4 Ways to Unleash Your True Self

How to become self-approved and show your true self

Profile photo of Jose Ramos - | 61 Aha! comments | Posted in category: Self Improvement

4 ways to unleash your true self

I want people to like me. I want to be accepted. I want my hard work to be recognized and rewarded.

At the right doses, these traits are positive. When the balance tilts too much towards seeking external approval, we experience adverse effects.

We turn up the volume on the judgments and opinions of others. We lose sight of what we want.

We wait for the world to give us permission to take action. We compare ourselves to others.

These behaviors are markers that signal that we’re off-balance. 

Shift from Seeking External Approval to Becoming Self-Approved

The shift from external validation to becoming self-approved doesn’t happen overnight. It’s a process that’s measured in small steps towards becoming the center of your reality.

The shift towards self-approval starts by identifying the habits you want to change. Do you seek external approval?

Do you compare yourself to others? Do you try to live up to the expectations of others? Do you worry too much about what other people think?

Once you’ve identified these behaviors, you can start replacing them with behaviors that look internally for acceptance, validation, and approval.

When you stamp your own approval, you’re not pushed around by outside forces anymore.

You can tilt the scale back into balance by giving yourself green lights, unlocking your authentic self, living your beliefs, and becoming the star of your movie. 

“The people who receive the most approval in life are the ones who care the least about it, so technically, if you want the approval of others, you need to stop caring about it.” Wayne Dyer

1. Don’t Look for External Approval, Give Yourself Green Lights Instead

When we seek approval, we present different versions of ourselves depending on the circumstance. In each scenario, we transform into the person who will be judged favorably.

We try to please everyone in exchange for their approval. Yet, the more we seek approval, the less likely we are to get it.

People can sense when you’re not being your authentic self.

When I drift towards approval-seeking behaviors, I become self-conscious. I over-analyze conversations.

I ask myself questions like, did I talk too much? Should I have voiced my opinion? Was I too loud?

I start holding back my unique personality, quirks, and opinions in the hopes of being liked and accepted. I start asking for permission to do what I want.

For instance, I ask for advice from my friends even when I’ve already decided what to do. Or I’ll wait to see if others agree with my decision before committing.

If you want to learn from the experiences of others, seek their advice. If you just want permission to do what you want, give yourself the green light instead.

Here are a few prescriptions to give yourself green lights:

  • Clearly identify what you want, why you want it, and the price you’re willing to pay to achieve it. Write it down. Read it every day. Keep your hopes, visions, and dreams in the front of your mind.
  • Start making decisions without any outside input. If you want to learn to cook, buy a cookbook and try new recipes without asking your friends for advice on how to get started.
  • For bigger decisions like changing your career or taking a year off to travel, block out the world at the beginning of the process. Get input from friends, family, and mentors after you’ve fully formed your opinion.
  • Find out what you want before you ask for advice. Ask yourself the following questions to gain clarity: what excites you? What are your fears? Are you comfortable with the level of risk? Are you willing to live with the results?

Through small actions, your self-approved muscle will grow over time. Giving yourself green lights will become natural. As a result, you’ll stop seeking permission from others.

You’ll stop looking to the outside world to tell you that your beliefs, opinions, and dreams are acceptable. You’ll become self-approved. 

“Comparison is the death of joy.” ~ Mark Twain

2. Don’t Compare Yourself to Others, Unlock Your Authentic Self Instead

When we compare ourselves to others, we chase symbols of status and success. We are validated by money and achievement.

We boost our self-esteem by feeling like we’re better than our peers. Habitually comparing yourself to others results in evaluating and rating yourself.

In this frame of mind, you need to prove your worth. You need the world to agree with you.

We respond to every criticism and disagreement instead of directing our energy towards running our own race. We can let go of the need to prove we’re right.

Other people don’t think about us as often as we imagine they do. They’re concerned about their hopes, dreams, and fears.

This is good news. It means that today’s criticisms will quickly fade away. A week later, everyone will have moved on to the next issue.

