Why is the approval of others so important in our culture? How come people put up with so much with the hope of being accepted by others? Is this the work of the ego that always wants to be in charge? Is it the conditioning we receive that makes us fear being ignored or left out? Are the forces of social acceptance so powerful that we can ignore what we know is best for us? Do we link being a good person with receiving the approval of others? Isn’t the whole fashion industry and advertising built on approval seeking?
When I was younger I did lots in the pursuit of approval. I was a good kid. I never got into trouble. I did what I was told. I was well behaved in school. I went to church as I was told to do. I always tried to be a nice guy. Is any of this familiar to you?
When I got older and began to question things, ideas, beliefs etc, I still hung on to doing what would get me positive strokes and acceptance. Then along the way I became aware of this approval seeking aspect of myself and felt it was too strong a force in my life. Once I shined the light of consciousness on this aspect of self, I was able to shrink its importance. I did this simply by acknowledging this need for acceptance existed with in me and watching it without judging myself. With impartial observation and self-acceptance the need for approval became much less important. When I accept myself, I have much less need for the acceptance of others.
If we live for approval, our life can look like this:
We say yes when we mean no and ignore what is right for us.
We live in denial of aspects of who we are because we know the living our truth may be judged by others
We compromise ourselves to the point of much self-judging
We put up with things because we don’t want to be seen as difficult or a trouble maker
We live lives that don’t work for us because we think we should
We worry about looking good in all we do
We make decisions about our life according to what others would want not because it is what we want
We avoid stepping into our power because we fear others will not be ok with who we are
We build resentments towards others because we never can live up to their expectations
Living for the approval of others is mostly a no-win situation. Find our own way; living according to what is right for us; and have self-approval is the best way to find happiness.