“As long as you look for someone else to validate who you are by seeking their approval, you are setting yourself up for disaster. You have to be whole and complete in yourself. No one can give you that. You have to know who you are – what others say is irrelevant.”― Nic Sheff
We live in a time and age where my facebook timeline defines my achievements, my “fun” moments and the number of likes and comments measures my self-worth. The more virtual friends I have, the more likes my pictures get, proves my popularity. This virtual persona of mine gives me that “high”, that “buzz” to get through the monotony called life.
So many times it makes me wonder are our egos that fragile, that a random person whom we haven’t met in a decade (at least) giving us a thumbs up makes or breaks our day? Have we diminished ourselves to being slaves to other peoples’ opinions on our lives?
And this phenomenon, this need to be accepted, to be approved by others, this is just the symptom. The root cause, however, lies farther back. From the early days of our childhood we are surrounded by people who applaud anything and everything we do. It might be the simple act of standing up or learning to eat on our own. We are adored, we are made to feel special and unique. As time goes by the appreciation diminishes slightly coming out only at times such as our school report days and sports achievements. By the time we reach adulthood it is taken for granted, ‘You’ve figured out your life, you don’t need me to say good job anymore.’ But that craving for public approval is never gone. Because we are not taught to look at ourselves for who we are, instead we look at ourselves through the eyes of others.
“Why should we worry about what others think of us, do we have more confidence in their opinions than we do our own?”
– Brigham Young
So suddenly, even the most successful of people feel rather incomplete without showcasing their achievements online. Exotic travelers feel that their journeys are incomplete without the mandatory “selfie” at every nook and turn. What we all seek is validation for our actions from other people. It is this deep-rooted belief in our minds that unless somebody else tells me I am successful, I am fun, I am beautiful, I am not.
We measure our self-esteem, our self-worth, our whole bloody lives for that matter based on other people’s opinions of us. Our self-image of being this “Happy, gorgeous and accomplished” person depends on literally a public polling.
But what if we break that cycle. Take control of that desperate need of being acknowledged by everybody. And simply look at ourselves for who we are. In other words introspect. Break away from the trappings of the community, look in the mirror and ask ourselves, “Am I happy being me? Have I achieved what I wanted? Is my life fulfilling enough for me?” And most importantly, “Do I love ME??”
“You yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe, deserve your love and affection”
As long as you love yourself and spend time doing the things that matter to you, what everybody else says is simply immaterial. I truly believe it should be “me” who determines my parameters of happiness, victory, progress, prosperity and even failures and losses. Because my story is my own to write and I am the Hero of it. Everybody else is at the sidelines simply waiting and watching with no active role to play neither in my glory nor in my defeat. So I shouldn’t allow them to flatter me and raise me on a pedestal made of cards where I know I don’t deserve to stand. Nor should I allow them to drag me through the dirt because I don’t live up to their expectations.
Simply put, don’t let anybody else shake your faith in yourself, about your personal or professional life, about the goodness of your heart, about your abilities or even about your looks. Let your mind guide you and I guarantee you it will always take you to the right path. Because your story is not meant to be like anybody else’s, it is meant to be as beautiful and flawed and rich as your soul. So, breathe in, cut yourself some slack and be the best version of you. That’s all it takes. 🙂