Here are a few prescriptions to unlock your authentic self:

  • Start voicing your opinions before asking others what they think. Express your opinions confidently even when you know others will disagree.
  • Get comfortable with people dismissing and criticizing your point of view. Let go of the need to defend or justify why you’re right.
  • Accept yourself the way you are, including weaknesses and imperfections. This lightens the pressure you put on yourself. It frees you to turn your attention to situations under your control.
  • The present has already been delivered. It’s set in stone. Accept it. From here, you can strive to surpass your current circumstances. You can shape your future.

Accepting yourself doesn’t imply that you become complacent and resign to mediocrity. Instead, it’s the way to move forward.

There’s no point in fighting against where you are in life. Accept yourself, express yourself, and unlock your true self. 

“You have no responsibility to live up to what other people think you ought to accomplish. I have no responsibility to be like they expect me to be.” Richard Feynman

3. Don’t Live Up To The Expectations of Others, Live Your Beliefs Instead

Externally approved Sally deeply wants to be accepted by everyone. She doesn’t want to disappoint her friends or family.

She constantly cycles through how her choices will be evaluated by others. Will my mom approve?

Will my sister think I’m making the right move? Will they criticize me? Will they understand why I’m doing this?

After spending so much time thinking about how others will view her decision, Externally approved Sally loses clarity on what she wants. Her original thoughts and desires become cloudy and out of focus.

Seeking external validation is a heavy burden that affects every major decision in her life. Sally makes safe choices that will not be criticized.

She’s afraid to take uncommon or unconventional paths. She chooses a career that lives up to the expectations of her parents.

Self-approved Mary takes a different approach. When she looks for a new job, her thought process revolves around what she wants.

Is it a better growth opportunity? Will I fit in with the new team? Is this the right move for me? Do the requirements of the job line up with my skills?

Mary realizes that she’s driven by her unique background, beliefs, skills, and passions. She doesn’t try to fit into the expectations and values of others.

When making decisions, Mary doesn’t have to consider as many variables as Sally. Mary simply listens to her instincts and intuitions.

Here are a few prescriptions to live your beliefs:

  • Wait a few hours or even a day before you tell your friends about your next promotion. By the time you share the good news, you’re letting them in on your excitement and celebration. You’re not looking for anything in return.
  • Hold back from sending texts or emails where you’re fishing for praise and recognition. Give yourself a high-five instead.
  • Fill up your validation tank instead of waiting for others to do it.

When you starve the need for external approval, you can shift your energy to living your beliefs. 

“Care about what other people think and you will always be their prisoner.” Lao Tzu

“Care about what other people think and you will always be their prisoner.” ~ Lao Tzu

4. Don’t Worry About What Other People Think, Star in Your Movie Instead

Worrying too much about the opinions of others indicates that you’re not at the center of your reality. You become a piece in the big chessboard of life, constantly trying to read the board and project where all the pieces are moving.

Giving others too much of your mental real estate is illustrated by certain behaviors: having imaginary conversations and arguments in your head. Doing things with the goal of getting a reaction from others.

Explaining and justifying your actions so others will agree with you. When you cast yourself as a supporting role in your own movie, your self-esteem is based on how other people judge you.

Your sense of value becomes a barometer that reflects the latest results in your life. You feel great about yourself when you’re on a roll in life. When you experience a string of setbacks, your self-esteem plummets.

Here are a few prescriptions to become star of your movie:

  • Identify your personal and professional goals. Are there goals on that list that don’t excite and ignite you? Are there goals you’re pursuing because most people around you want them? Start replacing them with goals that resonate with you.
  • Quickly decide if the advice and concerns of others are backed up by relevant experience and expertise. If it’s not, let their advice roll off your shoulders without giving it much weight.

When you look internally for validation, your self-esteem is unaffected by outside events.

You become unbreakable. You’re equipped to withstand the challenges life throws at you. 

Conclusion

You can do what you think is right without worrying about how it will be interpreted. You can stop looking outside yourself for acceptance and approval.

Then, you’ll become the star of your movie. You’ll know where you want to go and what you need to do.

