The Power of Self-Approval

Do you want more happiness in your life? Are you tired of compromising your happiness for that of others? Have you ever stopped to think about why you have in certain ways? Do you ever wonder why celebrities and people in the lime light seem to crave all that attention?

Well, one theory is that we have in order to gain approval from others. This may seem far fetched but thinking about it for a minute. Everything we do in life can boil down to 2 fundamental needs: the need to be loved and the need to be helped. As such, our actions tend to be determined by our ability to please others. This stems from the fact that our mind operates in a primitive survival mode looking to protect us at all costs. This survival mentality was originally formed during our early childhood where, as dependent helpless babies, we learned that it was necessary to please our parents (or caregivers) in order to get what we wanted if it was food or milk, and so forth. If we did not gain this approval, we feared the worst – that we would perish. Fortunately, we are no longer dependent children need others approval in order to survive. However, our conditioning has ingrained in us this need to please others even though it no longer makes sense to do so.

As such, one of our biggest obstacles to happiness in life is our need for approval from others or our need to prove ourselves, our fear of disapproval, and our fear of rejection. It is solely based on survival! Now, the need for survival is gone but the habit remains.

It is important to realize that when we try to please others we are always at the mercy of someone else's response, and then we have no control over the output. When we act in accord with other people's approval, we are saying that their item is more important than ours. We are saying that they are more important than us! According to Abraham Maslow, the world renounced psychologist, "The highest state of man is self-actualization. And the essence of self-actualization is freedom from the good opinion of others." Thus, in order to be truly happy we must dissociate from the bad and good opinion of others. We must learn to approve of ourselves and realize that each and everyone of us is a unique and special person capable of wonderful things. It is critical to understand that we all live in our own little "bubble". We are unique in the meanings that we attach to the information and events in our lives. Simply stated, two people experiencing the same event or information will give different meanings to each based on their own personal experience, upbringing, programming, and paradigms. For instance, the word "battle" may elicit a different mental image or meaning to you then it would to me. As such, how can we seek others approval when they are most likely operating in a different paradigm than we are? As Stuart Wilde once said "I am what I am and that's my evolution, what others perceive of me is part of their evolution."

We must also consider that when someone judges somebody or something else, it says little about the target of their judgment and volumes about them self.

In conclusion, to achieve true happiness in your life you must stop worrying about what others think of you. Remember, their comments are more a reflection of them than you. When you take something personally, you are showing that you agree with their opinion and showing that you do not understand their perspective. You also position yourself as prey to their predatory remarks. Just because someone puts poison on your plate does not mean that you have to eat it because as Eleanor Roosevelt once said "What others think of me is none of my business!"

So, my challenge to you over the next week is to acknowledge, yet dissociate yourself, from the comments of others, good and bad. Remember, every coin has two sides. Meaning that if you accept someone's positive praise you will obviously feel good, but what happens the next time when that person does not give you any praise for the same action? You will most likely feel a void. As such, attempt to dissociate yourself from others remarks and simply be happy with who you are and what you have done. In time, happiness will be felt when you choose, not others!