Seeking ApprovalMay 14, 2018
I once read a quote that really got me thinking by Andrew Carnegie that said, “Do not look for approval except for the consciousness of doing your best.” This quote dug into my brain like a tick. I mulled it over and over. Over the years, what’s driven me to do the things I did? My answers were revealing and I think they’ll help you too.
- Acceptance. I was looking for acceptance. I wanted to fit in and belong. I wanted people to like me so I did things that I thought would get them to do just that.
- Approval. I was looking for approval. I wanted to be validated by others. This is where my self-worth and self-esteem came from.
- Appreciated. I wanted to be appreciated. I wanted others to recognize the contributions I made. This made me feel valuable.
- Impress. I wanted to impress people with my knowledge and ability. I wanted to show off what I could do others couldn’t because it made me feel important.
- Prove. I wanted to prove to people that I could do things. Some of the strongest motivators in my life have come from someone telling me I couldn’t do something.
As I looked at my reasons for doing things, I was surprised and somewhat shocked. They were totally focused on receiving validation from others. When I got the approval and appreciation from external sources, it felt great but was short lived. It was like a drug, I had to have more of it and I worked harder and harder to get that ever elusive high. It was just never enough. I was just never enough.
Then when I read this quote I realized that I need to do things to make me feel good about myself. I no longer need the approval of others. Whether it be learning something new that pushes me to my limits or helping that needs a hand, I do it because I’m becoming a better version of myself. To live a life that I expect from myself, to live my values and to make the most of my time here on earth. Now I’m happier, I feel good about myself almost all the time and it’s awesome! So have you ever taken the time to figure out what makes you do the things you do?