A young friend is going through a crisis of confidence, and is handling it by posting lots of “I don’t need anyone’s approval” messages.
Methinks she protests too much.
We live our lives in community with others, and yes, we crave the approval of some of them. We need one another. We are interdependent, and that’s not necessarily a bad thing. It’s scary sometimes, to be sure, to realize we can’t do everything on our own, that no one is an island. I suppose lashing out is one way of dealing with it.
But here’s another: being honest with ourselves. Admitting that “I feel let down, because I want your approval, and you won’t give it.” Asking ourselves why it matters so much. Allowing ourselves to feel sad, angry, betrayed - and then rallying, picking ourselves up, and moving forward.
It’s unrealistic to think we don’t need others, or can prevent ourselves from being hurt by proclaiming that nobody else matters. Of course they matter - it wouldn’t hurt if they didn’t.
We don’t have to like it, but I think that accepting it is the first step to feeling free. And with time, we make better choices about where we look for approval.