The Drug of Approval

Do you judge your FB posts by the number of likes they get?  Are you more liked by others than your colleagues?  Are you stressed out over what others think of you?  Is wearing the right brand name important to you?  If you answered “Yes” to any of these questions I would like to offer a simple truth – you are not here to be liked!  Furthermore you are not here to be loved, admired, cuddled, put on a pedestal, hugged at every possible occasion and told how wonderful you are.  I know how this sounds but you kind of need to hear it.  As someone who helps people reduce stress in their lives, I much too often encounter people who are addicted to what my friend Lauren E. Miller calls “The Drug of Approval.”

Who doesn’t like being liked?  We all want to walk into a room and have people coming to greet us with a warm smile.  We like to bathe in the comfort of our friendships and know that when the proverbial shit hits the fan someone has got our back.  And that is natural.  What lies beyond it however is the need to be liked and the stress associated with it.  As Lauren points out “Whenever you cling to anything in this life— whether it is a certain response from the world; a relationship; a material item or desired outcome—happiness dies and anxiety increases.”

There is an enormous amount of energy wasted on needing to be liked.  That need places you in a constant state of stress because if you don’t say or do a certain thing that another person likes, then they will not like you back.  Instead of being the authentic you, you tend to carry a heavy bag containing a series of masks just for the right occasion.  You spend your life pretending to be you instead of being you.  And ultimately when you aren’t authentic you won’t feel fulfillment and continue to build up inner resentment.

That’s why it is so important to come to a rather painful, at first conclusion, that you are not here to be liked.  What others think of you does not define you.  As Andy Dooley rightly states “Planet Earth is your playground.  Not everyone is going to LIKE the way you play the game of life.  Don’t change to make them happy.  Find your happy and play full out!”  The outcome of which by the way is that when you are authentic and happy others will like you!

I find it interesting that when we look at our lifetime from a global perspective we tend to notice 3 phases of life.  The beginning, when we are eyes wide open bundles of joy thinking that everyone loves us.  The ending, when we are seniors set in our ways who could care less of what everyone thinks of us.  And the middle, where we are constantly worried about everyone’s opinion.  Isn’t it ironic that we spend the vast majority of our existence in a state of perpetual stress and worry trying to fit in?

So don’t wait!  Get off this stressful cycle and stop needing to be liked.  You aren’t here to be liked, you are here to be YOU!  Go on and be the beautiful, inspirational, loving, kind being that you truly are! Like yourself, love yourself and shine that light onto the world around you!  Do the things that bring you joy no matter how silly they may seem.  Be you, that’s the ultimate goal of existence, for when you are truly you – then magic will permeate throughout your life.

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