Hate in any form is toxic and destructive, especially when you hold onto it. So while I’m taking a deep breath and letting go of the latest insanity coming out of Washington, I’ll direct my ire at an enemy we all share in one way or another: approval-seeking! Guess what? I hate it.
I know you’re not supposed to hate anything (or anyone) because as the well-known adage goes, holding onto hate is akin to your taking a vial of poison thinking it will kill your enemy. But this particular poison – approval seeking — drains your energy, individuality and personal power; needing and seeking and obsessing about the approval of others is energetic poison, and each and every one of us dips into this toxic well far too often.
The truth is, approval seeking is incredibly stressful — and exhausting.
So WHY do so many of us seek approval? More specifically, what’s wrong with being nice and seeking approval? Here’s the problem: Needing and seeking their approval is akin to saying, “YOU’RE more important than I am. I need you to approve of me so I can feel good about myself.”
So we dress a certain way. We conform, act and preoccupy our every move with fear-based thoughts such as “what if they don’t like me?” It’s safe to say that virtually everyone on earth has experienced similar thoughts like this one, sometimes hundreds of times per day. We get desperate to impress, to get more ‘likes’ and attention, online and in the world. But what do you think that’s doing to your true potential, creativity, and moment-to-moment peace of mind? The truth is, approval seeking is incredibly stressful — and exhausting. Life becomes a chore. Anxiety rises. How does that help you (or anyone)?
So ask yourself right now: Are you seeking too much approval in your life?
Start to observe yourself today, in everyday interactions, out getting coffee, at a meeting or even at home. Are you motivated by approval (“do you like me, am I OK?”) or by a genuine desire to express and share your authentic self with the world? Lingering discomfort, resentment, and anxiety can be an indicator you’re in approval seeking mode. If so, it’s time for some changes, because life is way too short to spend it seeking and needing approval.
Here’s a simple action step you can take today: Say to yourself ‘I don’t need anyone’s approval to be happy’ every time you catch yourself in approval-seeking mode. Write down or make a mental note of what happens when you introduce that fresh, empowering thought into your mental patterns. Keep doing it, and this will interrupt any toxic patterns of seeking the approval of others at your own expense. WARNING: Expect an ‘aha’ moment or two (or three) while practicing this.
Here’s a great irony: The less approval you seek, the more you tend to receive. Your energy and attractiveness go way up, because people sense that you genuinely like and approve of yourself – it’s infectious and liberating. Everyone wants to discover an easy way to start feeling good, and putting the kibosh on approval seeking is one of the best ways I’ve found to ignite natural good feelings and greatly increase your energy.
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