Do you frequently feel like you go unrecognized? Do you always need of Approval? Do you think about things a lot, and is it difficult for you to make decisions? Do you say things you don’t want to, or that you don’t feel? Do you feel offended when someone tells you their opinion or point of view? When you do or say something, are you waiting for someone else’s reaction? Are you waiting all the time to see “if they liked it or not”? If so, it’s more than likely that you need to develop more security in yourself, because the majority of time your world revolves around outside approval.
Why do I feel the need for approval?
Ever since we were little, feeling approval was a fundamental factor for the development of our security. However, the approval that we needed didn’t easily forgive, nor was it permissive, ambiguous, or probable, but we needed approval that gave us security. This would be developped by the firmness of character of the adult who educated us. A father that approves everything cannot transmit nor develop any character strength in the child. A firm father, not a hard nor authoritarian, but firm in his convictions, can establish limits that give the child confidence.
A firm attitude is the key for developing security, because through firmness, we can awaken our character strength, and show things we do not agree with and things that we do. Firmness really doesn’t emphatically approve nor disapprove, but helps to value, think about, consider, and learn to make decisions and express yourself with authenticity and personal value.
Someone who is authoritarian will express their disgust or disapproval as: “What you did was very bad”, “you shouldn’t have…”, “You are rude, bad, stupid, etc.”, “it seems like you don’t understand”, etc. There will be anger and tactics, protest, orders, etc., in the tone of their voice. The authoritarian could also act with cold indifference, or make disapproving looks or gestures. To be authoritative, very critical and/or to mock, promotes insecurity.
Firmness, on the other hand, handles things smoothly. It speaks without anger nor criticism, it never makes anyone feel ridiculous. It values the experience as an act of learning, and proposes dialogues that allow for reflection. It does not command, but suggest, rather. It doesn’t take back, but invites the creation of options. There is a friendly, comprehensive, and peaceful tone in the voice.
Develop your interior security
Firmness is a smooth track, a fundamental attitude for developing security. If you would like to begin to develop your security, you will have to begin by being firm with your own self, and not authoritative nor severe. This might be difficult for you to do with yourself because while you were growing up, you were surrounded by people that could have sent you lots of disapproving messages in authoritative ways. So you learned to do the same with yourself. If you observe when you talk to yourself, or when something doesn’t turn out like you had wished, you then usually assume authoritative attitudes with yourself.
If you are very insecure, it is very likely that you have learned very well from when you were a child, that you needed to behave as someone you weren’t, nor how you felt, in order to gain approval and love from others. So it is very likely that now you constantly fight yourself between the idea of who you want to be, and who you should be. This makes you frequently assume complacent attitudes that you don’t like, and that make you want to remove yourself from people who you think don’t allow you to be who you are.
One way to begin to create more security in yourself, and to stop depending on foreign approval, is to begin daring to be yourself. You will begin to see reactions that provoke this “be you” in your life. Dare to say what you want, what you don’t want, what you like or don’t like, and try to stop falling into attitudes that you don’t truly feel. If you need to make a decision and don’t really know which is the best alternative, decide on the one that is most difficult for you, or which one challenges you most, because this will help you clarify your interior orientation. When you make the decision, don’t judge the results; learn from them. It is also important that you learn to respect your word once you’ve made a decision. Give yourself time to consider, and after you’ve given your word, follow through. And let your mind wander if what you decided was good or not. Do what you decided without faltering. This will strengthen your interior security, and your mind will be nourished by whatever the results are.
Fear of losing?
One of the things that stops this daring, is that a lot of times you think that by doing something, you will loose love, respect, confidence, or admiration from people that don’t even interest you. However, you must always remember that it is more worthwhile to gain your own friendship, comprehension, and admiration, than anyone else’s. If you can feel satisfied and content with who you are, you will no longer need it from others, and it is just then when you will begin to receive it from everyone around you.