"Instead of reaching for the applause outside, reach for the applause inside"
Approval here is is defined as acknowledging someone’s worth.
We can experience a great joy when we feel that people have approved us for who we are, of making us feel that we are "worthy" of being loved or making us feel like our hard work has been recognized rather than being ignored.
However when we become attached to the need to be approved we can end up on a path where we are always trying to make ourselves “better” so that other people would approve us and maybe we will do it by working on a talent, through working towards a higher paying job, or try to build a reputation or a likable personality. From the outside such Self-Improvement can be seen as a beneficial thing but when the desire to Improve is driven by the fear of being rejected then it can lead one down on a path of Suffering.
This article looks at the Suffering State of mind which can be experienced when The Self pursues such a Path.
Approval In Depth
When we are always seeking ways to seek approval from outside we can forget to ask the following question - why we can’t simply be just happy with ourselves as is?
If we try to trace the beginnings of the need to self-approval we may trace it back to the times of childhood.
However, from the perspective of the soul, as one looks deep within one will discover that it is the lack of acceptance that one has one for oneself that has created such a need/desire for approval. And these issues have surfaced / brought out by the experiences that we have gone through in life. So the issue may have already been there even before birth.
Importance Of Addressing Approval
The need for approval can create suffering experiences. It can make us feel "unsuccessful" and "unworthy." It can make us feel worthless when we do not fulfil other people’s expectations or “our” own expectations of ourselves - for instance when we fail in getting a “good job” or when we underperform in life or when we have let our parents down.
We can come into the belief that people have abandoned us because of our failures. And this belief often will not reflect properly by the fact of reality – people may still love us, but it’s our disapproval of ourselves that can make us imagine that people will abandon us in the same way we have rejected/judged/abandoned ourselves. Such is the illusion created by the negative states of the mind.
Thus the issues of approval can create confusing states of illusion where the reality is replaced by the imagination, all caused by our own criticism of ourselves – and this can lead to a great deal of unnecessary suffering states of great disappointment and abandonment from others.
The unconscious need for approval can also drive us into a path that is not us, doing jobs that we do not like, being in a relationship with someone too soon or for the wrong reasons and caring about things which do not really make us happy just for the sake/hope that others will approve us by meeting their expectations.
Path Of Creator
Approval In Relation To The Path Of Creator
The Path of Self-Transformation is not about constructing a “Perfect Self” so that everyone can approve us. The Path is about developing Self-Acceptance, reaching a state where we can be in a state of contentment and acceptance for ourselves for who we are without the need for approval from others – a state where we can approve ourselves in every moment - even in moments of failure. This is how we move forward on the journey towards greater happiness.
At The Idea Level
As all forms of Sufferings are created by Negative Ideas (Ideas which promote the Rejection of The Self) let us look at the theme of Negative Ideas that are connected with the issues of Approval.
A Possible Negative Mental Declaration
"It is not ok to be unique/strange"
--->I reject myself and others when I am/they are unique/strange
= There will be fear when I appear to to unique/strange because it is not ok.
For the mind which carries this declaration, the person will tend to not show their true selves in fear of being judged.
The transition towards the positive declaration can begin through expressing our thoughts and emotions openly and honestly with our loved ones or with less intimate acquaintances if that is easier. Often the lack of approval from others exists only in the imagination when we have a lack of acceptance towards ourselves, thus by honestly expressing ourselves to others it allows us to gain real experiential insight to see whether or not others will reject us or whether or not it is our fears that has created the illusion. Either way, by going through the experience of expressing ourselves honestly, the experience will be transformative.
For the mind which carries the positive declaration, one will not care whether one does something strange or out of ordinary from what “normal” people would do. The Self would have accumulated the wisdom that when we express ourselves it is not so much about doing it “correctly” but rather it is about doing it “truthfully.”
Learn to see your own worth
Often when we have a lack of self-confidence we may reach for approval outwards and create the belief that our worth is determined by others.
But realize that this mentality comes from the lack of self-approval one has in oneself.
There will be people who will see your worth, and conversely there will be people who will rather choose to criticise you. Realize that it is pointless for you to care so much about other people's negative perceptions of you. Their negativity is their own suffering - not yours.
For example, if we look at historical figures like Jesus, Buddah, Mother Theresa and so forth, these figures all made huge contributions to humanity. Despite being very worthy, all of them have met the same fate of accusations and condemnations from thers because there will always be people who will choose to judge them negatively.
The point here is to realize that no matter how valuable you are, there will always be people who will not value your worth. But there will always be someone who can always approve your worth and that is yourself.
Develop Experienced Knowledge
Every time you experience “disappointment” from other people or when you feel like a “failure” simply ask yourself the question,
“Why do I think that they are rejecting me?”
And then simply realize that this is a reflection of what you are rejecting about yourself. So the proper question would be -
“What is it that I do not accept about myself?”
The Creator's MeditationLink here
The Creator’s Meditation allows one to practice focusing on oneself rather than focusing on how others might see us. To catalyze the development of such focus, one simply focus on the practice of being aware of each part of the body throughout their body journey instead of focusing on one’s wandering thoughts.
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