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10 Things You Don’t Need Anyone’s Approval For (Though You Think You Do)

10 Things You Don’t Need Anyone’s Approval For (Though You Think You Do)

You are probably a free person with access to the global Internet and similar luxuries. However, there’s one thing that’s dangerous to your freedom. It’s the seek for other people’s approval. Plenty of folks base their own lives on the opinions of others, afraid to lose validation and be criticized. To me, it’s a deadly disease that paralyzes your ability to pursue your dreams. Fortunately, it’s curable so anyone can reclaim their freedom.

If you are an unconfident person who often isn’t authentic in order to please other people and you’d like to change it, you are in the right place. Over time, you’ll laugh at your past fears and proudly follow your intuition in lieu of sticking to outdated dogmas.

1. You don’t need approval for changing your style.

Let’s begin with the appearance. Are you bored with your current look and you’d like to transform your image? You’d like to make a change, but people are used to your current presence and a drastic modification will definitely draw attention. You know what?

People may talk and judge, but that’s the way it works. You can either accept it and stay authentic anyway or you can live as a slave of their opinions. What might be shocking today, will become a boring reality over time, and you won’t even notice how quickly everyone will get used to your new self.

2. You don’t need approval for changing your social circle.

You are the reflection of the five people you spend the most time with. Without wishing to sound cliché, this sentence has to be mentioned since the most profound life lessons are actually found in adages. It might be the case that your current environment prevents you from becoming who you’d like to be. Some people are great companions, radiating with positive energy while others might spread nothing but negativity.

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It’s your responsibility to adjust your surroundings to your goals. If there’s a negative person in your life that you’d like to avoid, the last thing you should care about is that person’s approval for your decision. It’s tough, but if you feel deep within that change is necessary, go for it regardless of what others think.

3. You don’t need approval for changing your behavior.

Your family, friends, and colleagues may be used to a certain behavior you represent so once you start acting differently, it obviously puts you in the center of attention. Some might start to question that change, but this shouldn’t bother you. As long as you don’t hurt anyone, you have a full right to change the way you behave whenever you want.

If you are a shy or introverted person, however, you’d like to socialize more and become outgoing, the process of change will attract some attention. This might make you feel afraid of being judged, but same as for above examples, you don’t need anyone’s approval for such a transformation. Some people say, fake it until you make it. I would explicate it by saying that you fake it until you believe it. While you do it, forget about how others perceive you.

4. You don’t need approval for changing your beliefs.

Many people were raised according to certain beliefs and dogmas reckoned to be the best in their culture. The truth is, some folks born within that environment don’t accept these as the ultimate truths and see the world completely different.

However, there’s a social pressure which makes it harder to abandon the tradition. Conservative people brought up in that very culture will expect you to behave accordingly. Every move in the opposite direction causes disapproval. They are deeply convinced that’s the straight way to destroy your life, but the fact is, it’s you who’s living it.

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When I declared to my family that my personal beliefs vary a lot from what they taught me, at first, I faced huge disapproval. Honestly, I wasn’t surprised, but while stating it, I wasn’t looking for their approval, but just sharing the information. Over time, the tension fades away and you are happy about being authentic and true to yourself.

5. You don’t need approval for your life priorities.

The typical life priorities vary from culture to culture, however, they have one thing in common. Namely, people look skeptic whenever you refuse to follow. A young person nowadays is supposed to get a degree, get a good job, build a house, buy a fancy car and fully enjoy their success. For some, this might be the best scenario imaginable. Others might consider it a nightmare. Whatever applies to you, it’s your and only your business.

If your number one priority in life is to help people in need, but your parents dream of you becoming a lawyer, then you’ll definitely meet with disapproval. Disappointing your loved ones hurts both you and them. However, a life filled out with regret may be even more harmful. Oppose to misconceptions, it’s following your heart and intuition that’s closest to what you really want to achieve.

