We live in a world that puts a lot of emphasis on approval. Approval is needed down to what belt we wear on our jeans and what color our fingernails are. It seems so silly that we go to such great lengths to feel validated as individuals, but, unfortunately, this is the reality that we call life.
I never like to write something and not include myself when I am talking about human behavior, but in this particular instance, I fall on the total other end of the spectrum. I really don’t like it when someone gives me approval. For example, I get a little annoyed when someone “approves” of a meal I made for them – as if I gave it to them so they can tell me their opinion of it. I also get slightly annoyed when I get dressed up, which I don’t usually do, and anyone tells me I look nice – without me asking. Are they thinking that I needed their compliment in order to feel good about myself?
I am never verbal about these thoughts, but, I do have them. I don’t say them out loud because I understand that I am a little paranoid that others think I need their approval – and that in itself indicates that I am not the most self confidant….but I am trying to improve.
In order to help improve my judgmental attitude here, I first have to fully understand the need to be approved by anyone other than ourselves. The main reason that I come up with is there is no other way to measure how good (or how bad) we are without a basis of comparison. Approval means that someone else is comparing us to something (who knows what) and they have decided that we meet the qualifications that result in approval.
In my experience, I don’t like to compare myself to others because I consider my purpose to be unique (as is everyone’s) and I automatically assume (which makes an ass out of you and me) that those that give me approval don’t understand that I am a unique individual with a unique purpose and that I don’t need to be approved of. I assume that they think I am like the majority, searching for approval just to elevate myself. It doesn’t immediately occur to me that they are just simply being polite.
My point is, anytime we allow what others say or don’t say to affect our self esteem, we lose the opportunity to free ourselves from the judgments and criticism of others – that, like in my case, may not even be judgments and criticism. To automatically assume that we are being judged and then to think that it is alright to be judged and to judge in return, puts too much emphasis on others and not enough on who we really are as individuals and what our unique purpose is and, accordingly, prevents us from aspiring towards it.
So next time, before you ask someone how you look…take a deep breath and think about the special qualities that you have that no one you know has and then decide yourself how you look. You might be surprised that if you let those special qualities shine through, you will see a different you and you might even like what you see – without needing to be approved of!!
Other posts you might like: