Saturday, March 26, 2011

Seeking Approval

All of us want to be liked. We want to be admired and have the support of others, especially those close to us. So when we learn that someone might not share the same enthusiasm about something important to us, we can’t help but to take it personally and in some cases feel insulted. For example, you’ve finally decided what you want to do with your life but your family is less than thrilled with your decision, or perhaps you’ve experienced the harsh feeling that comes with introducing someone your friends and family dislike. 

I myself, have sought the approval of others and with that often comes the need to feel validated, to feel reassured that I’m still a person of valuable and worthy opinions and ideas. And it is this quest for validation after feeling dejected that often gets one into trouble. Is there a way to make people approve of you and your ideas? Perhaps not, but there are ways to soften the harsh blow of disapproval, and reduce the need to seek validation. 

 1. Don’t share until you’re ready. A fellow marketing friend of mine once told me “don’t share any business idea, until you have a strong foundation.” I’ve always believed this and hearing him say it helped me to confirm it. When you share an ill constructed idea, it gives people ample opportunity to find the holes in it until they’ve torn it apart, leaving you feeling hollow. It’s not that people want you to fail, but they do like pointing out that it’s a possibility. But my friend wasn’t just talking about the idea itself, but also my confidence in it. Whether it’s a new relationship, career choice, even a new outfit, it’s much easier to take the critique when you have built a strong confidence in it. You’ll feel less bruised when you’ve padded yourself with an armor of self esteem and confidence. Therefore, wait until your idea and your belief in it is solid before seeking approval.

2. Do it for the right reasons. We often make decisions for the same reason we seek approval on these decisions, vanity. Have you ever done something thinking, “Everybody will like this?”  Well, when it turns out that every body doesn’t like it it hurts a lot more than if you simply did it for yourself. If you’ve ever dated someone just because you thought the world would approve of him, took a job that looked great to societal standards, or even changed yourself in anyway just to get more attention you unfortunately heard, and answered, vanity’s call. The real trouble with this is if the motive is wrong then it’s harder to prove the decision is right. Any decision you make should have pure intentions. You should be doing it from your heart and without the intention of praise. If people like it great;. if not, who cares, you do!

3. It’s not you, it’s them. Everything we do in life is subjective. Everything. Therefore, if someone disapproves of something you’re doing understand that they are looking at it from the angle of their own lives. They aren’t simply thinking “is that the best thing for you to be doing,” but rather “would I do that.” If a person is showing strong opposition to a decision you’ve made, it often just means what you’re doing wouldn’t work for them or make them happy, so don’t let it eat you away. Forgive and be grateful for the fact that everyone has different definitions of happiness.

4. Try to be a little objective. When we get criticized, most of us immediately feel hurt and try to defend ourselves. But what if there is some truth to what they are saying. Perhaps it’s not the best time to be doing that particular thing, or maybe there’s something about that guy that your friends see that you don’t. Criticism can often save a lot of time and heartache, if we try and be objective with it. If someone disapproves of a decision you’ve made try looking at it from their perspective. What are they seeing that you’re not?

We can’t make everyone agree with us all the time, and we not might always get the support we need from those close to us, but if you are doing something with pure intentions God is on your side and is already blessing the decision.

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