6 Ways to Stop Seeking Approval From Other People
The need for approval can be traced back to ancient times. Our ancestors lived in communities and if someone was expelled, it would be incredibly difficult to survive alone, as the conditions were rough. That’s when we developed the habit of seeking approval. Although this behavior is natural to us, it still worsens our lives.
Bright Side wants to give you a helping hand if you’re fed up with constant people-pleasing.
1. Take a break from social media.
Posting on social media is a way of self-validation. Every post is aimed at drawing attention and has no practical value. It takes so much time to find the perfect angle, pose, and light. In any case, social media turns you into someone who craves approval from strangers.
An approval-seeking person with low self-esteem might only post staged photos taken by a professional photographer. They dress up to the nines, apply thousands of filters, and thoroughly choose their outfit just to post a photo with the caption: “I’m home, so bored.”
Besides, social media also forces us to give away our privacy for the sake of likes. Cut yourself off from social media at least for a little while. This way you’ll be able to understand what you really need and how you want to live your life. Enjoy the moments you spend with your nearest and dearest without the need to prove something.
2. Don’t compare yourself to others.
This is the biggest trap we’ve all fallen into at least once. According to the social comparison theory, humans are prone to comparing, always seeking the better. This explains why we evolved in the first place. It’s healthy when comparison happens rarely, however, if this is the only thing your mind is occupied with, then there’s a problem.
We lose ourselves when we start comparing our achievements to others. Once you are caught in the vicious cycle, you feel depressed and worthless. All your happy moments are not that great anymore and everything you’ve achieved is minimized. The best way to stop comparing yourself to others is to find the thing you’re so insecure about.
Once it’s been identified, you’re ready to work on it.
3. Do things with diligence and fervor.
In the previous point, we learned that comparison can set off a self-improvement journey. Now it’s time to work hard to feel your best. The more idle time you have, the more niggling thoughts and unimportant matters enter your life. It’s so easy to start caring about what others think about you when you have nothing better to do.
Focus on things that you adore, whether it be cooking or playing the guitar. Hard and fruitful work boosts your self-esteem and eliminates the need to seek approval. Work gives you that meaning you might be looking for on social media.
4. Make decisions by yourself.
If you are the one who always seeks approval you’re probably tempted to put the opinions of others first. However, you should understand that most people aren’t even sure about their own lives let alone yours.
It also might seem like a wrong decision will ruin your relationships, so you give others the power to decide for you. This people-pleasing is especially common in teenagers.
Your friends or family may be wonderful people but they still don’t know your life as well as you do. So next time you’re about to ask someone for their opinion, try to listen to your heart and mind first. Otherwise, a trail of disappointment will always be present in your life.
5. Accept rejection.
One of the reasons we seek approval is the fear of rejection. That’s why you always make excuses for other people’s unacceptable behavior. You know that in order to be loved and accepted, you always have to adhere to certain expectations. Once you stop doing that, you are deprived of this love and you end up feeling miserable.
The best thing you can do here is to realize that it’s impossible to please everyone. Sounds simple, yet so many people can’t get their heads around it. Start with a few small things first. For example, refuse to go somewhere if you don’t want to and suggest a different place.
It’ll be hard at first, but practice makes perfect.
6. Play a ’what-if’ game.
Things are often way scarier in our minds than in reality. That said, use all your imagination and think of the worst-case scenario possible.
“What if she dumps me?” — “I’ll be alone” — “What if I’m all alone?” — “I’ll be heartbroken” — “What if I get heartbroken” — “Well, I’ll keep on living but without her.”
The worst things we imagine usually never even happen. It’s the so-called protective mechanism we all have. So give this game a try when you’re feeling unsure and see what happens.
Are you trying to seek someone’s approval? If not, how do you manage to avoid needing it?