You’ll be a train headed towards your unique, compelling, and inspiring destination.

Live your beliefs. Unleash your true self to the world. 

Over To You –

I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comment section below. What steps do you take to become self-approved and show your true self?

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  1. Jose Ramos

    March 14, 2016 at 5:51 pm

    This is my first post on Aha!NOW! Thanks for giving me the opportunity to share my ideas and thoughts here.

    Thanks for reading the post. Thanks to everyone who shared the post on social media.

    I’d love to hear your thoughts and comments below!

    • Profile photo of Harleena Singh

      Harleena Singh

      March 14, 2016 at 6:16 pm

      Hi Jose,

      Welcome to Aha!NOW as our guest this time. 🙂

      Yes, your first post here, though you’ve been a part of the ABC for a while now. This sure is a wonderful post, which everyone is going to love. Some people depend on the opinion of others, seek external approval, and spend their precious time comparing themselves to others. If you are on the right path, you really don’t have to be bothered about others. I’m glad you came up with this topic today.

      So, hope you have a nice time interacting with our readers through the comments. This platform is all yours – thanks for being here. 🙂

  2. Lori Gosselin

    March 14, 2016 at 8:33 pm

    Hi Jose,
    This is a wonderful article! I believe unleashing your true self begins with knowing your true self and neither of these is easy. I love how you say, “Worrying too much about the opinions of others indicates that you’re not at the center of your reality.” We have been conditioned to NOT be at the center of our reality. So it’s as much an unlearning process as a learning one.
    I try to remind myself that feeling good about what I’m doing is what matters most. This doesn’t stop me from trying to put out the best of what I have to give, but ultimately I know that only certain people will resonate with what I say and that’s enough.
    All the best!
    Lori

    • Jose Ramos

      March 15, 2016 at 6:50 pm

      Thanks! Good way to put it. Feeling good about what I do is achievable. I can measure what I did against what I set out to do. I can feel good about my effort. On the other hand, trying to get everyone’s approval is impossible. It’s an unattainable goal. No matter how hard we try, some people will disapprove and criticize.

  3. Profile photo of Keiko Katsuta

    Keiko Katsuta

    March 14, 2016 at 10:23 pm

    Hello Jose,

    What a great reminder, especially the fourth one, stop worrying about what other people think! I’ve been working on this one since my spiritual teacher told me the same thing years ago. Just recently, all the pieces of the puzzle why and when I picked up that pattern and how the pattern affected my life came together. That gave me a deeper understanding of myself and so much excitement, because I feel like I can finally let go of the pattern once and for all.

    Thank you again for sharing your insights!!

    In love & gratitude,
    Keiko

    • Jose Ramos

      March 15, 2016 at 6:52 pm

      Thanks! I’ve had similar experiences. When I realize that I’m worrying too much about what other people think, it’s hard to pinpoint how that pattern developed. It seems like bad habits are easier to build. They slowly creep into your life and start taking a bigger role over time. It happens without any conscious effort.

      Like you said, understanding the pattern and its impact on my life is the first step to making a change. That gives me leverage and motivation to make a change. Then, I can start replacing the rewards I get from external approval by giving myself that approval and validation. I realize that I can derive my value internally regardless of the external circumstances.

  4. Brenda Pace

    March 15, 2016 at 1:10 am

    Hi Jose,

    Welcome to Aha!Now! This is such a beautiful and inspirational post. It really resonates with me. Gladly passing this along as I know many that will relate to it.

    Bren

  5. Jasbindar Singh

    March 15, 2016 at 2:28 am

    This is a great post, Jose. Love this – “Don’t Look for External Approval, Give Yourself Green Lights Instead.”
    Not only do we not give ourselves the green light, self-criticisms can dominate and take over. Look forward to reading more posts. Thank you!

    • Jose Ramos

      March 15, 2016 at 6:54 pm

      Thanks! Great point. Instead of giving green lights to our dreams and desires, we do the opposite many times. We become our worst critics and keep ourselves from taking action by giving ourselves red lights. For me, the red lights signify fear and worries while the green lights signify possibility, potential, and hope. If we think about it objectively, the green light is the better option!

