Your relationship with yourself is a top priority.
But, it is so easy to look outside of yourself for approval.
Society places value on outside validation. Social media exacerbates this issue in ways that have not occurred in decades past. Outside of doctors, lawyers, politicians, etc, who makes the most money in our society? The people who everyone likes–the people who everyone thinks is cool, pretty, smart, popular, and handsome. We see others receiving positive attention and think, ‘hey! that is the key to success… getting people to approve of me.’
We can go deeper and examine how many of us highly value our parents’ approval. Many of us learned that parental approval either gave us what we wanted or there were consequences if we did not receive their approval.
For black women in particular, approval outside of ourselves has often been the difference between life and death, getting a job, not being perceived as a threat, and so on.
So, as a result of all of this, what happened?
You learned to value attention and validation from others more than you value your own.
At one point in your life, this may have served you and allowed you to get by. However, valuing approval outside of yourself oftentimes leads to anxiety, insecurity, and depression. Why? Because instead of doing things for yourself or making sure you keep your best interests at heart, you are constantly relying on outside approval. This can lead to a few things:
- Trying to anticipate or fulfill other people’s needs above your own (anxiety)
- Feeling down if you don’t receive approval from others (depression)
- Not having a solid sense of self/your sense of self shifting depending on the situation or person (insecurity)
So…we’ve determined why you seek approval outside of yourself. We have determined that this can lead to long-term problems. Now… how do we solve this?
Well, if you’ve looked outside of yourself for quite a while now, your views about self-approval won’t change overnight. I don’t say this to discourage you but to paint a more realistic picture about what it’s going to take to unlearn years of conditioning. Just know that you can, and will change and here are a few things will help.
Shift Where You Place Your Value
If you shift where you place your value, you can release anxiety, insecurity, and depression. When you value your own validation and approval, your needs and sense of self take center stage. Gone are the days of you shifting and adapting in order to please others. You become your own hub–your own source for love and validation. You become unshakable and you are able to prioritize your needs above what others want for you. This leads to an improved relationship with yourself and increased satisfaction with your life because you are staying true to yourself.
Realize That Self-Approval Can Get You What You Desire
Let’s say that you want others to approve of you because you believe that it can get you what you desire. You think that if others validate you, that’ll lead to more friendships, more love, more opportunities, more money. WRONG!! Approval outside of yourself will lead to unfulfilling friendships, relationships, and business opportunities. Why? Because instead of staying true to yourself in any of these circumstances, you are shifting how you operate minute by minute, second by second because you are constantly seeking approval.
What will get you what you desire is authenticity, and you can’t be your most authentic self if you don’t approve of yourself. When you approve of yourself and validate yourself, you give yourself permission to be yourself. You do what is best for you regardless of what other people say or think. Therefore, you attract opportunities and relationships that align with exactly who you are, which is an individual who cares for themselves and only wants the best for themselves.
Repeat Your Affirmations
I’ve said it once, and I’ll say it again. Affirmations play a key part in transforming your life. Affirmations are positive statements that are repeated often in order to reprogram the subconscious mind. We are always saying affirmations to ourselves, whether they are positive or negative. Many of our affirmations are subconscious which means that we are often unaware of the things that we are telling ourselves. Our subconscious thoughts, however, influence our behaviors. It is in our best interest to reprogram our thoughts to achieve what we want. A few positive affirmations for self-approval are “I approve of myself,” “I accept myself as I am,” and “I validate myself.” Keep repeating your affirmations until they become a part of your subconscious and positively influence your behavior, and ultimately, your life.
I say all of this to say that outside approval is not wrong in and of itself. If you are working in any type of business or trying to gain a following, make new friends/connections, you need people to approve of you. The problem occurs when you place TOO MUCH value on outside forces and end up abandoning yourself. Approving of yourself sets the foundation on which you can build solid connections and pursue opportunities that align with your most authentic self.