Do Not Depend on Others for Approval, Instead Love Yourself!
Annette Nay, Ph.D.
Copyright © 2001
I do not have many friends. The ones that I though were my friends make excuses for not being able to do things with me or they forget. I am shy and it is really hard for me to reach out to others. Its hard for me to trust them. I find that I am always trying to impress others to get them to like me.
What should I do?
Dear Trying to Impress,
You may be blowing things out of proportion. People forget, especially when they get into or past their forty's. People also have a million obligations and really can't be with you even though they would like nothing better. So cut them some slack and keep trying to find ways to share yourself with them. This may be a short phone call, e-mail, or a note in the mail telling them your thinking of them, helping them with tasks, taking over dinner when they are under the weather, or taking the children for the evening so they can have a date night with their sweetheart. When you loose yourself in service you will find you are much happier.
Another and more important point here is approving of yourself! One of the hardest things is to really like ourselves for who we are and do for ourselves the things we need to do, despite what others may think.
Here is a story that you may have heard that will illustrate this point.
There was an old man and his young son who were taking their donkey to market. When they started their travels to town they were leading the donkey on a rope. As they got closer to town they came upon people coming from the town. As they passed the old man he heard them chide him for making his son walk all the way to town when he could ride on the donkey. The old man, thinking that he had indeed done something wrong, quickly put his son upon the back of the donkey.
As they got nearer to town more people passed them. The man heard these people saying, "Oh that wicked boy making his poor old father walk, when he is so young and able. The father should be riding the donkey." So the father, not wanting the boy to be put down by the crowds, got on the donkey behind his son.
Small crowds continued to pass by them and the man overheard someone say, "Oh that poor donkey! How can they make the poor beast take them both all the way to town." The old man quickly removed his son and himself from the back of the donkey and he and his son again began to lead the donkey into town.
Having Multiple Sclerosis has taught me a great deal about making good choices. One of those was to finishing my Master's classes by laying on the floor with a blanket and pillow or giving it up and laying around at home. I learned to do what I had to do for my own sake, no matter what other people thought. I was glad that I gained the strength to do that. I was really pleased when one of my fellow counseling professionals/students joined me for a couple of weeks on the floor because of a bad neck/back injury. We felt like we were in kindergarten again. It was a riot. The bottom line was that wherever I was I learned to do what was necessary to help myself, no matter what others thought. Now, I do not care what others think of me. Instead of being so busy wondering what others will say/think or doing things to win their approval, I do what I know I should do.
Basically we are here to learn to like and love ourselves. We can do this by working to become strong capable people who are the best we can be at this time, and improving, a step at a time.
Since I have been working to become a better person mentally-education, physically-eating right & exercising, socially-enjoying others, emotionally-good mental health, and spiritually-having the Lord with me throughout my day, I learned to love myself. I want to take care of me, for me, so there is something I can give to others. You can't please other's all the time, so please your God/HP and yourself and the rest takes care of itself.
Set goals that will help you to grow mentally, physically, socially, emotionally, and spiritually and obtain them. By small steps great things can be accomplished! See
my article How to
Set Goals and Obtain Them.