  6. Quinn Eurich

    March 15, 2016 at 2:41 am

    Hi Jose,

    If this had even been as recent as late last year, you could have been writing about my life!

    Good advice! And worth following as there’s nothing as freeing as being someone who needs only their own approval.

    Thanks for sharing!

    • Jose Ramos

      March 15, 2016 at 6:55 pm

      Thanks Quinn. That’s the perfect way to put it. It’s freeing to only need your own approval. It’s easier to follow your intuition and inner voice than to spend your energy and effort trying to get everyone else to approve you.

  7. Sherman Smith

    March 15, 2016 at 6:01 am

    Hey Jose,

    I wish I had this about 15 years ago. I would have learn a lot about me and how I could unleash my true self with no regrets. But as years gone by, I started focus on myself more and stop living so much of other people’s standards and getting their approval. And you know what? I’m really enjoying the self empowerment 😉 Thanks for sharing Jose!

    Have a great week!

    • Jose Ramos

      March 15, 2016 at 6:57 pm

      Thanks for the comment Sherman. I agree with you. Setting your own standards is much better than trying to live up to other peoples’ standards. After all, everyone has different values, hopes, and fears. It makes more sense to tailor your standards to your unique values.

      Even if a particular decision doesn’t produce the results you wanted, it’s ok because you did what you thought was right. You took the course of action you believed in. That’s living with no regrets.

  8. Shantanu Sinha

    March 15, 2016 at 9:47 am

    Hello Jose Ramos,

    Great post Jose sir.
    Indeed we have to self centered and stop comparing our self from others.
    That is the the main success mantra. We have to stop worrying about, what people are saying,
    unless and until, then only we could be self centered and focus towards our goal.

    This is something like a great reminder for me 🙂
    Thank you for sharing this among us.

    Keep writing.
    Shantanu sinha

  9. Jose Ramos

    March 15, 2016 at 6:58 pm

    Thanks Shantanu! Writing this post was a great reminder for me as well. We all intuitively know that we should be internally validated and self approved. We sometimes lose sight of our path and start seeking the approval of others though. Like you said, once we stop worrying about what people are saying, we free our time to focus on our goals.

  10. mazrui

    March 15, 2016 at 7:01 pm

    I realy don’t care about what people think about me. but the problem is i get bored.

  11. Donna Merrill

    March 15, 2016 at 9:44 pm

    Hi Jose,

    Wow..this made me remember the turmoil I was in when I was younger. I used to seek approval all the time. My self esteem was at the bottom of the barrel. I tried to live up to my family’s expectations for the first two decades of my life. I felt like I was living in a black hole. It just didn’t feel right.

    It was not until my early 30’s that I learned how to give myself that “green light.” Yes..I had to learn it via therapy, self help books and all that. What an empowering feeling! I felt like for the first time I could breathe. Since then it is been wonderful.

    So you see, I can really resonate with this article! It is such an important topic for those who are suffering silently.

    -Donna

    • Jose Ramos

      March 16, 2016 at 6:08 pm

      Thanks Donna. That’s a great description of being your true self. It’s empowering and freeing. You can finally be yourself at all times when you find it. Like you said, it’s not an overnight journey.

  12. lisa thomson

    March 15, 2016 at 9:48 pm

    Awesome post, Jose. I couldn’t agree more with all of it!! I learned these lessons when I ended my marriage. I had to go ‘inside’ and let go of all the external approval and expectations friends and family had on me. I had to swim against the current for a while. I’m much happier now and have no regrets for following my own decisions. Great post. I love how you’ve written this, too. Be a star of YOUR Movie. Love it!

    • Jose Ramos

      March 16, 2016 at 6:09 pm

      Thanks Lisa! Letting go of the outside expectations feels unnatural at first. Like you said, it feels like you’re swimming against the current. At some point, it starts becoming habitual and easier to do.

