Stop Seeking Approval From Other People

Trust in yourself

If you could wave a magic wand and make it disappear, this incessant need to seek out approval from other people, you probably would. If we could just find it in ourselves to trust our own gut and be comfortable within our own skin, wouldn’t that be a prime example of living the best life possible?

The need for validation is something we are all guilty of doing, and sometimes without even realizing it. The pattern started long before you could even walk or talk. Parents teach their babies to mimic them and seek their approval by providing positive feedback for a job well done.

They used clapping, kisses and hugs, smiles and laughs; everything a small brain needs to form an attachment to approval-seeking behavior. Was it wrong? Of course not! But it certainly doesn’t have to control thought-processes as an adult.

Even long into the school years a child is rewarded for good behaviors and achievements. This type of structure laid the groundwork for the desire to fit in, to be part of something bigger than ourselves and to reach for reassurance that we were on the right track.

The downside is the incapability to trust our own judgment without reinforcement. It’s easier said than done, but with some self-awareness and behavior modifications, it’s very possible to break the cycle and learn to stop seeking the approval of others.

Your Life, Your Choices, Your Consequences

If you struggle with seeking the opinion of others before making decisions in your life, you could be headed down a long road of insecurities and failed relationships. These other people aren’t in your shoes.

They aren’t really living your life or dealing with the consequences of your decisions. So really, they are putting their own spin and personal preferences on the advice rendered.
If I were you” type of advice is often times flat out wrong, and sometimes can even be dangerous. You are the only one who can evaluate your situation from all sides and effectively weigh the options.

The problem in cases like this is that we don’t trust our gut enough to stand firm on a decision. It’s also likely we know what we should do, but don’t really want to do it because it’s hard, we are scared or will be faced with a painful aftermath.

Believe in Your Opinion

You didn’t get this far in life without an opinion and the capability to make decisions. So, don’t believe the hype that your opinion isn’t worth anything or not worthy of self-validation.

If your first inclination seems a bit off the beaten path, go for it. No harm, no foul. Don’t short-change yourself by believing you have to be part of a flock to be worthy. You are more than capable of dancing to the beat of your own drum if that’s the direction you choose.

If you find yourself hush-mouthed in meetings at work because you are afraid others will think your idea is stupid, you’re going to love this. First, upper management thrives and builds on new ideas. And creative thinking starts with a single idea that gets shifted, molded and formed into a great idea with teamwork.

And second, you aren’t the top priority of your coworkers. You might think all eyes are on you, ready to pounce at the first sign of vulnerability. The opposite is probably true and you’re giving them the courage to chime in with their own input.

Unrealized Fear is Counter-Productive

If your approval-seeking needs are based out of fear, you’ve already made up your mind. You are telling yourself a future that you simply don’t have the power or fortitude to predict, and it’s usually because you’re afraid of what might happen without relation to the likelihood of it happening.
It’s during these times that you need to ask yourself what you are really afraid of and are you automatically jumping to the worst-case scenario. Because 9 times out of ten, the results are never as bad as we allowed ourselves to imagine.

A healthy dose of fear should be a contributor in the decision-making process, but it shouldn’t have the authority to dictate an outcome. We tend to seek approval from others in just about every area of our lives. It’s entirely too easy to fall down the rabbit hole of self-doubt and feared consequences.

Start with little steps and work your way up to the big stuff. Gain a little bit of confidence in your ability to make good, sound decisions for your own life and then keep going. Like with anything else worth your time, it takes a bit of practice.

But it does get easier. You’ll become stronger emotionally and mentally and in the long-run you’ll thank yourself for taking the initiative to trust yourself.

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Stop Blaming Yourself For Past Mistakes

Stop Blaming Yourself for Past Mistakes

At times we can be so critical of ourselves and the things we’ve done in the past. The feeling of failure is like a heavy, smothering blanket of sorrow and regret. And instead of just “letting it go”, like so many people passively suggest, to get through it, feels like an impossible feat.

We wallow in yesterday’s mistakes and wonder how it’s so easy for others to just move on like nothing ever happened.

First of all, it’s not easy. Not for all of us. Some of us feel things on a different level and allow these emotions to control the days to come. Until we say enough is enough and learn how to effectively get from defeat to perseverance.

Below are a few helpful strategies to do just that!

You Are Not Your Mistakes

A single mistake, or even a series of mistakes, absolutely does not define who you are on the inside. The truth is, you are a collection of everything good and bad that has happened in your life, whether you had a hand in it or not.

The person you are right now has been conditioned by cultural surroundings, how you raised and the events that have transpired from birth to this very moment in time. Your mistakes in the past do not own you and do not deserve the power to control you.

So far, you’re batting a thousand. You’ve survived every single day of your life to this point. Mistakes do not define you. How you handle mistakes plays a bigger part than the mistake itself.

The Learning Curve of Life

We are but a work in progress. Today isn’t the end, and tomorrow probably won’t be either. The best thing we can do for ourselves and our mental health is to celebrate the wins and make room for the losses.

Treat life as a learning curve and give yourself a break. If perfection was even possible, how would one even achieve it without experience? There has to be downs to appreciate the ups, right?

Own It

We can’t just bury our heads in the sand and pretend a mistake didn’t happen. That’s not beneficial for anyone involved in the situation. And as hard as it may be, it’s better to own the mistake and use it as a tool rather than dwell on it or attempt to cover it up.

At work, go ahead and tell the boss man about the error and even ask for input on how to avoid this situation in the future. If there’s damage control to be done, take care of it and face the music. You’ll retain the respect of your boss and likely be admired by coworkers.

The same rule applies to intimate, family and parenting relationships. Accept responsibility and try to move forward as graciously as possible. Thankfully, the people closest to us don’t usually expect perfection and would gladly take sincerity and honesty over deception any day of the week.

Give Yourself the Gift of Forgiveness

To be human is to err. And you’ve undoubtedly been in a situation where someone asked for your forgiveness. Do yourself the biggest favor of all and forgive yourself. Sometimes we fall into the trap of holding ourselves to a higher standard than those around us, and that’s not fair.

It’s perfectly normal to strive for excellence, but perfection is a terrible misconception. Don’t be so hard on yourself. Learn from the experience and keep pushing to avoid making that same mistake again. Be your biggest ally, not your worst enemy.

Be Better Than Yesterday

Never stop investing in yourself. Sometimes we end up in a stagnant state or a standoff with ourselves. After a mistake we have an inner war going on with the person we despise and the person we want to be, the person we know we can be.

Don’t allow this negative thought process to put you in a stale-mate. Find ways to get better. To do better. Never stop learning and striving to attain your goals. Mistakes are going to happen. Failures are inevitable. But perseverance and positivity are much more powerful tools than tucking your tail and running for the hills.

Everybody makes mistakes. It’s part of life. When we learn to pick up the pieces and make something meaningful, something we are proud of, is when we have reached the ultimate level of personal development.

A level that cannot easily be shaken. A level that reframes what once was deemed a critical mistake into a minor setback. It’s all up to you. You and only you determine how much power you allow the past to have in your life and in your future!