In today’s age, a lot of people go through the motions of life, constantly seeking approval from people. Whether it be on social media, or through a bar tab at a club, society has been molded into one big “flex zone.” And people are buying into it, too.
While these people might appear to be the confident ones and the prominent ones in a given social setting, the chances are, if they’re seeking approval, they’re probably a lot more insecure than they’re letting on.
At the end of the day, only one person’s approval is ever necessary for your individual happiness -- and that's you. Do the things that make you happy and not the things that make you appear “cool” to the people around you.
Think about it: “coolness” fades. It’s set on whatever is “trending” at the moment. But happiness, on the other hand, that fades a lot slower – and is a lot more enjoyable, too, while it lasts. Strive for that.
It’s difficult, though. There will always be people found within each phase of life who judge you. It might suck, but that’s part of the growing up. Stay true to your real identity; remind yourself not to seek approval by itself, but rather, seek out people who accept and approve of you for who you want to be.
Here are seven people whose approval should never knock you off your own course.
Anyone on social media.
No matter the circumstance, I always stand by the fact that social media is a good thing. It’s a platform, that’s all it is. But how you choose to use that platform, now, that is your own prerogative.
Regardless, much of social media revolves around the aspect of expression. Having said that, there are distinct types of expression: self-expression and expression simply for a reaction.
If you’re using social media to tell the world something about yourself or to convey some aspect of your individuality, then you should never worry about how well (or not) it’s received on social media. As long as you like something, and are content with it, any other number of “likes” should never be counted on.
A teacher who never fully "got" you.
While you don’t necessarily need to walk around school with a bandana tied and your middle fingers up screaming, “f*ck the system," remember, a teacher’s opinion isn’t always the gospel truth, either.
Back when I was in high school, I had no idea who I was – or even who I wanted to be. That’s the essence of high school; it’s a time to explore and discover yourself. Trust me, if you probably don’t know yourself yet, I doubt your teachers will.
It’s important to take advice from them, and listen to the lessons they offer, but don’t ever let them define you or tell you who you are or aren’t. That’s for you to decide.
Your first boss who didn’t see your potential.
Fresh out of college, you’ll probably try to settle down at the first job that will hire you – and that’s not necessarily the wrong move. It’s always beneficial to get some work experience under your belt, and the sooner you do it, the better.
The thing is, sometimes when you jump into an opportunity, you might not be fully ready. Remember, your first job isn’t your only job, or last job – it’s simply your first job.
You’ll probably make some errors during the early stages, but that’s all part of the learning curve. The important part IS learning though.
After you slip up, two things generally happen: One, you’ll probably receive some criticism. Two, you’ll have to pick yourself up and learn from your mistakes. The best type of progress occurs when you use the first thing to motivate the second.
The one who broke your heart.
A lot of times, when you get your heart broken, you’ll constantly be looking for approval from the one who broke it – even long after he or she has been “removed” from your life.
When this sh*t happens, it all but prevents any type of forward movement. You just have to let go.
Stop getting caught up on people in your past. And if there’s a type of approval that you SHOULDN’T seek, it’s that kind that comes from people who aren’t in your life anymore.
When you were in a committed relationship with them, sure, their approval might’ve been toward the top of your priority list. After the fact, though, it’s time to make a concerted effort to stop worrying about their perspective.
If you’re worried about what any one of your friends might think about something you’re doing, or something you’re taking an interest in, take it from me: They’re not great friends.
Always try to surround yourself by people who, at the least, understand you. They don’t necessarily have to emulate you, or even do as you do, but they should always understand where you’re coming from. That’s part of respect, and respect is probably the most important aspect of any friendship.
No matter how, I don’t know, quirky you might be, you should never find yourself seeking the approval of the people you call your friends. They’re the ones you should know are down to ride with you regardless of any other factors.
The people you’re eating with.
Eating is a very sacred part of your day and routine. Don’t take any sh*t from anyone. If you want to eat blue-box macaroni and cheese at 11:30 am out of a tupperware in the back of class? I mean, it’s a little avant-garde, but, hey, more power to you.
When it comes to food, everyone has a f*cking comment. Pay them no mind. As long as you’re the one eating a certain meal, and you’re not force-feeding them to do the same, people should never “yuck your yum,” so to speak.
When it comes to food, you’ll never need anyone else’s approval – unless you’re splitting an entree. In that case, yeah, it would probably be polite to check in with them first.
If you’re genuinely self-confident, you shouldn’t seek the approval of anyone, really, aside from maybe your parents and God (if you believe in that). Do the right thing, keep your head down, work hard and express yourself however the f*ck you want.
Let your actions define you, and become the standard for which you’re measured by. Realize no article of clothing, or bodily peircing, can tell someone who you truly are, so stop worrying about their reaction.
Focus on the feelings of people in your life who truly know you, and less on the appearance-based judgments people might make without knowledge of any real substance.
You’ll thank yourself later, down the road, when you realize that you stayed true to who you were – and didn’t become some fabrication of all the things the people around you wanted you to be.