Break Free from Your Need for Approval – 10 Steps Strategy!
1. Understanding our need for approval!
Everyday we try to survive in a world of expectation and requirements.
We learn from media, peers and family what we need to do in order to be accepted by society. At an early age we are told, that we have to try harder, to be better, to slim down, to slow down, to be nicer, to be more consistent, or to be more patient. We learn from media that being slim is the way to be, that being good at school gives us better opportunities in life, that trying harder helps achieving more, and we learn too that what we like doing is not necessarily something that helps us survive.
Later in life we proceed on the track we have been led onto. As we try to be our best to get approval for doing everything right, being good enough, trying hard enough, and being worthy to be a part of our community, we also struggle everyday a little more. We judge ourselves for not being as successful as others, for not being able to finance a Caribbean holiday, for not being able to do what we are pleased, or for not being as active and slim as anybody else. While evaluating our situation we learn that we didn’t have a choice and we start blaming others for our misfortune. We also take every opportunity to impress others with all the knowledge, successes and material wealth we have, and we too judge others.
As many of us are being in the same game, everyone is talking about their perception of others. We hardly listening to each other as we are busy competing to win the battle of who is the most impressive, best, and most successful person (in their strategy to gain approval).
Now these battles are very tiring and still our need for approval won’t be fulfilled until we approve ourselves for being good enough and worthy to be a part of society. But this kind of approval would stop the battling and we would miss out in the game of being the best, which again starts the process of self judgements and the need for approval from the outside. The circle is closed and we are trapped in the need for approval.
2. My 10 steps strategy to break free!
- Change what you don’t like, or accept what you can’t change! For instance you are stuck in a traffic jam. What difference does it make when you complain about it? Exactly, neither complaining nor accepting brings you to your destination earlier, but accepting the facts helps you arriving calmer and more relaxed.
- Figure out what you want and what you don’t want in your life! Make a list, review it at least three times a week, but feel free to update it at any time. You might find more things you don’t want at the beginning. Use these and look at the opposites to find out what you want. For instance, You don’t want to be broke all the time, so you probably want to have always enough financial funds!
- Remember what you always wanted to do and do it! It doesn’t need to be always a big dream. It might be as little as for instance to scream out loud. It can be a place you always wanted to visit, a restaurant you always wanted to try, or climbing a mountain. It might be also something way bigger. Make an action plan to realise it.
- Schedule ME time! Make sure you spend time for yourself and do what you love doing. For instance reading a book or watching a movie.
- Value your body and listen to its signals! Get some fresh air once a day. Go for walks and exercise regularly. Eat food that you believe is healthy. Go to bed when you are tired, rest when you feel exhausted, eat when you feel hungry, and drink something when you feel thirsty. Your body knows best what it needs. If you respond early to your body’s signals you might feel more energised, healthier, and stronger within yourself.
- Trust your feelings! Feelings are also signals and can either be positive or negative. Positive feelings are indicating that what you want is in alignment with what you believe about yourself. On the other side negative feelings signify something in unease with what you want and what you believe about yourself. However feelings help you to explorer your belief system and it is worthwhile to especially find out what kind of limiting beliefs hold you back.
- Live NOW! Whatever ugly, sad or even great things have happen to you in the past, it has already happen. There is no reason to re-live these events over and over again. Instead evaluate what you have learned of these experiences; so they become stepping stones instead. Living for a better tomorrow keeps you dreaming but also prevents you from seeing the opportunities you have right now. So live each moment and recognise your free choice of perspective. (For instance as you can choose to complain or accept the traffic jam!)
- Acknowledge your achievements and be grateful for all the good things in your life! Everyone has a different idea of success and achievement. Make sure you acknowledge all the things you have achieved so far. You can list them and add new ones every day to have something to refer back to. There is beauty in every experience, as you will find it in all people and situations in your life. Sometime we just miss to look for it.
- Let go of your attachments! It is hard to grasp what it means when you are told by others to let go, but it is one of the steps towards breaking free. This visualisation might help you: Imagine you take a scissor and cut the cord between you and the person, the outcome, or the thing you are attached to. Trust that you will find your way without this attachments.
- Be true to yourself! Be honest, there is no value in lying to yourself. Once you are able to speak your truth you won’t need to compete for approval since people who truly care will love you the way you truly are.
Step by step you can break free from a tiring need for approval and soon you will feel empowered to chase your dreams!
Let me know how you are keeping on your journey towards the life you are dreaming of! You are very welcome to leave a comment or to contact me here.by Sandy Seeber – December, 2011