impose blinds you from the unreasonable nature of their behaviors.

Some statements to be wary of include:

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  • “I did ___________ for you. What do you mean you can’t do ___________ for me?”
  • “Remember how I helped you with ___________? That took a lot of time and energy from me, but I guess you didn’t appreciate my help.”
  • “I always give you ___________. Don’t you care about my needs too?”
  • “You’re so selfish!” or “You don’t care about me at all!” (gaslighting if you respond with hesitation or politely decline their request for help for perfectly valid reasons, such as not having enough time or resources to assist them)

3. They Criticize Everything

One of the most common telltale signs of a controlling person is their capacity to criticize anything and everything, even small things that seemingly don’t matter. As with many toxic traits in relationships, these problems typically start out so small that you may not even notice. At first, you may even agree with their criticism or at least be able to understand their perspective when they bring up an issue.

However, the criticism tends to get more intense, more constant, and more perplexing for people who maintain relationships with controlling people. You’ll likely notice how they rarely seem to criticize something they do. It’s almost always other-oriented and these types of people are so manipulative that any rationale they offer can seem plausibly legitimate.

Some warning signs of a controlling person who’s overly critical to the point of abusiveness include:

  • Criticizing things about you that you have little to no control over (e.g., appearance, disability, family)
  • Criticizing your personal choices and interests, such as educational pursuits, career, clothing, favorite music, time spent on your hobbies, etc.
  • Punishing you for expressing vulnerability by invalidating thoughts and feelings you share with them
  • Attacking you whenever you express an opinion counter to theirs

4. They Balk When Someone Criticizes Them

We all know the adage, “what goes around, comes around.” But this statement doesn’t apply as much to toxic, controlling people. They’d much prefer to dish out criticism without ever having to take it in return.

For instance, if your friend constantly talks about your appearance with little regard for your emotions but flips out if you make just a single comment about their appearance, there’s a possibility that they could have some hidden controlling tendencies left unchecked. Remember, these people aren’t just controlling in their behaviors towards others. They’re also actively trying to stay in complete control over every aspect of their lives, which includes how others view them.

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This seemingly insatiable desire for control can prompt them to lash out against even the smallest bits of criticism, leaving people around them too weary or scared to speak up again in the future. While it’s possible they may suffer from something called rejection sensitivity dysphoria, this does not excuse them from the consequences of their words and actions. They should seek professional help to better manage their reactions to criticism.

5. They Socially Isolate You

Not all controlling people do this, but for manipulative narcissists, socially isolating victims is a go-to strategy for maintaining control because it’s effective at preventing people from truly understanding how toxic their partner, family member, or friend is treating them. Think of it this way—if you don’t talk to many other people in your life, there’s less of a risk that you’ll damage their reputation by revealing their abusive tendencies.

Socially isolating others also gives the person more control over you and your life as it becomes more difficult to break away from them if you don’t have other healthier channels of communication and interpersonal support to turn to.

This process doesn’t happen overnight, nor is it something you can readily recognize as abusive. At first, it may seem reasonable, such as asking you to stop engaging so often with family members with whom both of you disagree on major social or political issues. As the social isolation progresses, they may suggest cutting people out of your life—especially if they don’t like that person, regardless of how you personally feel—or even conjure up high-stakes problems like “it’s me or them” under the guise of saving you from people in your life whom they don’t like for whatever reason.

In a controlling person’s life narrative, they’re always the protagonist who’s incapable of any wrongdoing. The blame is always redirected at someone else, whether that’s you or other people in your life. The more they isolate you from other supportive people in your life, the more susceptible you’ll be to falsely believing that they’re right and you “don’t need” your other friends and family when you have someone as perfect as this person.

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6. They’re Emotionally Abusive

It’s hard enough to be in control of your own emotions but when someone else is constantly belittling you and your interests or leveraging guilt and shame to manipulate you into saying or doing what they want, this can make it even more challenging to stay in control of your own life and emotional well-being.

Emotional abuse is another sign of a controlling person that is often overlooked in relationships. After all, human personalities vary widely in terms of passivity, and it’s not uncommon for one person in a relationship to be significantly more passive than the other. This becomes an issue when the controlling partner or friend exudes signs of emotional abuse, which can start subtly and become much more pronounced over time.

Concerning signs of emotionally abusive language or behavior to watch out for include:

  • Dismissing your needs and/or belittling your interests in counterproductive ways
  • Privately or publicly shaming or humiliating you
  • Making you feel as though you can never live up to their expectations or do anything right (according to their own vague, subjective standards)
  • Gaslighting you into thinking they said or did something that never actually happened (making you question your own reality)

Final Thoughts

It’s sometimes hard to see the negative things about someone with whom we have a relationship. We may sometimes unconsciously overlook the signs of a controlling person, especially if that person is someone we have known for a long time or are close to us. However, cutting them off your life is the best thing you can do for yourself. Just watch out for these six signs of a controlling person and take immediate action when you spot them.

More Tips on How To Deal With a Controlling Person

Featured photo credit: Külli Kittus via unsplash.com

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