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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 Over time, you’ll laugh at your past fears and proudly follow your intuition in lieu of sticking to outdated dogmas.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 6, 2020

6 Reasons Why You Should Think Before You Speak

6 Reasons Why You Should Think Before You Speak

We’ve all done it. That moment when a series of words slithers from your mouth and the instant regret manifests through blushing and profuse apologies. If you could just think before you speak! It doesn’t have to be like this, and with a bit of practice, it’s actually quite easy to prevent.

“Think twice before you speak, because your words and influence will plant the seed of either success or failure in the mind of another.” – Napolean Hill

Are we speaking the same language?

My mum recently left me a note thanking me for looking after her dog. She’d signed it with “LOL.” In my world, this means “laugh out loud,” and in her world it means “lots of love.” My kids tell me things are “sick” when they’re good, and ”manck” when they’re bad (when I say “bad,” I don’t mean good!). It’s amazing that we manage to communicate at all.

When speaking, we tend to color our language with words and phrases that have become personal to us, things we’ve picked up from our friends, families and even memes from the internet. These colloquialisms become normal, and we expect the listener (or reader) to understand “what we mean.” If you really want the listener to understand your meaning, try to use words and phrases that they might use.

Am I being lazy?

When you’ve been in a relationship for a while, a strange metamorphosis takes place. People tend to become lazier in the way that they communicate with each other, with less thought for the feelings of their partner. There’s no malice intended; we just reach a “comfort zone” and know that our partners “know what we mean.”

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Here’s an exchange from Psychology Today to demonstrate what I mean:

Early in the relationship:

“Honey, I don’t want you to take this wrong, but I’m noticing that your hair is getting a little thin on top. I know guys are sensitive about losing their hair, but I don’t want someone else to embarrass you without your expecting it.”

When the relationship is established:

“Did you know that you’re losing a lot of hair on the back of your head? You’re combing it funny and it doesn’t help. Wear a baseball cap or something if you feel weird about it. Lots of guys get thin on top. It’s no big deal.”

It’s pretty clear which of these statements is more empathetic and more likely to be received well. Recognizing when we do this can be tricky, but with a little practice it becomes easy.

Have I actually got anything to say?

When I was a kid, my gran used to say to me that if I didn’t have anything good to say, I shouldn’t say anything at all. My gran couldn’t stand gossip, so this makes total sense, but you can take this statement a little further and modify it: “If you don’t have anything to say, then don’t say anything at all.”

A lot of the time, people speak to fill “uncomfortable silences,” or because they believe that saying something, anything, is better than staying quiet. It can even be a cause of anxiety for some people.

When somebody else is speaking, listen. Don’t wait to speak. Listen. Actually hear what that person is saying, think about it, and respond if necessary.

Am I painting an accurate picture?

One of the most common forms of miscommunication is the lack of a “referential index,” a type of generalization that fails to refer to specific nouns. As an example, look at these two simple phrases: “Can you pass me that?” and “Pass me that thing over there!”. How often have you said something similar?

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How is the listener supposed to know what you mean? The person that you’re talking to will start to fill in the gaps with something that may very well be completely different to what you mean. You’re thinking “pass me the salt,” but you get passed the pepper. This can be infuriating for the listener, and more importantly, can create a lack of understanding and ultimately produce conflict.

Before you speak, try to label people, places and objects in a way that it is easy for any listeners to understand.

What words am I using?

It’s well known that our use of nouns and verbs (or lack of them) gives an insight into where we grew up, our education, our thoughts and our feelings.

Less well known is that the use of pronouns offers a critical insight into how we emotionally code our sentences. James Pennebaker’s research in the 1990’s concluded that function words are important keys to someone’s psychological state and reveal much more than content words do.

Starting a sentence with “I think…” demonstrates self-focus rather than empathy with the speaker, whereas asking the speaker to elaborate or quantify what they’re saying clearly shows that you’re listening and have respect even if you disagree.

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Is the map really the territory?

Before speaking, we sometimes construct a scenario that makes us act in a way that isn’t necessarily reflective of the actual situation.

A while ago, John promised to help me out in a big way with a project that I was working on. After an initial meeting and some big promises, we put together a plan and set off on its execution. A week or so went by, and I tried to get a hold of John to see how things were going. After voice mails and emails with no reply and general silence, I tried again a week later and still got no response.

I was frustrated and started to get more than a bit vexed. The project obviously meant more to me than it did to him, and I started to construct all manner of crazy scenarios. I finally got through to John and immediately started a mild rant about making promises you can’t keep. He stopped me in my tracks with the news that his brother had died. If I’d have just thought before I spoke…

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