We all want to be liked, but changing who you are just to be liked means you’re not actually liked for who you are. It is rather exhausting trying to be everything to everyone. More than anything else, it is unsustainable. Eventually the psyche just collapses in on itself, pressured by the weight of trying to figure out who other people want you to be. To be truly happy, you must honour the true essence of your being. But all too often, finding this truth is profoundly complicated. Whether you are trying to get hundreds of likes on your social media platforms or just hoping to connect with someone, sometimes it can seem like our happiness depends on other people in today’s society. But there are ways to stop seeking the approval of others. The key is to begin with addressing your own thought process.
Inspiration with Cynthia C Hakutangwi
Why do we seek validation and approval?
As much as you might love to say that you’re open-minded, it’s difficult to hear out people that have contrary opinions. It is natural to want to be around people with similar tastes that agree with you. You want to have fulfilling relationships and feel loved by friends and family. As per Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, esteem and love/belonging are an essential component of human motivation. We share photos and update statuses in the hope of getting approved by our social media friends. When the validating comments flow in we feel happy.
The pitfalls of consistently seeking validation and approval
The first step to stop consistently seeking the approval of others is to become aware that we are stuck on doubt, insecurity, or uncertainty. We must recognise that our actions (of seeking approval) come from the emotions and beliefs that arise within us. Once you become aware of how often you’re seeking approval from others, you can begin to work on yourself from within.
Think of how many other things you could be doing besides arguing with people about your plans and trying to get them to see through your eyes? Honestly, some people may never understand you or even try to see things your way. Asking others for approval adds a superfluous step to making a decision. Not everyone will agree with you all the time. Maybe no one will agree with your plan besides you, and that’s not always a problem. This is not to say that you should not consult or seek guidance and mentoring where it is required, but being a people-pleaser usually makes everyone happy except you.
You need to realise that you are a critical part of the equation of your life. Everything stems from you — the quality of your relationships, your thoughts about life, what career you choose, etc. If you make major life decisions with everyone but you in mind, you will never find true happiness.
Not only does approval-seeking waste time, but it wastes energy as well. If you want to use energy in the most efficient ways, cut out unnecessary actions. If you want to keep the fire alive and truly transform your life, you will need to dismiss the need to gain outside approval for your decisions.
Consistent approval seeking can discourage you from following your heart. If something truly and deeply resonates with you, you will never know unless you try, and you will forever wonder where life would’ve gone, had you only listened to that inner calling.
Overly seeking approval and validation promotes fear. When you seek approval from others, you begin to form expectations of what they will say. You start to think of how the conversation will go if they don’t agree with you, and you become anxious of their response. Fear only holds you back, but love will set you free. If you truly love yourself and feel assured with your life, you won’t even think twice about giving up the need for acceptance. We have been conditioned to be afraid of many things — other people, their opinions of us, trying new things, listening to new ideas, and much more.
Are you well-connected with your essential self?
The relationship you have with yourself is extremely important. If you take time to connect with your essential self, you will better understand who you are and what you want out of life. Take some time to tune into you, to block out the voices from everyone else attempting to control your life and listen to your inner voice. Rather than seeking approval from external influences, try to find true happiness by developing a more stable relationship within yourself.
Who is in control?
People who lead significantly successful lives use creative strategies to reach their goals. Mentors, coaches and accountability partners are great resources on this journey to a significant life. They are there to assist you to unleash the best version of yourself, not to dictate the path you should take. It is difficult to build genuine friendships, a full life and a healthy self-image if you’re always trying to please everybody. Next time you have the urge to get permission from someone to follow through with a plan, remind yourself that you are the one in control. Take time to listen to your heart and follow your inner spiritual compass, vision, goals, values and passion. Others are often unsure about their own life path, much less yours.
Cynthia Chirinda Hakutangwi is an organisational and personal development consultant, life coach, author and strategist. Her two new additions to the Connection Factor Collection The Connection Factor for Leaders and The Connection Factor for Women speak to matters that position organisational leaders and women respectively, to achieve greater levels of success through their strategic connections. Looking at improving your career, personal effectiveness, communication skills, relationships, focus, faith and happiness? Wholeness Incorporated Coaching offers you strategies you can implement today to review your progress and achieve your goals. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. LinkedIn: Cynthia Chirinda Hakutangwi. Mobile: +263 717 013 206. Website: www.cynthiac.net