We all have insecurities and we all look for validation from others whether we'd like to admit it or not.
It often starts in our early life when we feel the need to fulfil the expectations imposed on us by our parents. Later, it escalates into seeking approval of our physical appearance and behaviour by our peers and partners and eventually, the need to appeal to our colleagues & superiors at work might also come into play.
This search for validation becomes addictive and we quickly develop a need for more. But what's really scary about this is the fact that we're letting other people take control over how we feel about ourselves by allowing them to define whether we are pretty enough or smart enough. This is beyond wrong, I mean, how can we value the opinion of others above our own?!
Moreover, constantly seeking validation makes receiving disapproval a very painful experience and stops us from moving forward and aiming for our goals. Ultimately, you sacrifice your ambitions in order to have others' approval and fail to take any decisive action on your own.
This is something that can and must be stopped if you want to be happy in your life and successful professionally as the habit can easily sabotage both. Although it's less likely to happen overnight, small steps can be taken every day to learn how to care less about what others think.
I, myself, have only learned how to really let go at the age of 20. It took me a while but then again, there are people who spend their entire lives trying to please others. Not to say that I put a total end to it - we all have days when we feel the need to be told how appreciated, pretty or smart we are. That being said, I have overcome about 90% of the habit.
My route to both, realising and eliminating the problem began with the following wise words that I read on someone's Tumblr page (thanks, stranger): ''Criticism is something you can easily avoid by saying nothing, doing nothing, being nothing'' - Aristotle.
Think about it; not everyone will like you, just like you don't like everyone and that's okay. There will always be haters and criticism aimed your way but at the end of the day, who are you living for if not for yourself? You are the only person responsible for your own happiness.
You are valuable, you are unique, you are enough.
I strongly stand by what I said above but there is just one more thing worth a mention.
Sometimes we engage in approval seeking behaviours without even realizing it and in some instances, they may actually become useful. But only on condition that these situations do not occur too often.
Also, I am strictly referring to making a suitable compromise or letting people have it their way as long as it does not put us in a passive position or at a disproportionate loss.
Other than that, the rule is simple - always stay true to yourself.