How to stop seeking approval and validation from other people.
Feeling disconnected from what you're doing with your life? Maybe you're doing it for other people's approval instead of for what really matters to you.
There’s a video on the internet at the moment of a busker in London who dresses like Jimmy Hendrix, and plays a mix of Wu Tang and Metallica.
He’s super talented and really fun to watch and what I took away from it was how great and important it is to do what you do for yourself and to have fun with it.
That’s not to say that what you do shouldn’t benefit others, and there’s nothing wrong in having your motivation be to be of service to other people. But if your motivation is to receive the validation of other people then the longevity and fulfilment of what you’re doing is unstable.
It’s so important to feel connected to what you’re doing, to love it and have fun.
So many of us fall into the trap of doing things with our lives because we think it’s what we’re supposed to do, or that it’s expected of us. If this is our main reason for doing it, at some point we’ll feel disconnected, unfulfilled and unhappy. If you ask me, life is just too short for that!
What I really loved about watching Lewis Floyd Henry (the busker) was A) the courage that it takes to sit out on the street and make your art for an audience that will most likely totally ignore you. You might get some that like you and you might get some that hate you. Either way, you’re publicly leaving yourself open to all possible reactions. B) The fact that he clearly loves what he does, he’s having fun and being himself and I just love to see people being authentically themselves. And C) He didn’t seem to have any expectations. There was no end to his actions other than the enjoyment he felt from playing. People watching or chucking him a few coins just seemed like the cherry on top, but the main goal was getting to express himself and have fun doing what he loves and sharing it with the world. He gives 100% regardless of who’s watching because he’s in the zone doing his thing (at least that’s what I took from it anyway).
How amazing would it feel to embody the essence of your gifts and talents all the time, even if it’s just a little bit. Even if it’s when you’re relaxing or doing something totally unrelated?
I think what it means to do that is to be able to identify what it is that brings you joy and gets you in flow and amplify that part of your personality so that it’s always part of you, it’s always there as an anchor to your truest self reminding you to do things and create your life as an authentic extension of who you really are.
Because when you can do that you shine, you help the world in a way thats completely unique to you, you embrace the special mix that is you and no one else and in doing so you allow yourself to feel true fulfilment and happiness on a level you won’t feel if you continue to do things because it’s what you think you should do, or because someone tells you its the right way.
When you can embrace your authenticity fully people will pay attention, but that can’t be the only reason you do it. The reason needs to be because it’s you, you authentically and uniquely being you and sharing that with the world because there’s only one of you and there’ll never be another so don’t hide it underneath the person you think you should be.
Live as the person you are, the person you want to be because its true to you not because it fits into a mould you’ve been taught you should fit into. If you do that you run the risk of regretting it and it might be too late by then. So don’t waste your gift of being here on this earth, of being you because no one else can do it.
If you only do things because someone’s engaging, paying attention or benefitting in some way then you’ll only be doing what they want. You risk feeling crappy if they don’t like it and you’ll end up crafting only what you think they’ll like, which is inauthentic and you’ve lost that part that comes from you.
Again, there’s nothing wrong with doing things for other people, but the way you do it is important. You could be providing a service or not but when you embody your true self you inspire other people to do the same and that leads to happiness, fulfilment and success for them too.
Doing things for other people is fantastic and amazing and I’m all about kindness and compassion for each other, but what I’m getting at here is that there’s a difference between doing things to help people and doing things to get the approval or validation from them.
Doing things to help people is a way to share what you have and what better way to do that than to be the fullest and truest expression of your authentic self? There’s more to share that way!
Doing things because we feel we need to in order to fit in or to gain approval is relying on other people or external factors to fill us up, which is unsustainable.
We fill ourselves up by allowing ourselves to fully be us, by getting to know ourselves like we get to know a friend. What do we love, what do we value, what makes us laugh, feel happy, joyful, fulfilled, frustrated, passionate etc? What’s important to us, what do we believe in, who do we want to be and how can we make that happen?
It’s like metaphorically filling our own glass of water from our own tap, instead of topping it up from other people’s glasses.
You’ve got this!