Approval seeking is one of the most self-destructive behaviours you can adopt. It strips you of your self-esteem and self-confidence. The ultimate antidote to approval seeking is to be yourself. The irony of approval seeking is that the people you most approve of are those who are not afraid to be themselves in any given situation. They stick to their beliefs and are confident in who they are. You can easily follow their example, just be yourself.
7 Ways to be yourself when others disapprove
To be yourself, you must be true to your identity and purpose i.e. who you want to be and what you want to do. The following are 7 ways which will help you to be yourself when others disapprove:
1. Thank people for their feedback
When someone else disapproves, it does not mean that you have to agree with them or change your behaviour. If, you do not like, or agree with, their opinion, just thank them for their feedback and leave it at that. You do not need to explain yourself.
2. Ask yourself an honest question
Ask yourself, ‘would I be better off if I just agreed with them?’ The answer is ‘No’. Not only would you be rejecting yourself in a bid to conform; people do not respect those who always agree or concede their point. They can see the insincerity.
3. Accept differences
Different people, think differently. You will never have everybody agree with you, just as you will not agree with everybody. Accept that it is ok to be different. You might not understand the way that others think but you usually do not need to.
4. Refuse to argue
You do not need to convince others of your beliefs. If they wish to argue, inform them that you are comfortable with your beliefs, that you respect their right to their beliefs and that you are happy to agree to disagree.
5. Cut the apologies
If you genuinely feel that you have done something wrong, it is understandable that you may wish to apologise and make it clear that you will not repeat the behaviour. However, people regularly apologise, even when they believe they have done the right thing, because somebody got upset. Alternatively, they often apologise before they do what they believe to be right, for fear that someone might get upset.
You do not want to deliberately upset others but if you believe the course of action to be right, an apology is not warranted. You never have to apologise for being yourself and nobody else should require you to do so. It is dishonest to the other person, dishonest to you and it is a form of self-rejection.
6. Stop seeking confirmation
If you believe you are right, you do not need others to back you up. To seek the back up of others, when you do not require it, devalues your own opinion.
7. Trust yourself
When making decisions learn to trust your intuition. You do not need to seek everyone else’s opinion. You may get the odd decision wrong but over time you will get better at it. To be yourself, you must learn to trust yourself.
It is easier to handle disapproval when you are clear on your purpose for life and committed to living your values.
To be yourself is the greatest gift you can give to the world. To seek approval by pretending to be someone you are not, is dishonest and lacks integrity. Ironically, honesty and approval are 2 of the qualities which people most approve of in others. Therefore, you must know that approval seeking is a pointless activity. So, be yourself and everyone will be happier for it.