Acceptance, everyone needs it. We are all wired for love, acceptance and approval. We all have those rights, some of us are conscious of those needs being met, others are not – it depends on our upbringing, how our emotions were formed, if our basic needs for affection and attention were met. However, there are things we can do.
Learning to develop a loving disposition towards ourselves in life is important these days rather than seeking validation from those who may not give it or fail to give it. Not everyone is inclined to give validation to others, some don’t think to express that. Often their thoughts are somewhere else (for whatever reason, it is not necessarily intentional) they may be thinking of what they have to say and fail to be attune to who they are conversing with half the time, and believe it or not, they may be concerned with finding their own validation sometimes.
Many people have a Co-Dependent relationship where they seek validation constantly from each-other, not often finding it – that can be a constant source of frustration.
For those who have not heard of this term before, validation is basically approval from others.
So often these days, we encounter people in relationships or daily life who have been brought up by busy working parents or immature parents who did not cater for their emotional needs or help them mature emotionally. Maybe we had that background. My parents were always busy and did not think to provide some social life for me or teach me communication skills, which basically leaves it up to guesswork when we grow up, doesn’t it? Even trial and error – that can be anything from disappointing to disturbing, embarrassing to painful. We can lack confidence to step out, or discretion when doing so because the communication skills are just not there or they are undeveloped.
Friend, it is not your fault – people are people and life is life – I sincerely hope you can find encouragements in this post, to go on from here, that will help you in communicating with others and to also feel better within yourself.
Firstly we need to love and accept ourselves. I’m not speaking about a vain love, selfish love or narcissistic love here (they are out of wack) but having an ability to accept ourselves and nurture our feelings, so we will not be compelled to find it so much from others.
A Short Testimony
At the age of 20, I found Jesus (not religion) and experienced His Love, with the peace and joy that came with that. People often get cheated with religion and settle for second best because it so often disappoints. Other things like New Age and relationships can disappoint too. Self-improvement programs often fall short, don’t they? I have met people who have tried them, book shelves are inundated with them. But He is the Saviour and Friend of Friends who, once invited will never leave or forsake us and this in itself is assuring to know. He led me on from there.
Whether we have Jesus or not, we need to accept ourselves – it was easier for me when I experienced Him in my heart and life. He gave me the ability to talk with people, the ability to listen to people, and the satisfaction of two way conversations – in that order – it was that way for me and all of those are beneficial.
HOW TO STOP SEEKING APPROVAL FROM OTHERS
Compassion And Kindness
Firstly, once recognizing how much you find the need for having approval from others, you can adopt an attitude of self-compassion and be kind to yourself, like you would with a friend or loved one. Yes, give yourself that same compassion and kindness. Have you ever said something cheerful or assuring to yourself in the mirror? I have, when I went through a rough patch for a time.
Someone was draining me for a long time who just didn’t know the art of returning true genuine friendship – she had philosophy on life so well put together and failed to practice what she preached, so to speak, and another acquaintance (same time) was so busy with other friends thinking “Janet won’t mind” until the day came when I did mind. Also, I went through a different time when three people kept off-loading on me, for months on end (a neice, a neighbor and friend) that was hard slogging. I had to do something about the types of people I was extending the hand of friendship to (including my neice) as they really expected too much from me and gave very little in return.
I found those people to be conflicting with Jesus’ will for me – that which is more peaceful and progressive. They were actually a hindrance to that for a time……my peaceful moments were short lived……I did not want to offend them. It’s good to make boundaries, they give us protection.
Self-Confidence Is Important – Start Gently
However, I learnt something about compassion and kindness toward yourself that are really good skills to have. You really must try them – they will be good for you during a transitional time of learning self-confidence which basically means not to place your confidence in the opinions of others - what they think about you, what they don’t, would they do this, would they do that?……..almost as If you need their approval as a license before you try something, venture something or make a decision?
So Often It Depends On Our Upbringing
I don’t wish to upset the apple cart with families when I say the following statement: that can often be the outcome of being brought up by parents who have too much to say and don’t allow you to make decisions or share decision making at an early age. Maybe they did not invest much time in you, compared to what they could have. Some parents are really good at this, some are not. One of your parents may have played a dominant role with their liking for this or that and yours seemed unimportant or inferior to theirs. And that isn’t fair, it really is not.
Also, keep in mind that some parents who have endured trauma at some time or hardships of some kind can be emotionally affected or even somewhat drained of positive or cheerful emotions, so they didn’t have much to offer you towards your emotional well-being.
