"Instead of reaching for applause outside, reach for 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. Maybe this is experienced through receiving an acknowledgement or compliment from someone for something that we had done. When this happens, it can make us feel that we are "worthy" of being loved, making us feel as if our hard work has been well recognized rather than ignored.
However, when we become attached to the need to be approved we can end up on a path of suffering. We can end up looking for ways to make ourselves better just for the applause, for instance, pursuing fame, trying to be likable and so forth. From the outside, such Self-Improvement can be seen as a beneficial thing but on the inside, when the desire to Improve is driven by the fear of being rejected then it can ultimately lead one down on a path towards 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 can we not simply be happy with ourselves as is?
If we try to trace the beginnings of the need to self-approval we can trace it back to the times of childhood. For instance, the things that we did to gain the approval of our parents.
However, from a deeper perspective, as one looks within one will discover that it is the lack of Self-Acceptance that one has for oneself that has created such a need/desire. And these mental complexes have simply surfaced / brought out by the experiences that we have gone through in life. So basically, it was already there to begin with when we were born.
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.
Do you often feel like you are not doing good enough?
When we lack self-approval, we can easily fall into the belief that people have abandoned us because of our failures. And this belief often will not reflect reality properly, because all negative states of mind will only make one view the world in a negative way. People may still love us, but our own disapproval of ourselves can lead us to imagine that we've been abandoned by others. Thus when we cannot accept ourselves unconditionally, it will create the imagination that others will judge ourselves in the same way. Such is the illusion created by the negative states of the mind.
Do you often feel like people have abandoned you?
Thus the issues of approval can create confusing states of illusion where the reality is replaced by the imagination.
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.
Do you often do things to fulfil other people's expectations of you?
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 journey of developing Self-Acceptance is about transforming the Negative Idea from "It is not ok to be unique/strange" -> "It is ok to be unique/strange"
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 as that can be easier. Often the lack of approval from others exists only in the imagination, which is fueld by our lack of acceptance towards ourselves, so through honestly expressing ourselves to others it will allow one to gain real experiential insight to see whether or not one's fears are justified or is it simply an illusion. Either way, by going through the experience of expressing ourselves honestly, the experience will always be transformative. Because if the Other Self does really reject us, then the experience will present an opportunity for us to develop even greater Self-Acceptance and learn how to overcome that hurt with unconditional love.
For the mind which carries the positive declaration, one will not care whether one does something wrong or strange 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.”
The journey is balanced through moving also towards the opposite declaration - "It is ok to be ordinary"
Develop Experienced Knowledge
Every time you experience “disappointment” from other people or when you feel like a “failur,e” 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?”
And look within for the answers to help you to refine the Self-Knowing.
The Creator's Meditation / VipassanaLink 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 can 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.
Know and Transform The Self!
Use the 10 Day One-Self Catalyst to develop Self-Acceptance at the deepest level of the mind. This will help you to know what it is that you are truly rejecting in yourself and others. Once you can accept yourself and others for who they are, then you will no longer feel the need for approval from anyone.