It is human nature to feel accepted and have feelings of being liked and validated. After all, humans have evolved to live better in groups. As we evolved, the instinct to feel more involved with the people around us and seek their assurance grew, too. The need to feel validated is in our DNA; however, sometimes, it can get very overwhelming.
Often, we tend to care less about what we think of ourselves and more about what others think of us. This can make us slaves to validation, which is not only unhealthy but also toxic. The need to feel validated and accepted takes a toll on us, and we become the versions of ourselves that we aren’t. We put on masks to please people rather than caring about what we like and want. Things lead to things, and in no time, we become people-pleasers.
What people think about us makes us feel more concerned about becoming a version of ourselves that they like. This way, we develop an irrational and toxic obsession with being “good” enough. While, to some extent, it is a good thing that can help us become better, we sometimes become too indulged in it to be ourselves.
To overcome this irrational obsession, we need to take active steps to live life according to our values and principles rather than those of other people.
“Care about what other people think, and you will always be their prisoner” –Lao Tzu
Prioritize Your Values
Let’s look at life this way; the way you live life is shaped by your values and beliefs. When other people’s values come into your life, you live life according to their needs, not yours. To avoid this, explore yourself and find what beliefs or values you need to prioritize in your life. Values affect your way of living because when you know you are true to your values, no one can control you.
For example, if you value consistency and willpower, you would still go to the gym every day, even when you don’t want to or don’t have the appropriate clothes. This way, our values shape our lives. To find your values, look into yourself and ask yourself what you want to incorporate into your way of living. Then, prioritize your values over anyone else’s. After all, this is your life, not theirs.
Realize That No One Is Perfect, and Everyone Makes Mistakes
We often get embarrassed when we think we are doing something that people may not like or doing something in a way that’s not right. This can stop you from trying new things and, ultimately, growing as a person. To tackle this problem, you need to understand that no one is perfect, and everyone makes mistakes to grow. Without errors, no one would become the person they want.
When you make mistakes, you might see people making fun of you. You might think to yourself, “Am I doing something wrong?”. Know that you aren’t. Making mistakes is a part of the growth process and helps you develop into the person you want to be. Making mistakes without caring about other people is one of the best things you can do to stop worrying about what they think. So, make mistakes and learn throughout the process; after all, mistakes are what shape us.
To get to know more about yourself, you need to be a critic of yourself. Facing disapproval can help you become more of the person you want to be. In addition, vulnerability enables you to develop a habit of being open to new ideas and new things in general. Mastering vulnerability is a skill that can be learned by practicing. So, take criticism and learn to improve yourself. This can help you find out the areas you lack in and the areas you are strong in.
While mastering vulnerability, remember to stay true to your values. We sometimes get so lost in criticism that we forget we have values of our own, values that we have to remain true. So, a balanced system of vulnerability and values makes you the person you want. It helps you grow and develop as you take criticism to improve yourself at the same time.
Be Your Friend
Let’s think of it in this way; is there someone who knows you better than yourself? There certainly isn’t. You are aware of all your values, belief, boundaries, and vulnerabilities. You know yourself better than anyone else does. Still, you are hard on yourself. It creates an imbalance within your personality, which leads you to hate yourself and criticize yourself for the things you don’t need criticism for.
To be your friend, talk to yourself, keep a list of all the things that matter to you, know that no one else controls you but you, and stay true to yourself. Doing all of this can make you realize that you are trying your best and doing as much as possible. When you do this, you feel appreciated and that too, by yourself. This increases your self-esteem, which helps you ignore the baseless opinions of others on yourself. So, even when someone pulls you down, you remember to keep yourself up.
People can make your life hard, but it happens only when you let them do so. Don’t take their demoralization by heart, and learn to love yourself. In the long run, you will be there for yourself. Ensure that you try implementing the steps mentioned above in your life to become the best version of yourself and accept no one’s irrelevant opinions about you.