The approval of others
I tend to be inspired to write blog posts by things around me and by things that have happened to me, and that has then provoked me into some deep thinking. A couple of days ago, I was quite upset to hear that someone had said something really disrespectful about me. As I’ve mentioned before, I have anxiety. So when I get upset, I feel things in a big way. But I had some thinking time and a packet of doughnuts, and by the time the box was empty, I realised something.
Since when has the approval of others bothered me?
When I was in high school, I did care. Like everyone else. I was picked on for not doing the right things and acting the right way. I began to care less and less until, by the time I was about sixteen or so, I just wasn’t bothered. I remember this guy once came up to me and asked me why I didn’t wear makeup. And he was so adamant that I should wear makeup. That was a turning point for me because I turned round to him and was like “Well, why should I? If I don’t want to wear makeup, I don’t have to.”
It’s true, you just don’t have to conform to what everyone else wants you to do. Because what will happen if you don’t? They’ll just talk about you? There’s literally no life ending situation if you don’t conform to the expectations of others.
Well, unless you aren’t wearing a helmet at a building site or something. Some things are just common sense.
With social media, it’s so easy to get caught up in wanting other people’s approval. Likes, hearts, retweets. It’s easy to get caught up in that good feeling when someone approves of your photo. It has even been scientifically proven to release endorphins. Whilst it is good in doses to share photos and see that people enjoy them, there’s a line between that and just uploading photos for the sake of getting other people’s approval. I enjoy uploading photos onto Instagram as much as the next person, but I genuinely enjoy just making my feed all pretty, and am not too fussed if people love it or hate it.
This attitude can be transferred over to real life as well. In the professional world, it’s really good to be able to receive praise and feedback. It helps you constructively learn about what you’re doing well and what you need to improve on. It definitely helps to have a thick skin with this, because whilst it can be easy to cling onto your ‘baby’ and not want anyone to hurt it, most of the time people are just giving you comments to help you improve. In this sense, listening to other people’s approval and thoughts is useful.
But what’s not useful is listening to people being spiteful, and taking people’s unnecessary thoughts about you and the way you act to heart. When taking praise and feedback, it’s just worth taking things with a pinch of salt. Not everyone’s approval and thoughts of you are in your best interest, and that’s okay. At the end of the day, so long as you’re happy, that’s all that truly matters.