  13. Ethan Bridges

    March 16, 2016 at 2:39 pm

    Hi Jose,

    Congratulations on your first post!

    You know, sometimes, and counterintuitively, it’s funny how we get to be liked more when we just won’t care about how other people would think about us, at all.

    The four ways you discussed are absolutely right; why should we allow other people to switch the green light on, when we can do it ourselves? We can even stay with the red or yellow for as long as we want. And provided that we’re being helpful, and not hurting others, true self will always remain beautiful.

    • Jose Ramos

      March 16, 2016 at 6:20 pm

      Thanks Ethan. I think people like us more when we’re not trying to impress them, not worrying about what they’ll think all the time, and just being ourselves. And you’re right. We don’t need to always give ourselves green lights but we can decide when to make the switch from red to green. We don’t have to wait for others to do it for us.

  14. Profile photo of chandan kumar

    chandan kumar

    March 16, 2016 at 3:00 pm

    nice post thanks a lt for such wonderfull post thanks…….for such wonderfull post……..

  15. Balroop Singh

    March 16, 2016 at 5:10 pm

    Hi Jose,

    These are wonderfully articulated thoughts. Self-approval is absolutely essential for building up a distinctive personality and there is no doubt that we have to move ahead step by step, reassuring ourselves that we are on the right track…external approval is not always essential, true judgment is self-judgment and introspection the finest leader. When we make our own decisions and gather the grit to stand by them, we recognize our true self, which is far more important than external forces.

    I have always lived up to my own beliefs and expectations…pleasing others can destroy our own desires and determination, which is extremely pernicious for our growth. Self-esteem introduces us to our real self only if we value our thoughts and beliefs. Many thanks for the reminders Jose! Stay blessed.

  16. Jose Ramos

    March 16, 2016 at 6:24 pm

    Thanks Balroop! That’s a good way to sum it up. It’s about making our own decisions and being able to stand by them. That’s when we show our authentic self to the world. On the other hand, seeking to please others puts what they expect from us ahead of our own wants and desires.

  17. Kim Willis

    March 16, 2016 at 8:15 pm

    Hi Jose and Harleena,

    Thanks for your uplifting and enlightening post, Jose.

    The thoughts expressed will prove encouraging and comforting to readers, including myself.

    It is true that most people are consumed with the idea of impressing others. We seek validation from other people in most areas of our lives. It’s understandable because we’re essentially tribal in nature, so conforming to the prevailing belief systems of the pack is all.

    That said, some of us like the idea of breaking free from all of that, and your post gives heart to those who – like me – indeed want to take a trip down the road less travelled.

    I love your concept of ‘starring in our movies’. It gives a voice to rugged individualists (or even those who aren’t so rugged) who crave the opportunity to just do their own thing.

    Good one, Jose

    Kim

    • Jose Ramos

      March 18, 2016 at 6:21 pm

      Thanks Kim. That’s a good point. It’s human nature to conform to the larger group around us. For me, success is being able to break free from those pressures to travel down my path. And that usually is a road less travelled!

  18. Profile photo of Irish Carter

    Irish Carter

    March 17, 2016 at 8:17 am

    HI Jose,

    Boy is this an extremely motivating article. I loved reading it. If I could share how I allow myself to be self-approved it would be that I remind myself when things get tough to “just do me”. Like you shared, we don’t have to live from everyone else’s expectations and should live with our own values.

    Very inspiring. It’s nice to meet you Jose.

    Have a great rest of the week.

    Irish

    • Jose Ramos

      March 18, 2016 at 6:21 pm

      Thanks Irish. That’s a good way to pull yourself back towards self-approval!

  19. Sandy Mangis

    March 17, 2016 at 11:30 pm

    I loved your points . I am on a journey to help others create a strong voice and this is so helpful. Thank you

    • Jose Ramos

      March 18, 2016 at 6:20 pm

      Thanks for reading Sandy. Good luck on that journey!

