Have you ever worried about what people think about you?

Have you ever felt left out, rejected or alone and in turn put walls up to shield you from the hurt and criticism people so openly offered?

Have you made choices to not do something that you know would make yourself happy and proud just because you’re worried about how some people may react? If so, you’re normal.

Recently though, I’ve started wondering: “If wanting people’s approval is natural and healthy, is it always a good thing?”

A few years ago I started to imagine what life would be like if I didn’t care about other people’s opinions. Would I be self-centered, or would I be free to live a life fulfilling MY true purpose and passions without being held back by a fear of rejection?

Since I was a little girl I’ve cared what people thought about me and was so devastated over and over when people were unkind, judged me without even talking to me and didn’t include me. I would try so hard to make everyone happy and to fit in that I was never truly able to be myself and to be happy about who I was. Looking back, my heart breaks for juniorschool/highschool Sarah .. I tried so hard and if I had known what I know today, I would’ve been SO much better off being 100% me and not giving a damn what anyone thought and if I was accepted or not.

I thought this made me selfless and considerate. While my empathy helped put myself into other people’s shoes, I discovered that my desire for approval and acceptance, had the potential to be one of my most self destructive qualities.

Your happiness cannot be dependent on others, people who are constantly seeking approval can be the most easily manipulated. Many times I felt dissapointment toward others because they crossed my boundaries, and yet I would remain silent. I didn’t want to come across as rude for speaking up about how someone upset me.

When I took an honest look at the situation, though, I had to consider whose fault it was if resentment built up because my boundaries were crossed.

As a writer, I’m constantly in the line of fire of critics and opinions. If I don’t overcome a desire for wanting approval from everyone, then their opinions can stop me from sharing something incredibly helpful with those who’d benefit from my work.

As strange as it sounds, doing things for others can be selfish. The first way to overcome your need for approval  is to be gentle with yourself. Wanting to feel connected with others is normal. It’s only an issue when it’s imbalanced with other priorities like having boundaries.

I’ve started asking myself,  “Do I want other people’s opinions to have power over me? Would I rather miss out on this opportunity or something that will make me happy than get criticism?” You should ask yourself these questions to and then adjust accordingly!