As part of my 100 day challenge towards strength and wellbeing, I have created a chapter called “inside my mind”. In this chapter of the challenge, I will analyse all current beliefs contained in my mindset. As I said before, I want to eliminate all beliefs that were built in fear and ignorance, and replace them with true, constructive ones in order to have a strong foundation in my life.
I will not publish the exact contents of this, but I will write points that I discover which are of interest. One of the topics that I want to spend time on is the need of approval from others. Where does this need come from? Why is other people’s acceptance of us so important?
Initially I thought that it came from a need for love. We behave in a certain way to be approved by others so we can feel loved. This isn’t true; it seems to be more a need to feel safe than to feel loved. Approval makes you feel secure and gives you a strong sense of personal worth. With approval, there is no threat. The objective seems to be that ‘everything will be ok’ or that there will not be any conflict.
The problem with this is that relaying on external factors for this feeling of safety will always leave you emotionally vulnerable. It leaves your self-esteem in the hands of things that you have no control over. Is the absence of a threat really worth being so emotionally dependant for?
It also creates an internal conflict when you think in a certain direction and then act in another. It causes another layer of confusion internally, as well as being time consuming.
Our culture has this idea of ‘being nice’, especially for girls. There is a big difference between ‘nice’ and ‘good’. Of course there is nothing wrong with being a good person, but being ‘nice’ in this sense is often associated with being passive or silent. We are thought that everyone in our presence has to be comfortable, even if that means sacrificing our own opinions or needs. We have to smile, apologise and make ourselves small for the benefit of others and so they do not get annoyed with us.
Perhaps if we didn’t grow up with an obligation to be such a “nice girl” in a society that does not have space for this type of person, this generation would not have so many internal conflicts or anxiety issues. This kind of conditioning leads to approval seeking behaviours, which in turn leads to confidence and self-esteem issues. Again I do not mean that by not being nice you have to be bad; you can be a good person but not have to be so nice and pleasing all the time. When you only do what is expected of you, you cease to exist.
It is an important reminder that your worth is not based on how many people approve of what you do. There will always be someone who does not agree and this does not mean that there is anything wrong with you or what you are doing. This is not in your control, so stop wasting so much energy on attempting to control it.
You have an existence outside of other people’s presence. You had a heart before they tried to smother it. You had a mind before they tried to poison it. You had a purpose before they had opinions.
As I shed another layer of my being that was created in ignorance, I do lose a bit of myself. I notice parts of my mindset collapsing. You will feel this loss, but it will only be temporary. After comes the building of a new layer of being, of a new structure. All of this will make up a new solid foundation. Just bear with the letting go of all the pieces of your mind that no longer serve you and prepare to witness the construction of stronger pieces.