How to stop relying on the approval of others.

I’ll admit that this is something I’m still working on so this might be more for me than for you.


Photo by rawpixel on Unsplash

I sent her a text the other day, freaking out because I was spiraling. I accidentally texted someone on their day off, and I was convinced they now hated me. She simply replied: “Why does his approval matter so much to you?”

The fact of the matter is, it’s not just his approval. It’s every body’s approval–my therapist, my friends, my family, my coworkers, random stranger’s I pass on the street. All of their approval matters to me equally. And it’s exhausting.

It’s exhausting trying to please everybody all the time. It’s exhausting trying to win the approval of everyone, to make everyone not hate you, to be everything to everyone. Eventually, you just burn yourself out; it’s not sustainable. But what is sustainable is exactly the opposite: loving yourself

Be confident in yourself.

I’ll admit that this is a hard one for me. I’m not very confident in myself, not very confident in my abilities, in my talents, in the love and care people have for me. Most days, I pour myself into my work so I don’t have to spend time with myself. I double check all my actions with those closest to me because I’m terrified of making a mistake–not necessarily the consequences of the mistake, but how other people will see me.

I don’t know who I am so I need others to define me.

Be confident in who you are and accepting yourself as you are. (This does not mean to accept the fact that you can never change. This means accepting where you are in the process and working every day to make yourself better.)

Be aware of your actions

Knowing that you are stuck in a feeling of insecurity and doubt is one of the best ways to find your way out of the approval-seeking path. Sometimes I over-depend on others because I’ve been failed by people in the past. When I find the people I can depend on, I latch on, and I never want to disappoint them or make them angry, which is an unreasonable expectation of myself as a human.

I’m afraid that disappointing someone or making them angry means they’re going to leave, and I’ve had people abandon me too many times to be ok with that.

Which brings me to my next point:

Be ok with people leaving

Yes, people leaving sucks and it hurts. But sometimes, people leaving us is the best thing. It teaches us to rely on ourselves, teaches us how to let go, how to be in healthy relationships–not just romantic ones.

People leaving does not mean you have failed as a person. It’s a normal part of life. It may feel like the end of the world right now, but I promise you’ll be ok.

And finally,

Trust yourself

This goes back to my first point, with a twist: Trust your instincts. If something doesn’t sound right, e.x., they hate me, then it probably isn’t right.

Trust yourself that everything is going to be ok. That you will survive hurt and disappointment. That life is going to be ok.

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