We learn to respond to the expectations of others. Some of us get trapped in this cycle from childhood. Some of us learn later in life by focusing on external values, like money and material things.
We become approval addicts, and live in fear of not receiving it. We adapt to our environments, and put on a costume every day. It’s a costume of approval and a mask that will give us a hit of instant approval gratification. We put our authentic selves in the back of the closet until eventually we forget that it is there.
It is easier to live life this way because we project ourselves from rejection. But through the process, we become what David Brooks calls approval-seeking machines. We live based on the needs and reactions of others and forget who we really are.
Wouldn’t it be better to be surrounded by those who love us for who we are? But the steps to get here are not always easy. It is hard to open the door to rejection. But by opening this door, we also open the door to our own authenticity and allow more genuine relationships to enter our lives.
Live an authentic life and accept that there will be people who may not like you. Because the alternative is a life of constantly pretending to be the person you believe will receive approval from the masses. Pretending is exhausting, and over time, it will become a sort of prison.
“It is better to be hated for what you are than to be loved for what you are not.”