Being Yourself in the Age of Approval Seeking
"If you could be the woman of your dreams, who would you be?"
When I first thought about answering this question I realized I would have to first disregard what I thought other people thought of me to get to that answer. "Would people think it's weird if I wanted to do this? "Would people roll their eyes if I talked about this?" If you live in the box that other people created for you then you live a safe life not disturbing the consciousness of other people's reality. But choosing to live outside of the box takes a certain kind of bravery. The willingness to be misunderstood.
When we are young we are limitless. There is nothing we can't do because no one told us that we can't. Just like Adam and Eve in the Garden: We run around naked until we eat the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge (the internet) and then we clothe ourselves with gossip, comparison, and approval seeking. Then we spend the rest of our lives trying to figure out who we are, without realizing that we were actually born complete.
In the age of social media, "Approval Seeking" can sometimes be overwhelming and inevitable. The longer you spend online, the longer your brain ingests the highlight reel of all your favorite celebrities, friends, or online influencers. No matter how positive the information can be, too much time scrolling becomes addicting and gets you to play the game of "I wish I had/looked/felt/thought like that". I've been there before. Too much instagram is never healthy. Lines get blurred and what was once your "good enough" becomes "not enough at all." Keep the scrolling to a minimum or delete it all together.
I spent so much of my life (and still struggle) waiting for people to deem my worthiness. Waiting for someone to love me, for someone to say I'm talented, for someone to compliment me in public. All things I at one time or another, felt that I desperately needed. But this routine becomes addicting, tiresome, and when you do finally get the compliment it never feels the way you thought it would. Because all compliments are hollow if you don't actually believe them yourself.
But I am learning that True Happiness is doing the things you want for your own approval. Cultivating the life you've always wanted because YOU wanted it. Surrounding yourself with people who make you feel good about you, not people who want you to be like them. People are attracted to confident people who live their life boldly. The road to becoming who you truly are can only start when you acknowledge your uniqueness. True Happinesss doesn't come from your parent's approval, your boyfriend, or your job, it comes from you.
So how can we get rid of approval seeking and get to who we are? Let's start with asking ourselves these questions:
Why do I want those people to like me so bad? What will I gain from them?
What do you expect from life and what does life expect from you?
If you could be the woman of your dreams, who would you be?