I believe it is a good idea for people to be emotionally balanced before they have children or experience some measure of healing. I’m not making judgements, I’ve observed this through the years. I’ve seen some very selfish people too, who fail to be parents and those dear children have no choice about that. I love kids! Young people included, and they are only young once.
You're grown-up now, you have opinions too. Learn to make choices instead of so many voices, and you will feel more free with this as you go.
Moving On With Today
I wish I was well during a few vital years of my child’s upbringing, so I could do the things I planned to do with him. However, the only time we should look back is to give heart-felt apologies (we may have not thought to) and improve on things if they are still young. Even giving special attention to a grown up child’s interests can mean something to them – better late than never.
I actually felt to do this with my Mum in her 50s. She had not experienced this in her upbringing or her marriage (Dad’s business and personality played a dominant role and she had to work in the confines of those). So needless to say, she took to this attention like candy, and to her it was true affection. This was consistent and we became the best of friends throughout life.
Nothing can take the place of Undivided Attention – it’s like candy to a child – and many of us have missed out on that or can recall very few times we have experienced it. Many seek for that in marriage and are disappointed when the novelty wears off. A really good book I can recommend reading is The Heart Of The 5 Love Languages by Gary Chapman. It is written for couples but you can practice these life-giving principles with family members, be it children, grown up children, parents and elderly. It’s a small inexpensive handbook to purchase and it’s value is priceless. Enjoy!
Acceptance And Self-Worth
What a lot of Self Improvement books and courses would miss out is this: We need to accept ourselves as we are before we can move on – we need to address that which has been unaddressed most times, that we are worth something, like my Mum was…….she started to express herself and blossom. Other people have experienced this too when they discovered their Creator’s Love. He is ever-present and interested in the activities of our day.
Sometimes it’s someone else who affects our sense of self-worth – maybe a teacher, peers or employer or some other. I had no friends at school In fifth grade, then one day, I discovered a new found talent for sketching faces that came to me naturally untaught. A few of the girls would sit sideways in front of my desk (in lunch or recess time, one at a time). They were intrigued as I was. We were having a good time there for a few days.
Later in the week, the teacher (young, well dressed in her 20s) came over and said “What’s that!?” She proceeded to pick it up, walked across the front of the class in those high heels and threw my sketch book in the bin. And there went my confidence – I’ve never been able to sketch faces or anything since. And those sketches had won the approval of those school girls – they were spending some time with me. Some teachers are great and some are careless. Little did she know I was in the process of gaining some form of acceptance? My sister loved teaching and all the kids loved her – some of them to their 20s and 30s. She took such interest in them.
Maybe you haven’t experienced something dramatic like that, it is amazing how our brain records feelings with thoughts from experiences we’ve had, and our children don’t always confide in us about experiences they have in school, socially with peers or at work. It is not wise to be overprotective but we do need to give them some sense of strength and assurance these days, aye?
Learn To Trust Yourself
There’s a biblical saying that Christians have “to everyone is given a measure of faith”………I like to think we all have a measure of wisdom too, which can grow. Each one of us is endowed with common-sense……..that is proof you can make decisions. You don’t really need someone else’s opinion. Most times, you will know what’s right for you. Sometimes we all need a little help with big decisions like Academic Studies, what kind of house or car to consider. Most times, if we do our research well, we will have a fairly good idea of what decision to make. Learn to be a Good Friend to yourself, so to speak – we all have an inner critic, a voice in us that says “You’re this, you’re that, you did that wrong…….What will I do now?” Once we understand everyone has an inner critic, a negative bios, we can learn to trust ourselves more.
Paul Hokemeyer PhD says "Hold on to your truth and allow it to absorb into your psyche. When you find yourself going into judgment around it, label the judgment as defeating thoughts and push them away," so don’t ever let anyone else tell you your choices are not good enough.
They’ve no doubt made a few wrong decisions they would not mention to you, or anyone else maybe. Remember, a lot of people we only see at their best but their family is usually aware of their faults and mistakes. How good does that make you feel? Real good I hope. And by the way, everyone has an Inner Dialogue going on in their brain/mind 24 hours a day except for when we’re asleep. That made me feel good many years ago when I heard someone say that on the Internet. Previous to that, I used to think sometimes “My brain never stops!” I'm an active thinker.
