Sympathy, Praise, and Approval

A good friend would often remind me in college to: “Never look to others for sympathy, praise, and approval.” I have never forgotten this and often remind myself of this when I feel a void of appreciation or approval from others.

The thing is, I can be a pleaser, and I hate it. I think it originated when I was a kid. Many times things in our house were chaotic, and I think in order to balance out the chaos, I wanted to make everything happy and calm. I think subconsciously I hoped that my parents would notice me if I was just good all the time. I am not sure that ever really worked. I do not think they had the time or space to think in that way, they were too busy trying to just put food on the table. What became problematic about that is that it never really left me. I have days where I hate that I am such a pleaser, and other days when I think it is fine to want to make others happy.

What is strange is deep down I am confident in myself, and I do not really care what other people think, however, there is a part of me that feels validated by the approval of others. Who does not feel grateful and appreciated by the feedback and approval from others?

So when I read this Daily Om this past week, it really resonated with me. Specifically this line:

“We were not honored as individuals in our own right, with a will and purpose of our own, to be determined by our own unfolding. As a result, we learned to look outside of ourselves for approval, support, and direction rather than look within.”

For the most part I think I look within for direction and approval in my life, but I would like to watch for when I might look to others for sympathy, praise, or support and shift my thought back to my own inner guidance and acceptance.

What do you think?

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