Seeking approval from others is a deep need for many. From the time we are children, we are constantly looking up to our parents, elders, teachers, role models and friends to be accepted and in alignment with others and the world around us. As a result, it creates an internal belief system that we must take on other’s opinions and feelings about ourselves rather than formulate, learn about and listen to our own inner guidance system.
For the past year I have had the pleasure and opportunity to write for Collective Evolution’s magazine and online portion of their web site. I have always had a dream of sharing my thoughts openly, honestly and publicly to assist and help to further instigate change in people’s lives with my writing. While I have gathered plenty of positive feedback from my sharing over the past year, I hadn’t been as well prepared for some of the negative backlash from reader’s who took offense or didn’t quite agree with my opinions and narrative in quite the same way. Consciously I understood that not everyone would agree with the things I’d have to say, but subconsciously it affected me and prompted me to stop writing for the site because it was open to a larger audience and to more criticism. I blamed my lack of submissions on being busy and experiencing writer’s block; but to be completely transparent, I developed a fear of being rejected and not being approved of by those who read my work. I developed a belief that if everyone didn’t enjoy my writing then perhaps I shouldn’t write anymore. I actively avoided rejection and further criticism in order to feel safe and protected from the outside world. As a result, I put my love of writing for the website on hold because I feared other people’s opinions.
Several months later, I felt a sense of urgency to come to terms with my fears around rejection and the need to be approved of by others. I had to put an end to this belief system that was stopping me from writing and getting my messages out into the world. I overcame this so that I could once again feel empowered enough to assist humanity through my writing.
So how do I do it? Let me indulge you around this very common belief system and fear.
Seeking approval from others is a deep need for many. From the time we are children, we are constantly looking up to our parents, elders, teachers, role models and friends to be accepted and in alignment with others and the world around us. As a result, it creates an internal belief system that we must take on other’s opinions and feelings about ourselves rather than formulate, learn about and listen to our own inner guidance system. In adulthood we constantly turn to the outside world for feedback looking for validation that we are acceptable, loveable and are on the right track in order to feel that we fit in and are good enough. This leads to dissatisfaction and discord from our true self and from whom we really are. Often we give up on our dreams and our goals because we fear judgment by others. This is how we, “play it safe,” in life or remain in a state of status quo by not pushing ourselves to move outside of our comfort zone because we don’t know how other people around us will react.
Although these fears are valid and we all have a basic desire to be accepted and loved, as a result we may pursue other people’s unfulfilled dreams and end up measuring our self-worth and success on societal, social and collective beliefs and paradigms. How many of us have enrolled in educational programs or followed career paths because a family member told us to do so? How many times have we betrayed our heart’s true desires to follow the pack just so we belong or aren’t considered the “outsider?” It is in our human nature to want to be a part of a community and to feel a sense of belonging. But when that basic human need begins to sabotage and override our purpose, our spiritual path and our heart; we have a much bigger problem. We begin to paralyze ourselves from growing and evolving into the human beings we are meant to be!
How can you put an end to this and get on with YOUR life?
- Get to know who YOU are. Dive into your being by embarking on a quest to know who you are by establishing your core values, getting clear on your basic needs and wants in life. By knowing these things about yourself you will have less fear from separating from the pack and following your bliss. You will also be able to distinguish if you are living by other people’s desires instead of your own.
- Ask yourself, “Why are other people’s opinions of me so important?” “Why do I seek the approval of others?” When you can answer these questions you will have a much better idea of the attachment you have to these beliefs. It will become easier to let go of the fear associated to living by other’s opinions and judgments of you because you will get to the root of why it is there.
This belief actually doesn’t have anything to do with anyone’s opinions or judgments, but from a fear that you will not be accepted or loved by others if what you do is unaligned with those around you. Acceptance and love first start with you, not with the outside world. If you are looking to be valued and validated by the outside world first, you will end up suffering immensely in life.
- Play the, “what if,” game. “What if….I don’t do what my parent’s want me to do with my life??” “What if my choices and ideas about my life are different than those around me?” When you play out the worst case scenarios, it doesn’t seem so scary anymore to venture off on your own path and to start living out your own dreams and goals. Most of the time the worst case scenario doesn’t actually play out in the end, but if it does you’re already somewhat prepared for a possible outcome and how to handle it.
- Let go of those who don’t support or accept you for who you are. Although this is probably one of the toughest and most challenging choices to make it can be the wisest and the healthiest. You are here to live an authentic life that is yours, not simply live to abide by and please others. Sometimes we have to release unsupportive and toxic relationships in order to get on with our lives.
- Affirming that you do deserve to be happy and to have a life that is in purpose and full of passion and zest is key. This is YOUR life and no one else’s. Find ways to self-talk in a positive and loving manner to reprogram your mind chatter from that of fear and limitation to one of love and joy.
- Remind yourself that no matter what choices or decisions you make or don’t make, no matter what your dreams and goals are there will always be differing points of view and opinions of them. The most important thing is how you feel about yourself and your choices. Do they feel good? Are your decisions congruent in mind-body and soul? Are you feeling fulfilled? Are you living a life that is full of joy and ease? Are you accepting and approving of yourself? Remember in the end this is YOUR life and no one else’s to live. Your path and journey may very well differentiate to what other’s think it should be and that’s O-K. Get on with your life and start living it!
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