I’m doing something different this time. This a post responding to a question on Quora about seeking approval. Below is a screenshot of the question and here is my response to it.
“Don’t let the noise of other’s opinions drown out your inner voice.” Steve Jobs
It is no surprise in today’s social media world where we are seeking approval of other people. We use it to lift ourselves up when many people support our decisions. But when we get nothing but crickets, we begin to despair and get worried.
We begin to ask ourselves particular questions:
Is what we are doing the right thing?
Is it something that others want to see?
We Get Hooked To Approval
In the end, we get addicted to seeking approval and receiving it. In a world where the vast majority of us spend it on social media, our networks and support groups have become those particular areas.
We’ve replaced many things with social media to the point that if social media disappeared at this point we would be utterly lost.
But as much as we depend on it, others depend on it too much. It gets to the point that people, much like the person asking this question, will feel disheartened when they get little likes or none at all.
We vie for attention. It’s is why it’s not out of the ordinary and even humourous when Simon Sinek said:
“Some times we go on facebook and send messages to our friends saying “hi”, “hi”, “hi”, “hi” just to get a response.”
It’s funny in a pretty sad and twisted way.
But getting a response from someone in a message warrants the same reaction as getting a like. We need our fix of dopamine that comes from that. At the same time, that can seriously misfire and cause stress, anxiety, and depression.
How To Break The Spell
So now you have an idea of what’s happening, what can we do about it? And how can we apply the solution in our lives?
For myself, I never had this specific issue in my life per say. As much as I aimed to please people, how I went about it was different. Not only that, but I also didn’t drive myself into depression when I didn’t get attention.
Instead of being a “bootlicker” for every person and basing decisions off of other peoples words it was a bit of a mixture between two things.
Firstly I avoided people. Keeping a small group of friends who never expected anything from me. Together, we avoided our problems and didn’t say anything to rock the boat or cause drama. Furthermore most of my other friends didn’t network with others and pushed others away.
The second thing was I did base my decisions off of peoples words but not the words directed to me. I rationalized peoples outwards thoughts into something logical for me.
By doing these two things, I felt like I was but a shell. I was filled with other peoples thoughts and somewhat twisted by what other people said in the past. All this was done so I would stay on peoples good side. In other words, I thought I earned their approval by agreeing with them silently every time. But also not raising my voice when I actually disagreed.
I stopped thinking this way obviously. How that all happened was when I decided to fill my mind with my own thoughts.
The Turning Point
That honestly is the key when it comes to approval.
The big key to not worry so much about how many likes you get is by stop seeking approval from every person.
As much as people want to have social status, our lives do not revolve around how many likes we get on our posts.
But digging further into this, it’s important for people to determine how they view likes on their statuses or pictures. For many this can determine whether they are attention seekers, people pleasers, or need approval from people.
As soon as you start disassociating yourself from that, you’ll be able to view likes in a different light.
Another good example was my old perception of views on videos.
Several years ago I started a Youtube channel in the hopes of making it big some day. It was only a few months in until I shut that channel down. The big reason for that was I lost interest and thought it wouldn’t get anywhere.
I backed that up with the fact that my videos had so little views.
But when I created the channel I have today, I stopped caring the views.
I pushed through because I replaced my desire for views for a desire to improve myself.
In other words I stopped measuring my accomplishments by the views I got.
Use that tactic. Replace your seeking approval on a Facebook post or Instagram post habit with something else.
When you start to use a different method of measurement, you start to take the control out of the people and start to relay on yourself.
My channel kept growing and I put more effort into my videos because I stopped caring about the views. Instead it came to a vision, something that I still tell people today.
“Even if I get one view, one sale, one anything: I’ll be satisfied. Because at that moment I’ll know I at least changed one persons life slightly for the better.”
Ask yourself how you view your likes right now and make some active changes. Change your perspective on how you view those numbers.
If that perspectives happens to be not caring at all about the numbers, then ask yourself why do you post content?
To your growth!
Eric S Burdon
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