6. You don’t need approval for fulfilling your deepest desires.

You may want to do something so crazy that just thinking about it blows your mind. Something you always wanted to do, a desire hidden deep within your soul. But for some reason, you keep procrastinating and putting it off.

If “some reason” happens to be the criticism from your surroundings, it’s time to face the truth and abandon the seek for validation. Most people prefer safety and security. A person who hates sticking out from the crowd is not appropriate for a mentor when it comes to going insane so their approval is the last thing you’ll ever need.

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7. You don’t need approval for your relationship choices.

Relationship choices are fully private issues, yet plenty of people shamelessly judge others’ choices. What they base their judgments on, however, is just a surface. Only you and your loved one know each element of your relationship, that most people may not even notice.

Some relationships draw a lot of attention in certain cultures and experience social pressure and negativity. Narrow-minded people may try to destroy them, as they are deeply convinced they are unacceptable. The truth is, their disapproval doesn’t play any role. They may be loud, but their words are meaningless. Follow your heart and ignore the naysayers.

8. You don’t need approval for your passions.

Imagine a man pursuing to be a ballet dancer or a woman who falls in love with lifting weights. Both are incredibly passionate about it and highly determined to get to the top. There’s a beauty in how they spare no effort to overcome every obstacle and become better.

However, some people won’t notice that. The only thing they see is a controversy — people doing something they don’t consider adequate for their gender. These passionate individuals stick out, so the crowd notices and weak people laugh at them. They may lack approval from the society but in reality, they don’t need it.

Following your passion leads to success, even if there are countless failures along the way. At some point, your success and determination make the defeatists so small you no longer recognize them.

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9. You don’t need approval for your eating habits.

What you put in your body is what you become. Why would you let anyone determine that choice? Eating is such a basic task required to survive, yet it’s very controversial. Different diets and eating patterns are always a hot topic of discussion, be it in the mass media or on the Internet. For example, becoming a vegetarian or vegan can be perceived as crazy. Same thing applies when you base your diet mostly on meat and fats. It’s because “healthy” and “normal” are subjective words.

First of all, eating healthy is not an absolute value, various people see it differently. Secondly, you shouldn’t even care about eating “normally” because it varies from culture to culture. Stick to your personal choice regardless of the opinion of others. Ultimately, it’s your stomach that’s going to digest it.

10. You don’t need approval for following intuition.

There’s a voice hidden deep in your soul which gives you advice on how to act, also known as intuition. This instinct may serve you life-changing tips, but it definitely won’t give you any common advice. Following the typical path often conflicts with our hearts. Simply because the average life is not what we were meant for.

Then again, living a life driven by passion and inner desire isn’t easy. Being aberrational is uncomfortable since your intuition is constantly questioned by society’s norms. The fact is, once you accept that lack of approval for sticking to your instinct, you’ll feel more authentic, content and satisfied.

Featured photo credit: hipster modern stylish blonde man on rails in daily life via shutterstock.com

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Oskar Nowik

Oskar is a blogger and the author of "Brightening: The Positive Attitude That Will Change Your Life"

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Last Updated on August 19, 2019

How to Be True to Yourself and Live the Life You Want

How to Be True to Yourself and Live the Life You Want

We live in a world that constantly tells us what to do, how to act, what to be. Knowing how to be true to yourself and live the life you want can be a challenge.

When someone asks how we are, we assume that the person does not mean the question sincerely, for it would lead to an in depth conversation. So telling them that you are good or fine, even if you’re not, is the usual answer.

In an ideal world, we would stop and truly listen. We wouldn’t be afraid to be ourselves. Instead, when we answer about how we are doing, our mask, the persona we show the world, tightens. Sometimes even more so than it might have been before. Eventually, it becomes hard to take off, even when you’re alone.

Imagine a world where we asked how someone was doing and they really told us. Imagine a world where there were no masks, only transparency when we talked to one another.

If you want to live in a world that celebrates who you are, mistakes and all, take off the mask. It doesn’t mean you have to be positive or fine all the time.