  20. Profile photo of Rachel Wolany

    Rachel Wolany

    March 18, 2016 at 12:04 pm

    Hey Jose,

    Wanting the approval of others over our own self acceptance seems like the wrong way around when we truly think about it. But as human behaviour does not always make sense. As soon as we recognise we do this, it is up to us to change it. It is a long process but we are worth it.

    Like you stated it can stop us from thinking and doing for ourselves. Sally would certainly have had to weigh up the pros and cons of so many variables when basing her decision on other peoples approval. Where as Mary (what a girl) only had her own internal talk to make decision.

    The examples you used were great to get your point across.

    Rachel.

    • Jose Ramos

      March 18, 2016 at 6:22 pm

      Thanks Rachel. Great point. The first step is to recognize the behavior that doesn’t make sense. Making changes that stick is a much longer process. I agree it’s worth it.

  21. Richard Seaton

    March 18, 2016 at 5:41 pm

    Hi Harleena

    I went through several nods of agreement and a light bulb moment reading this post. Thank you so much.

    Similarly to you, I have been spending time recently looking at my own and other peoples’ endless need for approval. So many new marketers I see join a group and just want to follow along and receive acknowledgement for every post, every Tweet and every comment. They need everybody to love their awesome Splash Pages and Blog themes. And all because they don’t know yet why they are doing what they do…

    And how do I know this? Because I spent my first years on line doing exactly the same. My real shift in mind set came when I realised that every successful person either on line of off is OK with what they do. They have moved beyond that endless social need to be in a tribe.

    Your story about Sally who needed external validation for everything is spot on. That was me two years ago. And probably you as well once. We all do it. But I can now honestly say that if people don’t like the way I market, I am happy to discuss why. I no longer doubt myself – and there we have it! So my tip to everyone every day is ‘Own what you do, be responsible for it and above all, enjoy it! Keep it Simple’.

    As you put it so well ‘Star in Your Own Movie’.

    Thank you – here’s another famous quotation “I’ll be back!”

    best wishes
    Richard

    • Jose Ramos

      March 19, 2016 at 7:55 pm

      Thanks Richard! I can relate to your example of worrying too much about what other people think. In the past, I’ve waited to see how others respond to my work before deciding how I felt about it. When you’re self-approved, you want others to like your work. But you don’t need their approval. You can feel great about your work without waiting to see what others say. Just as you said, own your work and enjoy it. That’s simple yet powerful advice.

    • Richard Seaton

      March 19, 2016 at 8:16 pm

      Hi Jose
      I arrived at this blog via a link in a comment by Harleena, and in my haste to reply to the great post here, I assumed she had written it and seem to have thanked Harleena rather than you. ooops – great start to my blogging career. All well-intentioned and another lesson ib careful commenting. Ric

  22. Carolyn Nicander Mohr

    March 19, 2016 at 5:35 pm

    Hi Jose, Welcome to Harleena’s site! You did a great job of explaining why people need to find validation within themselves. We will make a lot of wrong decisions when we depend on approval from others. As you point out, when we’re comparing ourselves to others or seeking their approval, we aren’t focusing on what’s truly best for us.

    I do think it’s important to surround yourself with supportive friends who will advise you on what’s best for you, not on their insecurities. If your friends don’t celebrate your successes, well then maybe they’re not real friends.

    Thanks for this inspiration, Jose. I’ll be sharing this article to help others.

    • Jose Ramos

      March 19, 2016 at 7:55 pm

      Thanks Carolyn. That’s a great point. When we make the shift from seeking external validation to becoming self-approved, we can go too far towards the other end of the spectrum. We need to strike the right balance. We should continue to listen to other perspectives. We should apply the advice from friends that resonates with us. We can be self-approved and self-validated while still learning from others at the same time.

  23. Profile photo of Alan Marsden

    Alan Marsden

    March 19, 2016 at 8:46 pm

    Hi Jose,

    Many congratulations on your first guest post for Aha.

    This is a subject I’ve been thinking a lot of recently since a subscriber asked me about it. I’d always suspected myself of this behaviour though I tended to disguise it as shyness or being an introvert. The truth was I never felt confident sharing my views in groups or a wider network (I had to overcome that to blog 🙂 ). I always feared the criticism.

