Stop Looking for Other People’s Approval

Thursday, July 23

By Sydney Jackson

Recently, I had stumbled upon a tweet that really struck a nerve within me.

In short, the tweet states that we should stop needing the approval of those close to us in order to accomplish our goals. This tweet affected me so much because of how relatable and real it was. Growing up, I always felt like I had to prove myself to other people that I was good enough, talented enough, and strong enough to accomplish the things that I wanted. Whenever I would tell my family about my dreams and goals, I was always met with doubt. I would be told that I was being “unrealistic”, “naïve”, “hopeless”, “a lost cause”, etc. It made me question whether or not I was actually cut out to do anything meaningful in the world. It’s even worse when you are a creative person and having everyone around you tell you that art is dead and that pursuing a more practical career with longevity is the way to go. As a result, I became extremely insecure.

It took me a while, and still is, to become more confident and self-reliant. I just turned 19 and the one thing that I want to gain before my twenties is to be more self-righteous and to stop explaining myself. As I have grown and been exposed to “toxic parenting” and just toxic environments in general, I have learned that the way people treat you is mainly just them projecting how they feel about themselves. When someone projects, it is usually because they have some underlying insecurity or personal struggle that they have not healed from, so they take it out on you. This behavior is most common in parents, typically mothers. If the parent never amounted to anything unique or significant when they were young for whatever reason, they might take it out on their child who may be doing better than him/her. As a result, it creates a cycle of insecurity, self-doubt, passive aggressiveness, and toxicity between the parent and child. This behavior can also occur between friends, strangers, and even lovers.

The best way to break this cycle and ultimately end this behavior in the future is for the affected party to just simply: not give a darn about the opinions of others. Basically, understanding that every individual is capable of achieving great things and that you do not need approval from anyone to go after what you want will make life much more exciting. As kids, we tend to depend on our parents for everything, even their love and acceptance. It can be hard to break away from that dependence as we get older, but the sooner we do it the better. Once we learn that we do not need our parents’ approval, we stop looking for the approval of other people. It also means that we do not always have to share what we are doing, either. Learning how to move in silence and practicing how to “walk the talk” can improve confidence exponentially. Just like you would not share every single detail about your life on the internet, you shouldn’t in real life either. It is much more noble to actually act on your goals and ambitions than to just talk about it. Talk is cheap and words can only take you so far.

Having the courage to make moves without telling other people and letting your achievements speak for themselves, is a major flex. This is not to disrespect your parents or the ones that love you. Sometimes advice and constructive criticism is needed to avoid irreversible decisions. As a young adult, there are times where I need my parents to step in and tell me what I should do. But I also know that I am my own person and I can make decisions for myself by myself. You also have this right as well. You should respect your parents and learn to have compassion and empathy for them, no matter how flawed they are. However, you do not have to be like them and therefore are not a clone of them. You are allowed to be your own person.

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