According to a Danish psychologist, Svend Brinkman, we expect each other to be happy and fine every second, and we expect it of ourselves. And that “has a dark side.”[1] Positive psychology can have its perks but not at the expense at hiding how you truly feel in order to remain seemingly positive to others.

No one can feel positive all the time and yet, that is what our culture teaches us to embrace. We have to unlearn this. That said, telling others you are ‘“fine”’ all the time is actually detrimental to your wellbeing, because it stops you from being assertive, from being authentic or your truest self.

When you acknowledge a feeling, it leads you to the problem that’s causing that feeling; and once you identify the problem, you can find a solution to it. When you hide that feeling, you stuff it way down so no one can help you.You can’t even help yourself.

Feelings are there for one reason: to be felt. That doesn’t mean you have to act on that feeling. It just means that you start the process of problem solving so you can live the life you want.

1. Embrace Your Vulnerability

When you are your true self, you can better self-advocate or stand up for what you need. Your self-expression matters, and you should value your voice. It’s okay to need things, it’s okay to speak up, and it’s okay not to be okay.

Telling someone you are simply “fine” when you are not, does your story and your journey a great disservice. Being true to yourself entails embracing all aspects of your existence.

When you bring your whole self to the table, there is nothing that you can’t beat. Here’re 7 benefits of being vulnerable you should learn.

Can you take off the mask? This is the toughest thing anyone can do. We have learned to wait until we are safe before we start to be authentic.

In relationships especially, this can be hard. Some people avoid vulnerability at any cost. And in our relationship with ourselves, we can look in the mirror and immediately put on the mask.

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It all starts with your story. You have been on your own unique journey. That journey has led you here, to the person you are today. You have to be unafraid, and embrace all aspects of that journey.

You should seek to thrive, not just survive. That means you do not have to compete or compare yourself with anyone.

Authenticity means you are enough. It’s enough to be who you are to get what you want.

What if for the first time ever, you were real? What if you said what you wanted to say, did what you wanted to do, and didn’t apologize for it?

You were assertive, forthcoming in your opinions or actions to stand for what is right for you, (rather than being passive or aggressive) in doing so. You didn’t let things get to you. You knew you had something special to offer.

That’s where we all should be.

So, answer me this:

How are you, really?

And know that no matter the answer, you should still be accepted.

Bravery is in the understanding that you still may not be accepted for your truth.

Bravery is knowing you matter even when others say that you do not.

Bravery is believing in yourself when all evidence counters doing so (i.e. past failures or losses)

Bravery is in being vulnerable while knowing vulnerability is a sign of strength.

It’s taking control.

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2. Choose Your Attitude in Adversity

You can take control of your destiny and live the life you want by being true to yourself. You can start anytime. You can start today.

You can start with one day at a time, just facing what happens that day. Most of us get overwhelmed when faced with the prospect of a big change. Even if the only thing we change is our attitude.

In one instant, you can become a different person with a change of attitude. When you take control of your attitude, you become able to better understand what is around you. This allows you to move forward.

Originally, you may have had a life plan. It could have started when you were little; you were hoping to become a mermaid, doctor, astronaut or all three when you grew up. You were hoping to be someone. You were hoping to be remembered.

You can still dream those dreams, but eventually reality sets in. Obstacles and struggles arise. You set on a different path when the last one didn’t work out. You think of all the “shoulds” in your life in living the life you want. You should be doing this…should be doing that…

Clayton Barbeau, psychologist, coined the term “shoulding yourself.’[2] When we are set on one path and find ourselves doing something different. It becomes all the things you should be doing rather than seeing the opportunities right in front of you.

But in all this disarray, did you lose sight of the real you?

It may be in our perceived failures and blunders that we lose sight of who we are, because we try to maintain position and status.

In being who we really are and achieving what we really want, we need to be resilient: How to Build Resilience to Face What Life Throws at You

It means that we do not see all possibilities of what might happen, but must trust ourselves to begin again, and continue to build the life we want. In the face of adversity, you must choose your attitude.

