Seeking Approval From Others
Updated: Dec 2, 2019
"Care about what other people think, and you will always be their prisoner."
- Lao Tzu
When we base our lives around the approval of what others think of us, we lose our authentic selves. We are no longer living for ourselves but living for others. This action is not who we indeed are. Therefore we are fake, just a player in another's world. We put on the costume of the person others want us to be, instead of standing in our shoes just as we are. Not being true to yourself will bring down your hopes and aspirations. Your authentic self will slowly begin to disappear until one day you will not even know who you are. Seeking approval from others is a losing battle. A battle in which you lose the life meant for you and no one else.
We have all been in a time in our life when we feel that what others think of us is far more critical than what we think of ourselves. This is true especially when we are in our teen and early twenties. During this time is when we rely heavily on our parents' approval of our decisions and our peers' acceptance of us. We haven't had enough years of knowing who we are and not yet confident in our ability to fully embrace our true identity. It makes sense; after all, we are raised as children to behave in a way that is pleasing to adults. In our adolescents, we will morph our personalities, clothes and looks to fit in with the crowd. As we become adults, we must recognize who our authentic self is an honor that, and live the life we want for ourselves. Otherwise, we will end up unsatisfied, unfulfilled and depressed, because there is no joy in living for someone else. It does not fill our spirit, but instead, it is draining on our soul.
Our golden cage made of other peoples' expectations of us can be comfortable. It is safe, not too risky, and we fit in our social crowd. Plus, we don't have to put very much thought into what we want out of life. We move along the path that has been created for us. However, as comfortable the golden cage is, it is still a cage. Getting free of the confinements of the enclosure can be frightening and overwhelming. Standing on the edge of the cliff of life, with all of the many unknowns in front of you is scary. The choice is yours to make. Will you stay a prisoner of the approval of others or will you be free and live your life on your terms?
It is time to take control of your life and start living for yourself. It is time to ask yourself, "Who am I living for, myself or other people? What life do I want to have? Who do I want to be? What is important to me? If the people I'm seeking approval from didn't exist would my life choices be the same?" Identify, the person, experiences, and life you envision for yourself. Visualize yourself in 5, 10, 15 years and write down in detail what the future you looks like, what career does the future you have, where does the future you live and is the future you happy and satisfied in your life?
This is your one and only life. Don't waste it by living a life someone wants for you. Live this life for you.