    One big step in overcoming this is to ignore that fear. Fear of criticism is just a feeling. One turning point was watching politicians on TV verbally attacking each other’s policies. Here in the UK, they never seem to get uptight or react in an uncontrollable way, they just wait their turn again.

    I thought, I could do that. If I’m in a group or a meeting, express my view and just relax afterwards irrespective of the reaction, then wait for the right moment to reply. Just be calm, expect some disagreement, but move on.

    It’s a lot to do with changing one’s attitude and a few tactics.

    Thanks for writing on such a confidence building topic.

    Best.
    Alan

    • Jose Ramos

      March 21, 2016 at 8:40 pm

      Thanks Alan! That’s a good solution. Ignore the fear. Take action regardless of how you feel. The negative emotions can’t grow if you don’t pay much attention to them.

      I like the tactic of expressing your views, expecting disagreements, and moving on.

  24. lh.louis

    March 20, 2016 at 5:47 am

    Hi Jose,

    It’s great to be here reading this type of article, whenever I feel this is another option for me read it over and over. Thanks so much

    lh.louis

  25. Profile photo of Maxwell Ivey

    Maxwell Ivey

    March 26, 2016 at 7:42 am

    Hi Jose; thanks for sharing; I think it is important for us to decide what our dreams and goals are apart from what our friends family and neighbors want. I often ask for help on how to complete a given task. I’ve even asked for feedback on a blog post or new chapter in my latest book. but at the bottom of it I’m pretty solid on who i am and what i want. And I totally rock this whole idea of being authentic. One of my favorite books is by mike robins be yourself because everyone else is already taken. wishing more people could be true to that person they are meant to be. I wish they could hear that too small voice that will help them find out just who this person is supposed to be. thanks for the reminder, Max

    • Jose Ramos

      April 7, 2016 at 5:04 pm

      Thanks Maxwell! I love that book title. It’s great to find the ideal balance of listening to advice and feedback from others while also tuning in to your inner voice. Our intuition and inner voice present us with the answers of what we want and who we are. We just need the courage to follow those answers.

  26. Profile photo of Ikechi Awazie

    Ikechi Awazie

    April 1, 2016 at 6:05 am

    Hi Jose

    What a great post. What more could be devastating than a life that isn’t true to itself. It is ingrained in human to seek approval. Despite being harmful to our existence, most people still can’t handle being authentic about themselves.

    I also believe that even though it is awesome to help others, this doesn’t mean that we should do it and hurt ourselves. It should be passion combined with our inner self. We should love ourselves first only then can we help others.

    Your tips are spot on. Thanks for sharing. Have a swell week. Take Care

    • Jose Ramos

      April 7, 2016 at 5:10 pm

      Thanks Ikechi! Yep, it’s human nature to want the approval of others. It feels good when we get that approval. It’s easy to fall into the habit of tailoring our actions to what we think others will like. The more we do that, the more we lose track of our authentic selves. We become a composite of what we think others want us to be. I agree with your prescription to those harmful habits… Listen to your inner self and follow it with passion!

  27. Profile photo of Hema Unnoop

    Hema Unnoop

    April 8, 2016 at 5:58 am

    Hello Jose,

    Thank you for such a thoughtful post.

    Although approval seeking behaviors is very common, I feel it is more prevalent now than ever before. For some, approval seeking has become a NEED. I wish they would understand how this behavior can lead to self-destructive circumstances.

    It’s unfortunate to see how some of us feel good inside ONLY when we’re administered with praise. The need for approval must go if we want to unleash our true self.

    I have been one of those people who couldn’t do a thing or go a day without asking for others opinion or seeking approval. I didn’t know how badly it affected me until the day I was asked by someone, “what defines you?” I didn’t have an answer to that as I always wait onto others to answer and decide for me. In a way my life wasn’t mine so how can I define myself???

    That was a life changing moment.

