That someone approves of what you are doing or that you are doing the things you want to do or feel called to do?
You can use this question in any capacity…what you wear, where you live, what you say…it can apply to any choice you are making.
When I teach interpersonal communication training, I always begin the session with a discussion about the “communication gap.”
This is the difference between what someone says and what you think they are saying. It’s the gap between intention and perception as well. One of the primary contributors to this natural issue is image.
Image is who someone wants you to believe they are. Why would we do this (and we all do this a lot when we are younger, and less and less when we are older)? For approval. We want to be liked.
And while this is a natural issue in the human world, I think it’s gotten a bit worse in age of social media, when there is such an emphasis on “Likes.” There is no LIKE BUTTON in the real world.
Life is Not a “Date”
Consider how the dating world works. You have two people getting together who do their absolute best to show the best version of themselves to the other. They look their best, use their best manners, and try to say all the right things. Essentially two images date at first. And if the images like each other, they spend more and more time together, and what eventually happens? They begin to reveal more and more of their true self to the other as the guard comes down so to speak.
In many cases, this leads to the end of the dating! Think about all the time and energy wasted because of the lack of authenticity.
Playing to the Gallery is on a Grander Scale
This phrase comes from a short interview (my friend Tom Holliday sent it to me) I watched with the late David Bowie.
In the interview, he said never play to the gallery, because then your focus is wrong. You are playing for approval.
And he is spot on. The more you TRY to have others approve of you and the things you do, the less authentic you are being because your focus is on what you think they would want of you, instead of being the best version of you in the moment and letting that speak for itself and resonate with who it will resonate with.
Mark Twain said, “Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to reform (or pause and reflect).”
You are unique. You don’t fit a majority in the most important sense. Does the majority truly live the life they want to live?
I believe the answer is emphatically NO. Everyone could. But they don’t.
And one of the biggest reasons for this besides a lack of belief that they could, is that they care too much about what other’s think to step outside of the box. The loss of another’s approval is a price they are unwilling to pay.
I can tell you as a point of deep truth and experience, that living congruently with who you truly are is an amazing way to live and will lead to your best life and your highest contribution.
And you will never lack the right people in your life.
Here’s the simple truth…you get one life to live. You have no idea how long you have.
The closer you are to living congruently with who you really are and doing what is on your heart to do, the better your life will be.
The video has a lot more varied perspective on this topic. I hope you enjoy it.