I wouldn't have compromised so much
so much of myself for fear of
having you hating me ...
I became self-conscious
of anything exuberant
I wouldn't have sold myself short
I wouldn't have kept my eyes
glued to the ground
if I had've known my invisibility
would not make a difference
I would've run around screaming proudly
at the top of my voice
I wouldn't have feigned needlessness
I would not have discredited
every one of their compliments
it was your approval I wanted
~ Alanis Morissette ~ Your Approval ~
We spend a great deal of time seeking approval ... from our parents, spouses, children, co-workers and even neighbours. The approval seeking business, which takes a whole lot of effort and may not give you the approval you want.
Seeking approval of others and listening to the opinions that don’t resonate with you is detrimental to your happiness. Why? because when we ignore our own intuition and instead choose to act on the advice of other people, we never find our true calling.
Simple in theory yet difficult to practice ... I have struggled with this for my whole life yet I know I am in good company and not alone in this battle.
Hmmm ... where does it all begin? Well, we are taught to seek approval. And it really starts from childhood. If we behave well, our parents are happy with us. If we do what the teacher tells us to, we get good grades. If we work hard, our boss is happy with us. Everything seems to be based on the obedience model.
So when there is no defined model to follow, we start seeking approval to “check in” and see if we “measure up”. We ask ourselves if we are we doing okay? if we are we on track? if we fit in? if we are accepted? ...
Yet are we not really asking if we are good enough?
Approval is the acceptance as satisfactory. The act of giving validity as we seek approval to satisfy OUR desire to be loved. We crave the feeling of appreciation in hopes to tell ourselves “I did something and they are pleased”.
Yet what I have realized is that acknowledgement is different from approval. Where seeking approval can paralyze your life because you become dependent on others to tell you whether you are doing the right thing at the right time, acknowledgement does not change who you are nor your spirit.
Asking yourself the following questions can put things into perspective:
- Do I know what I know now because someone gave me the knowledge or his approval?
- Why would I seek another’s approval when he/she is on a path of life that may not be the same as my own?
I have noticed that the more unique you are, the more disapproval you will you receive. And even if people wish you the best, they don’t know you to the degree that they would be able to advise you of which direction to take. Blindly following others will never make you happy.
The soul never seeks approval, only man
Remember the people who criticize you are probably the most inhibited, sad souls that fear to express themselves. Hence, if you do what feels right to you, you will reveal YOUR true expression.
Trust your inner guidance
By releasing yourself from the approval-seeking mode, you hold no one but your authentic self responsible. So instead of relinquishing personal responsibility to others, own your life.