Do you let the anticipated or perceived criticism from others affect you? Do you seek approval, recognition or praise for your achievements, perhaps through social media or at work? Seeking validation comes in many guises. However it presents, what it essentially comes down to is attaching too much importance to what other people think of us. Of course it’s human nature to want to be accepted, but it’s how much attention we give to it that determines whether it’s healthy or not. It’s when we operate from a restrictive place, fearing our non-acceptance, that it has the potential to be destructive, affect how we experience life and ultimately limit our happiness.
It’s really not our business what other people think of us, and we shouldn’t let the judgment or disapproval of others affect our sense of well-being. The all important factor is how we perceive ourselves. Essentially, it boils down to self-acceptance and being able to stand in our true power with all of our colours and perfect imperfections. Own them. Nobody is perfect, so the sooner we practice self-acceptance the better. When we cultivate our own self esteem and our self worth is in tact, we will see that other people judging us is largely their own projection. Generally, it comes from a need to assert their own sense of power. This simple shift in perception, recognising it is about them and not about us can set us on the path to emotional freedom. Nobody can take away your sense of self worth, but you can relinquish it.
In fact, standing in your power can push buttons, especially the buttons of those who are not standing in theirs. Expect recriminations along the way and accept that not everybody is going to like you. Just like people have varied tastes in music, literature and art, we as multi faceted individuals will find aspects of ourselves resonate more with some than others. Take a moment to think of some of the most successful or happiest people you know and more likely than not, you will find that they are not only not favoured by everyone, but they don’t spend time worrying about how other people perceive them and seeking their validation from them.
Even exceptionally talented person are held back from reaching their true potential by what can turn into an obsessive search for others to recognise their genius. Seeking recognition or accolade for our achievements generally stems from a place of insecurity and a lack of confidence in ourselves. Once we stop seeking external validation and approach life with the altered mind set of being enough as we are, generally we meet with less resistance and more success in our endeavours anyway. Do it for the joy. Be prepared to make mistakes along the way and for other people not to like you or what you do at times.
The good news is that all it really takes is a shift in perception, a simple decision not to give our power away by concerning ourselves with what other people may or may not think about us. Not only is it a waste of energy fuelled by imaginings but a waste of the life you have to live. When you catch yourself engaging in this kind of internal dialogue, first see the pattern, and then refuse to let the way you see yourself change according to how you feel others see you. Your identity and value are not dependent on people’s impressions of you, if they were then everybody would perceive you the same way. Living life on your own terms means embracing the things and people that bring you the greatest joy and separating from those that don’t. Keep in sight the wider spectrum of your life, honour your uniqueness and embrace yourself exactly where you are right now.
A truly strong person does not need the approval of others any more than a lion needs the approval of sheep. (Vernon Howard)