I quite enjoy having these sort of intimate conversations online. Even though I may not see who I am exactly writing to, I think it can be a cathartic experience. If you saw my last post, I talked about learning to let go and trust. This week I’d like to talk about seeking approval from others.
I think I’ve always been the type of person who cared a lot about what other people thought of me. Ever since High School I would obsess over what friends and even strangers thought of me. During college, I think that need for approval and validation from others kind of died down a bit. But that also may be because I had a lot less friends during college.
So afterwards, I kind of forgot about it. I think in the back of my mind I thought that need had passed. I thought ‘I am an adult now. I am a badass who doesn’t care what anyone thinks of me.’ But then I started working.
I can’t tell you the amount of anxiety and stress I have had recently based on what my editor thought of my work (I work as a reporter for a local newspaper). If my editor told me “Good job!” one week I would feel so accomplished and happy. I would feel like I did what I was supposed to do.
But then if I had a bad week and my editor would tell me to edit something or write something over again I would just feel crushed. I felt like I had failed. I felt like I was a bad writer. I felt like I shouldn’t even be a reporter anymore.
This feeling of validation that weighed so heavily on another person’s approval is exactly what I went through in High School, just in another setting. I put this tremendous dependence of my own worth, on someone else’s opinion of me.
I think I’ve been going through the same issue when it comes to friendship. I think I’m the type of person that needs to feel needed when it comes to close friendships. Whenever a friend would invite me to hang out I would feel so happy. But whenever I am the one to initiate too often or would get a “Sorry I can’t I’m busy” my mind would go to places like “Oh, she must not be that good of a friend” or “Why doesn’t she want to hang out with me?”
Pretty dramatic, I know. I feel like this entire experience is an indicator that just because you forget about a problem doesn’t mean it goes away.
I still put way too much dependence on other people to fill my sense of approval on my own self. The image I have in my mind of who I am, is entirely created by words of approval or lack thereof. I’m giving everyone else the power to decide my own emotions and whether I am doing a “good job” in life and as a human being.
It’s not healthy. I am aware of that. And I’m not really sure where this problem stems from. Maybe it is just my personality. Maybe some traumatic experience I had as a child created this trait in me. Whatever it is, I’d like it to change.
I don’t want to depend on other people to make me feel validated. I always tell people, you have to be happy on your own. Whether you are single or with someone, have a great job or are jobless, have lots of money or none at all, you need to be able to stand on your own two feet in any circumstance and be happy with yourself. But I don’t even follow my own advice.
But I would like to try. I feel, actually I know I have a very extreme and wide range of emotion. I don’t want to hand over the wheel on that ride to every person I may meet in life. I need to learn to take control and be happy amidst any circumstance, to be happy on my own.
Your mind is truly a battlefield. At least, that’s how I feel most of the time. It takes effort and practice to change yourself, your habits, your personality traits, but I do feel like it is possible.
So, as a mantra to myself, I’d like to practice and try to be less dependent on others, and be happy on my own. My self-worth is NOT dependent on another person’s approval of my work. My self-worth does NOT depend on whether a friend wants to hang out with me. My validation does NOT come from words of praise and approval from strangers.
I CAN be happy on my own. I WILL be happy in any circumstance. And I AM worthy of love, happiness, peace and joy no matter the amount of people surrounding me and loving me.
I guess this post has turned into a lesson on self-love. Gag! I hate it when people use that term “self-love.” But I guess it is necessary. Let’s start with self-approval for now.
Anyways, thanks for reading if you’ve made it this far! Until next time! Let me know in the comments if you’ve ever struggled with self-approval. I’d love to feel like I am not some weird, mellow dramatic person on my own. >.<