Paying some attention to other’s opinion of us can help refine our character. However, worrying too much about these opinions to the extent that we start to lose our identity or self-esteem, or find it hard to express ourselves freely, is unhealthy.
As highly social and emotional animals, we humans thrive on being liked and accepted by others, and that’s okay – provided these validations don’t become absolutely fundamental to our growth, success, choices and, ultimately, happiness.
Here are five fail-safe ways to avoid being stifled by validation worries
Know your values and be guided by them
Sometimes, people will judge us based on their own outlook to life. Their perception of us will be coloured by what matters more to them in life – their values.
For example, when it comes to relationships and friendships, I have always been a quality-over-quantity kind of person. I prefer to have a few good friends, or none at all, than have many friends whom I can’t rely on or whose values are completely different from mine.
Therefore, for example, if I start to work in a new organization or join a new social group, chances are that I would be perceived as aloof initially, whereas I’m only taking my time to know and, possibly, attract people with similar values and interest.
Focus on Self Improvement
No matter what we say, do or achieve, we will never be everyone’s cup of tea.
Therefore, instead of seeking individual validation, it’s wiser to focus on generally being better versions of ourselves.
Self-improvement builds self-esteem and a healthy self-esteem helps us depend less on other people’s acceptance.
Be more temperate in your judgement of others
No one is perfect and we should always let that guide us in our judgement or criticisms of others.
If we make a habit of being so querulous and intemperate when judging people, it’s normal to expect them to not be so kind to us when we, too, falter.
So, if you find yourself always worrying about people’s opinion of you, it’s probably because you’re usually stinging in your criticism of others.
I love what Mark Manson wrote about judging ourselves and others.
Recognize the Malcontents
Some people will always malign us based on their character or just to deflect attention from their own failings. Therefore, we should learn to never take their criticisms to heart.
When someone judges you, it isn’t actually about you. It’s about them and their own insecurities, limitations, and needs – Lulu
For example, a user: if you have one of these guys as a close friend, be prepared for regular criticisms, as it is one of their main weapons of manipulation – you accede to their requests nine times, they criticize you from the mountain top on the 10th occasion that you are not able to help them or give them what they asked for.
The key to dealing with them is to develop a thick skin to their antics, with a view to defining your relationship or doing away with them altogether in the long term.
Read Also: 8 Reasons You Are Vulnerable To Toxic People
Find an accountability buddy
Not every criticism is toxic and should be discarded. As I mentioned at the top of this article, feedback, if well conveyed and equally well processed, can help refine our character and push us to succeed.
Sometimes, to get a credible sense of our image or when we are about to make a far-reaching decision, it’s vital to have someone whose assessment we can trust and who is equally not afraid to constructively point out our mistakes. With that, we can be more confident about our actions or make amends when necessary and worry less about the criticisms afterwards.
Be kind to yourself
Life is challenging enough, so, we don’t need to make it any harsher by worrying about people’s opinion of us. We need to develop a healthy level of self-love; we need to be generally kinder to ourselves.