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 Over time, you’ll laugh at your past fears and proudly follow your intuition in lieu of sticking to outdated dogmas.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

10 Powerful Ways to Influence People Positively

10 Powerful Ways to Influence People Positively

Most discussions on positively influencing others eventually touch on Dale Carnegie’s seminal work, How to Win Friends and Influence People. Written more than 83 years ago, the book touches on a core component of human interaction, building strong relationships. It is no wonder why.

Everything that we do hinges on our ability to connect with others and formulate deep relationships. You cannot sell a house, buy a house, advance in most careers, sell a product, pitch a story, teach a course, etc. without building healthy relationships. Managers get the best results from their teams, not through brute force, but to careful appeals to their sensibilities, occasional withdrawals from the reservoir of respect they’ve built. Using these tactics, they can influence others to excellence, to productivity, and to success.

Carnegie’s book is great. Of course, there are other resources too. Most of us have someone in our lives who positively influences us. The truth is positively influencing people is about centering the humanity of others. Chances are, you know someone who is really good at making others feel like stars. They can get you to do things that the average person cannot. Where the requests of others sound like fingernails on a chalkboard, the request from this special person sounds like music to your ears. You’re delighted to not only listen but also to oblige.

So how to influence people in a positive way? Read on for tips.

1. Be Authentic

To influence people in a positive way, be authentic. Rather than being a carbon copy of someone else’s version of authenticity, uncover what it is that makes you unique.

Discover your unique take on an issue and then live up to and honor that. Once of the reasons social media influencers are so powerful is that they have carved out a niche for themselves or taken a common issue and approached it from a novel or uncommon way. People instinctually appreciate people whose public persona matches their private values.

Contradictions bother us because we crave stability. When someone professes to be one way, but lives contrary to that profession, it signals that they are confused or untrustworthy and thereby, inauthentic. Neither of these combinations bode well for positively influencing others.

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2. Listen

Growing up, my father would tell me to listen to what others said. He told me if I listened carefully, I would know all I needed to know about a person’s character, desires and needs.

To positively influence others, you must listen to what is spoken and what is left unsaid. Therein lies the explanation for what people need in order to feel validated, supported and seen. If a person feels they are invisible, and unseen by their superiors, they are less likely to be positively influenced by that person.

Listening meets a person’s primary need of validation and acceptance.

Take a look at this guide on how to be a better listener: How to Practice Active Listening (A Step-By-Step Guide)

3. Become an Expert

Most people are predisposed to listen to, if not respect, authority. If you want to positively influence others, become an authority in the area in which you seek to lead others. Research and read everything you can about the given topic, and then look for opportunities to put your education into practice.

You can argue over opinions. You cannot argue, or it is unwise to argue, over facts and experts come with facts.

4. Lead with Story

From years of working in the public relations space, I know that personal narratives, testimonials and impact stories are incredibly powerful. But I never cease to be amazed with how effective a well-timed and told story can be.

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If you want to influence people, learn to tell stories. Your stories should be related to the issue or concept you are discussing. They should be an analogy or metaphor that explains your topic in ordinary terms and in vivid detail. To learn more about how to tell powerful stories, and the ethics of storytelling, take a look at this article: How To Tell An Interesting Story In 4 Simple Steps

5. Lead by Example

It is incredibly inspiring to watch passionate, talented people at work or play. One of the reasons a person who is not an athlete can be in awe of athletic prowess is because human nature appreciates the extraordinary. When we watch the Olympics, Olympic trials, gymnastic competitions, ice skating, and other competitive sports, we can recognize the effort of people who day in and day out give their all. C

ase in point: Simone Biles. The gymnast extraordinaire won her 6TH all-around title at the U.S. Gymnastics Championships after doing a triple double. She was the first woman to do so. Watching her gave me chills. Even non-gymnasts and non-competitive athletes can appreciate the talent required to pull off such a remarkable feat.

We celebrate remarkable accomplishments and believe that their example is proof that we too can accomplish something great, even if it isn’t qualifying for the Olympics. To influence people in a positive way, we must lead by example, lead with intention and execute with excellence.

6. Catch People Doing Good

A powerful way to influence people in a positive way is to catch people doing good. Instead of looking for problems, look for successes. Look for often overlooked, but critically important things that your peers, subordinates and managers do that make the work more effective and more enjoyable.

Once you catch people doing good, name and notice their contributions.

7. Be Effusive with Praise

It did not take me long to notice a remarkable trait of a former boss. He not only began and ended meetings with praise, but he peppered praise throughout the entire meeting. He found a way to celebrate the unique attributes and skills of his team members. He was able to quickly and accurately assess what people were doing well and then let them and their colleagues know.

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Meetings were not just an occasion to go through a “To Do” list, they were opportunities to celebrate accomplishments, no matter how small they are.

8. Be Kind Rather Than Right

I am going to level with you; this one is tough. It is easy to get caught up in a cycle of proving oneself. For people who lack confidence, or people who prioritize the opinions of others, being right is important. The validation that comes with being perceived as “right” feeds one’s ego. But in the quest to be “right,” we can hurt other people. Once we’ve hurt someone by being unkind, it is much harder to get them to listen to what we’re trying to influence them to do.

The antidote to influencing others via bullying is to prioritize kindness above rightness. You can be kind and still stand firm in your position. For instance, many people think that they need others to validate their experience. If a person does not see the situation you experienced in the way you see it, you get upset. But your experience is your experience.

If you and your friends go out to eat and you get food poisoning, you do not need your friends to agree that the food served at the restaurant was problematic for you. Your own experience of getting food poisoning is all the validation you need. Therefore, taking time to be right is essentially wasted and, if you were unkind in seeking validation for your food-poison experience, now you’ve really lost points.

9. Understand a Person’s Logical, Emotional and Cooperative Needs

The Center for Creative Leadership has argued that the best way to influence others is to appeal to their logical, emotional and cooperative needs. Their logical need is their rational and educational need. Their emotional need is the information that touches them in a deeply personal manner. The cooperative need is understanding the level of cooperation various individuals need and then appropriately offering it.

The trick with this system is to understand that different people need different things. For some people, a strong emotional appeal will outweigh logical explanations. For others, having an opportunity to collaborate will override emotional connection.

If you know your audience, you will know what they need in order to be positively influenced. If you have limited information about the people whom you are attempting to influence, you will be ineffective.

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10. Understand Your Lane

If you want to positively influence others, operate from your sphere of influence. Operate from your place of expertise. Leave everything else to others. Gone are the days when being a jack of all trades is celebrated.

Most people appreciate brands that understand their target audience and then deliver on what that audience wants. When you focus on what you are uniquely gifted and qualified to do, and then offer that gift to the people who need it, you are likely more effective. This effectiveness is attractive.

You cannot positively influence others if you are more preoccupied by what others do well versus what you do well.

Final Thoughts

Influencing people is about centering your humanity. If you want to influence others positively, focus on the way you communicate and improve the relationship with yourself first.

It’s hard to influence others if you’re still trying to figure out how to communicate with yourself.

More Tips About Making Influence

Featured photo credit: Wonderlane via unsplash.com

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