Many of us tend to judge our worth by the number of friends we have. However, this is
not always an accurate assessment. It can be tiring to keep up with your lunch dates and Christmas card lists, particularly when you have friends who are judgmental that you can’t be yourself with.
Take some time to evaluate your friendships. Are there people you spend time with who drain you? They fill you up with their pessimism and problems yet refuse to turn any advice into action? Do they tend to be negative about things that you do or they do? Do you constantly feel like a phony when you’re interacting with them, and watch the clock until sufficient time has passed so you can excuse yourself from the conversation?
Friends are wonderful to have, but some friendships just aren’t worth cultivating. The next time you find yourself trapped in an awkward situation and are afraid to voice your true thoughts, try speaking your mind anyway. It’s likely that one of two things will happen: either the person you’re talking with will be interested in your opinion and you’ll find the conversation moving into genuine territory, or you will notice a sudden drop in temperature and hear those excuses you usually make to escape come from the other person. If the case is the former, you have improved your relationship and can relax around the person. If it’s the latter, you have just rid yourself of an unnecessary drain on your energy and positive thought process.
There is nothing wrong with ending friendships that just aren’t working out. Chances are, the other person will be just as relieved as you are, and you will both be able to strengthen the relationships you have with true friends. Freeing yourself from damaging relationships helps you kick the approval habit when you no longer have to “fake it” to get along with anyone.
Your Relatives May Surprise You
It’s one thing to sever relationships with friends, but quite another to do the same with family. Most of us are raised with the idea that family is important, and we tend to be more forgiving of family members as well as seek their approval for our actions more often. We are afraid to be ourselves around family members; often because people change, and we fear our close relatives won’t like the changes that come into our lives.
So we are forced to continue acting as if we are the same people we were five, ten, or fifteen years ago. This produces an uncomfortable relationship at best, and can lead to estrangement or avoidance if left unchecked.
Try to keep in mind that just as you are forgiving of your family members’ collective flaws and personality quirks, they will be forgiving of yours. When you truly care about someone, you accept them for who they are and don’t judge them on the basis of their thoughts, opinions and habits. Why wouldn’t your family extend the same courtesy to you?
Being yourself and not requiring approval from your family may be even more important than doing so with friends. We tend to derive the basis of our self-security level from our interactions with our family, and if we cannot be comfortable around family, that sense of false security spreads into all areas of our lives. If you’ve been hiding some aspect of your personality or belief system from your family out of fear they won’t accept you, try easing into your own opinions gradually. You may be surprised to discover that the people who care about you are more accepting than you think. Sometimes, they may have been practicing the same guarded emotional stance as you, and will be just as relieved when it’s finally out in the open.
In any case, you don’t need approval from even your family for the things you want to accomplish. Though it is more difficult to exclude a family member from your life, if it is more damaging to include them, perhaps you should consider putting some distance between yourself and the destructive family member. Many people are content with agreeing to disagree, and in time both of you may come to an understanding. Meanwhile, don’t let your need for approval overshadow your need to be you. Please yourself first, because no one else is going to do it for you.
From my heart to yours,
Troubled by your mindset?
If you’re having issues getting your mindset to a place you’re happy with, have a chat to someone you trust about it, like a a friend or teacher. Otherwise, we are available to have a chat with you. We will work with you to help you understand what’s going on and figure out how to improve things. Just contact us through the website for more information and services available.