This is a guest post by Prudence Sinclair.
I wanted to talk to you today about how most people need other people’s approval, and how that robs us of an authentic life.
When we’re toddlers, we are completely enamored with the world around us. We love everyone and everything. A 4 year-old sees another 4-year old as an instant friend, someone to love and play with. We have amazing dreams of what we are going to achieve in our lifetime. It’s a magical time.
And then we get older, eventually puberty hits, and all of a sudden, we stop playing and loving and start comparing ourselves to everyone else. We start seeking the approval of everyone, our parents (well, not ALL of us!), teachers and most especially our peers.
Sadly, most of us never really outgrow this need for other people’s approval. It becomes a grim habit and one that shapes our everyday lives and self-perception. And beyond that, it’s utterly exhausting, because no matter how hard you try, you’ll never be able to be everything to everyone.
The good news is, like other habits, seeking approval is one that can be broken. Real confidence is knowing your self-worth without anyone else’s approval being involved.
Here are some tips to help you stop seeking other people’s approval in the new year:
I think we all need to pay attention to these tips especially with this chaotic confusing world we live in today.
Know Your Own Self-Worth
I know, easier said than done, but this is really the first and most important step to no longer needing the approval of others. Self-worth is recognizing that you are valuable and worthy of love simply because you exist. People with low self-esteems tend to seek approval from others because that voice in their head is always telling them they’re not good enough.
Start paying attention to this voice. When it speaks, respond by saying, “I am worthy of love, kindness and respect.” Say it each and every time and eventually, your subconscious will begin fully believing this.
Learn to Accept Yourself For Who You Are
Having a healthy self-worth doesn’t mean that you suddenly think you are perfect and better than others. It simply means that you accept yourself warts and all. When we accept who we are, truly and fully, the need for others to accept us diminishes. In other words, we tend to seek outside approval when our inside approval is dismally low.
Think of all of the people in your life that you love and care about. How do you treat them? Do you speak kindly to them and about them? Do you do things for them you know they will appreciate? If they needed help, would you hesitate to offer it?
You must start to treat yourself in the same manner. Start to speak kindly to yourself and about yourself. Show yourrself love through acts of kindness. Treat yourself well. Put your needs first more often (FAR more often). Practice self-care and self-compassion. When you can do these things on a regular basis, you realize you are enough and the need for others’ approval evaporates.
Stop Comparing Yourself To Others
Try to be the 4-year-old version of you once again and not compare yourself to others. Enjoy yourrself and enjoy others, but don’t make comparisons. We are all beautiful unique creatures. There can never and WILL never be another you!! You have been created by God for a unique purpose. Spend more of your time meditating on what this unique purpose is instead of what everyone else around you is doing.
We look for others to tell us what we should be, think, do, say, need, want etc.. when we don’t trust our own instinct or our own thoughts and feelings. What happened in your earlier life that made you stop trusting yourself and listening to everyone else’s opinion? Try and think of this past experience so you can undertstand why this happens, and then LET IT GO.
Here is how to start trusting yourself: start asking “Is this true?” Let the truth be the only guiding force in your life. God is truth and God is beauty. When you have a thought, feeling, need, desire etc. ask yourself, “Is this true?” Remember that gut feeling we discussed the other week? What does your gut tell you? If it is truth, then trust it.
When you stop seeking other people’s approval, your life can really BEGIN! You’ll have much more energy and mental bandwidth to invest into other things that really matter, like finding your joy and passion and making true connections with others. Life becomes far more beautiful when we become enough in our own eyes.
You are so worthy of this powerful change!