Approval-seekers feel a necessity to put themselves in a better light than they really are. Because they try to hide their faults, they are nervous about others finding out what they’re really like. Their situation is like that of a spy in enemy territory.
If, however, they are honest about their mistakes and faults, they will be much more relaxed. They will also find that others behave more positively toward them for their honesty.
While it is not worthwhile to go to the opposite extreme and tell everyone you meet about your faults, if you stop being defensive about your faults, you will live a more serene life.
-from Rabbi Zelig Pliskin’s Gateway to Happiness, p.269
Repeat to yourself slowly and calmly again and again, even hundreds of times, “I do not need the approval of others,” or, “What others think of me does not make a difference.”
Contemplate these thoughts until you start to internalize them. Repetition will help you integrate them. Realize that you may have repeated many thousands of times the need for approval of others. Counteracting these takes many repetitions.
-from Rabbi Zelig Pliskin’s “Gateway to Happiness,” p. 289
ME: Especially with the contentiousness going on in social media at the moment (well, really at all times), this is an important message. Celebrities and other pundits don’t have control of your life, thus their opinions about those who disagree with their pronouncements mean less than nothing.
Frequently people worry about the possibility that others might fail to show them respect and approval. While details differ for each person, the underlying factor is fear of disapproval — people might think you lack intelligence, or other virtues and abilities.
Realize that the pain you suffer from worrying about this is much greater than that of actual disapproval.
Try to accept the worst. Imagine that every person who sees you will have a low opinion of you. Emotionally accept this. Once you’ve accepted this, although you might not like it, you will no longer need to worry about lack of approval.
-from Rabbi Zelig Pliskin’s “Gateway to Happiness,” p.163
On the web and especially in the world of social media opinion, it’s easy to get caught up in everyone’s approval or disapproval, depending on who you are or where you stand on certain issues. In the end though, the Rabbi is right. Whether someone approves or disapproves of you is hardly relevant compared to how you let it affect you. No one can tell you who you are or that you are unworthy unless you let them. Don’t let them.