Can attitude overcome adversity? It certainly helps. While seeking to be true to yourself and live the life you want, you will have to face a fact:

Change will happen.

Whether that change is good or bad is unique to each person and their perspective.

You might have to start over, once, twice, a few times. It doesn’t mean that everything will be okay, but that you will be okay. What remains or should remain is the true you. When you’ve lost sight of that, you’ve lost sight of everything.

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And then, you rebuild. Moment after moment, day after day. We all have a choice, and in this moment, that matters.

You can choose to have a positive attitude, seeing the silver lining in each situation and, where there is none, the potential for one. Maybe that silver lining is you and what you will do with the situation. How will you use it for something good?

That’s how you can tap into yourself and your power. Sometimes it happens by accident, sometimes on purpose. It can happen when we aren’t even looking for it, or it can be your only focus. Everyone gets there differently.

You can rise, or you can remain. Your choice.

When the worst happens, you can rely on your authenticity to pull you through. That’s because Self Advocacy, speaking up to let others know what you need, is part of finding the real you.

There is nothing wrong with asking for help. Or sometimes, helping others can help us deal with the pain of a hurtful situation. You decide how you’re going to help others, and suddenly, you become your best self.

3. Do What Makes You Happy When No One’s Looking

Being the best version of you has nothing to do with your success or your status. It has everything to do with your Character, what you do when no one’s looking.

In order to create the life you want, you have to be the person you want to be. Faking it till you make it is just a way to white knuckle it through your journey. You have the fire inside of you to make things right, to put the pieces together, to live authentically. And Character is how you get there.

If you fall down and you help another up while you’re down there, it’s like you rise twice.

Along with attitude, your character is about the choices you make rather than what happens to you.

Yes, it’s about doing the right thing even when obstacles seem insurmountable.  It’s about using that mountain you’ve been given to show others it can be moved.  It’s about being unapologetically you, taking control, choosing your attitude in adversity and being the best version of you to create the life you want.

How do you know what you really want? Is it truly status or success?

Unfortunately, these things do not always bring happiness. And aspects of our image or “performance driven existence” may not achieve satisfaction. Materialism is part of our refusal to accept ourselves as enough. All the things we use to repress our true selves are about being enough.

“Enoughness” is what we truly seek, but ego gets in the way.

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Ego is the perception of self as outer worth. It’s not REAL self worth.

Ego represses our true self with a new self— the self of chasing ‘“Am I ever enough?”’ questions. And instead of filling our true selves with self-love and acceptance, when we “should ourselves” and chase “enoughness,” we feed the ego or our image.

It’s important to realize YOU ARE ENOUGH, without all the material trappings.

Stanford psychologist Meagan O’Reilly describes the damage of not thinking we are enough. One of her tactics for combating this is to complete the sentence,[3]

“If I believed I were already enough, I’d ____”

What would you do if you felt you were enough?

By believing you are enough, you can live the life you want.

So many fake it to try to get there, and they end up losing themselves when they lose more and more touch with their Authenticity.

Final Thoughts

By being yourself, you are being brave. By acknowledging all you can be, you tell the universe that you can until you believe it too. The steps are easy, and you are worth it. All of it is about the purpose you are leading and the passion that is your fuel.

Being true to yourself is all about mastering how to live life authentically rather than faking or forcing it. Having the life you want (and deserve) is about being trusting in yourself and the purpose you are living for. Both need passion behind it, fueling it each second, or you will experience burn out.

When you are authentic, you can call the road you walk your own. When you live your life for you and not just the results of all your actions (faking it till you make it), you can let go of what you don’t need. This clarifies and pushes purpose to you, living for something that is greater than you.

You will find that making decisions based on what will actually achieve your goals, will help you attain the life you want, and your success with each step, will allow you to enjoy the process. Good luck!

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Featured photo credit: Ariana Prestes via unsplash.com

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