|Posted on January 10, 2015 at 7:00 AM|
“People who want the most approval get the least and people who need approval the least get the most.” Wayne Dyer
For many a year I did and said what I thought others wanted of me, expected of me, sacrificing my own happiness to ensure I was pleasing them. It took many years for me to learn that this was not the way to succeed in life. From childhood, most of us learned that it could be advantageous to make others happy. Most children want the approval of their parents, teachers, and peers. We tend to carry that same tendency into adulthood. While it’s natural to seek the approval of others, sometimes we find it really may not be for the best.
Being a strong and free person includes the ability to move freely through the world without excessive concern about the opinions of others. Think about the people you respect the most. Do they allow the opinions of others to dictate their decisions? I’m sure you’ll find that they do not. I’m here to tell you that you too can live the same way.
Follow these tips to live life on your terms:
1. Learn to say what you think. If you’re concerned about the opinions of others, you’ve probably developed a bad habit of keeping your opinion to yourself.
• Start giving your opinion on smaller issues. For example, if you’re asked what movie you’d like to see, give a specific answer.
• As your comfort level improves, you will find that you will be able to speak up about more important issues.
2. Take the time to appreciate yourself. Keep a few minutes each day to remind yourself of all the things you like about yourself. Think about all the good things you do each day. List your positive characteristics.
• When you approve of yourself, you’ll be less likely to need approval from others.
3. Remind yourself that it’s impossible to make everyone happy. There are a wide variety of people in the world. So no matter what you do, there will always be someone who doesn’t like you. Interestingly, those that try to please everyone tend to be less respected. Others admire confident people, and confident people march to the beat of their own drum.
4. There’s more gray area than you think. Many people that desperately seek the approval of others believe that perfection is the only thing that pleases others. You’re not going to be condemned (or considered a saint) for everyday words and actions.
• Even the best people occasionally do or say things that most would consider to be negative. Others understand that no one is perfect all of
the time. Do you judge people harshly over minor issues?
5. Avoid reacting to disapproval in a way that encourages the criticizer. Many people use disapproval as a way to control others. When you apologize unnecessarily or change your opinion in reaction to disapproval, you might be simply rewarding that other person.
• If you feel that another person is being unreasonable, consider confronting them in a calm, reasonable manner. You’ll likely find that the
criticizer’s tendency to disapprove will stop when it fails to affect your choices. The disapproval you’re showing is fair under the
circumstance. For once, disapproval will work for you instead of against you!
6. Before taking an action, ask yourself if you’re primarily doing it to receive approval. Try to eliminate activities and choices from your life that are driven by the need to have others think highly of you.
• Do a few things each week that you enjoy, even if they’re not going to impress anyone. It gets easier with time.
We all seek the approval of others from time to time. But allowing that need to control your thoughts and behavior makes life less enjoyable and more challenging.
The first step to changing approval-seeking thoughts and behavior is recognizing them as they occur. With a little work, you’ll find that the disapproval you’ve been avoiding has much less impact than you thought! It’s simply not a big deal. Free yourself from needing the approval of others. You’ll be glad you did!
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Peace, Happiness and Light to you!
Your Life Coach