ONE MIGHT SAY THAT SEEKING THE APPROVAL OF OTHERS IS A FOOL’S ERRAND. But we actually spend much of our lives – particularly our early life – trying to fit in, which involves seeking approval and acceptance of others. It’s a natural part of the human experience.
Initially we seek to please parents or guardians because we prefer positive responses (vs. scolding), maybe extended family, then assessing the responses of others as we make friends and create friendship groups, and in our places of work with our boss or clients.
We try to ‘fit in’ and connect with others in order to gain a sense of community, or achieve the favourable outcome we desire. This involves – at least to some degree – gaining others’ approval and acceptance.
We would be naïve to think we are not positively informed and impacted by at least some of these experiences. The absorption of others’ reactions – their approval (or lack thereof) – of what we’re doing offers us information that helps guide us, helps us to learn what’s appropriate (and not) in certain circumstances.
Our observations of others’ behaviour and how we experience others responses to our own actions and words – can impact us, often very deeply. They can become ingrained into our psyche, so much so that deep-seated beliefs are created about ‘how things should (or shouldn’t) be done.’
It all contributes to and ever-expanding guidebook, if you will, of how we each approach life.
But some of these beliefs might need to be released or ‘unlearned’ if/when we realize they are not actually serving us but rather hindering us.
It can also be easy to get lost in this practice of seeking others’ validation – caught up in waiting for others’ approval, or fearing that they might not approve of or accept what we’re doing – and adjusting our words and actions so much that we do it at the expense of our own needs and desires and values.
We can lose sight of what we actually feel is the right course of action for ourselves on our own path because we’re so busy trying to please others.
TUNING IN TO OUR INTUITION can help us get back to – or perhaps discover for the first time – the things that are really of value to us deep down, as we let go – at least temporarily – of the swirl of consideration of what others think we ‘should’ or ‘shouldn’t’ do.
~ getting acquainted or reacquainted with what feels right to us, what we value,
~ exploring what’s behind the mental chatter of beliefs and thoughts and worries,
~ releasing the tight grasp on what we think we ‘should’ do or say or believe, what we think others think of us, the struggle of trying to ‘figure it out’ by going over and over facts and figures and concerns,
~ noticing what comes up in a moment of quiet reflection, what that image or message might tell us, how it could inform us, how it can guide us,
~ being open to receiving ideas from others and from that which we see external to ourselves, and allowing ourselves to consider them – without blindly accepting whatever it is – but tuning in to what feels right for us and what gives us peace (vs. what comes with great resistance or discontent),
~ creating an openness to hear, see, and experience ideas, images, scenes, messages, feelings, sensations found beyond the thinking and ruminating, beyond the five senses and in the mind’s eye and the sensations of the body itself.
It’s a process of exploring and trusting and approving of ourselves and our actions and words, and finding the best way forward – not simply because someone else said so or we think we ‘should,’ but because the idea feels right, deep down. It can be an important path toward finding some semblance of inner peace and contentment. ❤
Photo by Tobias Bjørkli, pexels(dot)com