I Have A Suggestion For You
These are all good reasons you can learn to trust yourself hey? The next person is human like you. And just like everyone has a measure of spiritual faith they can place in their Creator and let it grow, there is a natural faith we can have in ourselves instead of doubts. You use that faith every time you ask someone’s advice or opinion…….why not stop for a minute to see what you come up with, if you give yourself a chance? I suggest you practice with some things after reading this Post and work your way from there until you feel the liberty of being your own person (having as much say as anyone else). You may be surprised at some things you come up with when you take those decision opportunities. Start small and build up gradually.
Try Not To Compare Yourself With Others
Yes, don’t compare yourself with others and be patient in the process. I’ve found in life at different ages, there is something more to discover about myself – why not yourself at whatever age you are now?
Someone said “Just because you're not going down the same path as other people doesn't mean it's the wrong path. Realize you are a unique being with a unique purpose and path in this world, any comparison or need for the approval of others is irrelevant.”
People Can Lead You Wrong And So Can Comparisons
I met a lovely young married woman in her early 30s some years ago, who didn’t have to work because her husband has a sufficient wage to cover everything. She was very happy as a wife and mother of two gorgeous little boys. She attends a Christian Church where there are a lot of “Leaders” and I was thinking that a house type fellowship would be more suited for her (call it instincts, pretty strong, there was an urgency to share this with her).
So rather than tell her, I asked her how she would feel about that. She said she had that type of thing in her country and misses that sometimes. She also said that Christians aren’t close-knit here in Australia – her “local church". Then sometime later, she started telling me that everyone has a role except her – “they are leaders or working mums with a career” she said. Then she made a hasty decision to “go to a University and be someone" based on comparing herself with others.
It did not make her happy – she knew in advance she would not have much time with her family (which she loved) when she studies and sure enough, she did not. What she calls church these days does not satisfy because you could call it “Synthetic Christianity” full of programs and entertainment..….she could have commenced a close-knit group at home, and a walking group she was thinking about previously.
That was so right for her, and she came up with that idea herself when she prayed about something extra to do. She loves the Parks and would be enjoying that so much. She would have also been a blessing to others who walk with her because she wanted to socialise and all. Something just right for her, I felt when she shared about it with me. So don’t compare yourself or what you do with others, it can really lead you off the path that is meant for you or maybe what is waiting to be discovered.
Watch These Things If You Want Life In Your Years
Social Media, TV Series and Peer Pressure are things we need to watch out for if we wish to find what’s right for us. In Social Media you almost always see people at their best, letting you know their good side and all their good news. Some girls and women have been known to say "I wish I was her!"
Sometimes we can have close encounters with those who prefer to show their bad side and really upset us – that has to affect your confidence levels, as do the amount of ‘Likes’ some people get over Social Media when you don't have many. TV Series are always projecting different images through the characters and things they do, which unconsciously programs our minds “Be this or be that”……….”Do this and do that”……….and of-course, many of us in our 30s upwards can look back and see all the pressure our peers put on us in school days “Be this or be that”……….”Do this and do that.”
I am not saying to never use Media, watch TV or mix with Peers. But I mean to say, how can we find ourselves and discover our interests when we keep taking most of those things in pretty much on a daily basis?
Become Aware Of Your Actions
Shira Gura, an occupational therapist and well-being coach advises "The first step to stop seeking approval of others is to become aware we are stuck on doubt, insecurity, or uncertainty. We must recognize that our actions (of seeking approval) comes from the emotions and beliefs that arise within us," Once you become aware of how often you're seeking approval from others, you can begin to work on yourself from within.
Check The Accuracy Of Your Beliefs
While there's nothing wrong by collaborating with other people, you don't want to be persuaded because you may not truly believe in your voice yet. "By checking the accuracy of your beliefs, you will recognize that your story is not stable and therefore will be able to consider other perspectives, such as: 'I can consider I am good enough', or 'I can consider I am equal to everyone else', or 'I can consider the only person who can truly grant me confidence is myself,'" says Shira Gura.
Remember Practice Makes Perfect
Remember that this new thought process is not going to change overnight. "Don't expect yourself to change overnight. Be kind and gentle with yourself in this process and in no time at all, you will begin to experience a sense of well-being. This sense of well-being will grow into a generalized feeling of happiness, that you are safe and secure, content with who you are rather than who you think others want you to be," says Hokemeyer.
So once you practice these things for a while, you can find validation from the one person you are sure to get it from and that is you. If you would like the Friend of Friends to accompany you on your Journey in Life, that's up to you. I felt that I should include the difference He made for me, and my Mum, when I felt led to do something that pretty much changed her for life. She felt valued.
I WOULD LIKE TO TAKE THIS OPPORTUNITY TO WISH YOU WELL.