As Confucius once said, “What the superior man seeks is in himself; what the small man seeks is in others”. This quote just means that whatever approval or validation you seek is in you. Many years ago, I used to live on the approval and acceptance of others; I was beautiful when someone said so, I was brilliant when someone said so, I was slim, fat, short, tall when someone told me so.
That was how I lived my life and it was a hard life.
As the years went by, I started to realize that the more desperate I was for approval and validation, the more I didn’t get it; and the less approval that I got, the more desperate I became. It was a vicious cycle that I was stuck in until it all came crashing down and one day I decided to choose and approve of myself no matter what.
“What do you mean I have to wait for someone’s approval? I’m someone. I approve. So I give myself permission to move forward with my full support!” Richelle E. Goodrich
There is absolutely nothing wrong with gaining validation and acceptance from others; we are creatures of love. How can you love something/someone without validating and accepting it to some degree? The problem only comes when we cannot feel good about who we are without the validation of others.
It’s okay to care what your closest friends/family think of you especially when it is in a loving way and it has to do with your relationship with that friend/family member becoming better but when you cannot find happiness until they reassure you of their validation for you every single day, then that is not healthy.
There is a special kind of relief and freedom in the ability to make decisions without NEEDING the approval of others; Emphasis on need. I say that because, in all honesty, it is a great feeling to gain the approval of the people we care about especially when it comes to some pivotal decisions in our lives but what are you going to do when no one supports you? Not move forward? No… you must bolt on with or without their support.
Most of the people in the world who have done game-changing things often went ahead with the disapproval of many.
So, what do you do when you are in desperate need of constant validation and approval from others?
Pause and Breathe
This is one of the best and often most underestimated things to do in a stressful and emotional period. Instead of making a decision right away to try to fix things and make yourself feel better. Sit down, pause, and breathe. You just told your father that you are going to quit your awesome bank job to pursue a career in acting, he disapproves and you are not happy about it; before you say or do anything, pause and breathe as deep as you can. Fill your lungs with oxygen and exhale. It will help you relax and release most of that negative emotion.
One of the worst things to do in life is to do or say something from a place of hurt or negativity; most often than not, you will regret what you’ve done or said. So, get yourself to a place of calmness first and foremost.
Have you ever heard that the more you beg for love the less of it you will get? It pretty much applies to almost every other thing. The more you beg for someone’s approval, the less of it you will get and that makes you want to beg even more and then you get even less of it and the cycle begins.
We all have our tactics or should I say schemes that we use to make someone approve of us, whether it is to pretend to like what we don’t like or lie about who we are or even change our minds about doing the things that will make us eternally happy; whether consciously or unconsciously, these are all things we do in order to gain approval/validation. While these tactics may give us the approval we so desire, we end up paying a huge price for it… the price of ourselves, our identity… because we lose the freedom to be who we were created to be.
When you are in that spot where you are in desperate need of validation from others, the best thing to do is to throw out your list of tactics and schemes. I am basically saying that the best thing to do is to not try to get the approval you so desperately need.
This will be very difficult and your mind, which is used to coming up with things to do to get that approval will not oblige immediately; it will protest and come up with the things you can do to get that validation. Your emotions will go haywire and you will feel like you are going to die if you do not get that validation but you want to know something? You will not die.
You must distract yourself with work or anything possible and tell yourself that your approval is the only one that you need and since you have your approval; you are good.
Repeat this to yourself as much as you can “I CHOOSE AND APPROVE MYSELF”
The truth is that the times we find ourselves in desperate need of the validation and approval of others are the times when we are the least confident in ourselves and that sucks but you want to know the funny thing? The validation and approval we need does come, but it comes when we do not need it anymore. Funny right?
Like I said before, it is healthy to want the validation and approval of those closest to us but when our existence and lifeline depend on their stamp of approval then we are in dangerous waters. Approval shouldn’t be something that we need, it is something we should want to a healthy degree but wanting it doesn’t mean that we will always get it. Therefore we must come to a place where we are fine whether we get it or not.