Our Need for Approval


Photo by Enoc vt

Regardless of how different we are, we share something in common. As the social beings that we are, it comes as no surprise that we are constantly seeking approval and validation from those around us. Our lives have revolved around the need for ‘fitting in,’ and consequently, we yearn to be liked, appreciated, and accepted. We try too hard to satisfy not only people that are important to us but also strangers.

But what’s the purpose of setting so many standards for ourselves to be seen as more approachable and likable? We all have different answers to this question. An article from RagsNair, a blog dedicated to current affairs, that discusses the different reasons why we do this, said “We don’t trust ourselves to make our own judgements,” meaning that we are never completely satisfied with ourselves, and so we reach out for others to reassure us that we are ‘good enough.’

Whether we do it consciously or unconsciously is debatable. Some people depend too much on people’s opinions, while others might not care that much. But we all do it one way or another, from the way we dress for a job interview, to the way we talk at school with people we are not very fond of. Sometimes we might not even notice how often these things might affect the way we act and behave in front of others.

Martha Beck, a columnist for The Oprah Magazine, says that one must “tolerate the anxiety of allowing people to disapprove of you.” Because after all, that’s all we are left with: ourselves. You’re not living your neighbor’s life, but yours instead, and learning how to embrace yourself and feel comfortable in your own skin without having the constant urge to feel validated by others in a society that profits from your insecurities, is something that all of us should have known from the moment we were born, that we are good enough.