    Since then I’ve practiced trusting myself. I have stopped verifying facts by having them substantiated by others, for instance, If I know what I’m talking about, I don’t ask the other person, “am I right?”

    I also correct myself straightaway whenever I feel like I’m behaving in an approval seeking manner.

    Hence I have found my real true self and that makes me very happy 🙂

    Thank you once again for allowing me to share my thoughts. Great post and needs an immediate share 🙂

    Wish you a lovely weekend ahead.

  28. Jose Ramos

    April 9, 2016 at 7:53 pm

    Thanks for sharing! It’s human nature to want to be accepted, liked, and approved. There’s always going to be a pull towards approval seeking behaviors. We’ll tilt out of balance from time to time. Like you said, the key is to correct that behavior right away.

    What a great insight about waiting for other to answer the “what defines you” question for you. Many people live this way. They are defined by what society expects from them. They don’t feel like they can mold and shape the answer themselves. Being self-approved is when you can answer the question confidently!

  29. Zaria Nest

    April 18, 2016 at 1:46 am

    Hi Jose,

    This is a really excellent article. Our society makes us competitive in so many ways that it is hard not to fall into this comparing mindset. It is not easy to find a way to belong in a community and be independent at the same time. When there are so many voices around, it is harder for us to listen to ours.

    Along with those tips you give, I also practice meditation so as to focus 100% on me. Which are my talents? Where does my passion stem from? What I want to offer to the world? So many questions and I am the only one who has the answers.

    Being authentic to myself, it took me years of personal work. I am also work in progress for all of us. So this is why I found your article fantastic, it was always great to have a reminder. Thank you!

    Zaria

    • Jose Ramos

      April 19, 2016 at 6:01 pm

      Hi Zaria,

      I like your tip about meditation. We have our laptop, tablet, or phone with us all the time. We are always connected to the outside world, whether it’s texting with friends or listening to an audiobook on our commute. If we don’t silence the outside world every once in a while, we can’t turn up the volume on our inner voice to find our answers. Thanks for adding this piece of advice!

  30. Richard Seaton

    April 19, 2016 at 10:35 am

    Hi Jose

    I have been writing a lot recently on my blog about seeking approval, so it was great to find this post, as I am still pondering away on this subject.

    There came a time in my business recently when I realised I was trying to please everyone else with what I did. For me, the turning point came when I really found my own voice and my passion, instead of trying to copy other marketers.

    The passion has to come before the marketing strategy. So many people come on line to ‘make money’. They don’t have a message to start with. They sell other peoples’ ideas instead of their own. But people have a sensitive ‘BS Radar’ which soon finds them out. We are often told to emulate the successful marketers to be successful, but you know what? We already have a Ryan Biddulph and a Richard Branson. We don’t need another one. But there is a vacancy for one only (put your name here…..)

    Once I stopped worrying about what other people thought and got on with me, things changed, I started enjoying it. I stopped worrying about split-testing and spoke from the heart. I love your Lao Tzu quote by the way. One of the great philosophers. “Care about what other people think and you will always be their prisoner.”

    Thanks for the stirring post
    Richard

  31. Jose Ramos

    April 19, 2016 at 6:03 pm

    Hi Richard,

    Great point. We should model the strategies and mindsets of those who’ve already accomplished what we’re setting out to do. We also have to put our own stamp on our work. We have to take time to decide what we believe. What’s the unique perspective that no one else can provide? Each person has unique experiences, opinions, and skills. When we put that together with strategies that work, we can move forward confidently without worrying about what others will think.

  32. Delson

    April 21, 2016 at 3:02 am

    Great post Jose! As Teddy Roosevelt said, “Comparison is the thief of joy.” I find that trying to gain approval from others is an innate quality of most of humanity – something we’re possibly brought up with by seeking our parents’ approval and then strengthened in school to seek our peers’ approval, etc… but there comes a tipping point where one realizes none of that is satisfactory. The only life we know intimately is the one we’re currently living. There will never be another person like us – with that sort of thinking, we can tap into our very essence, our originality and be grateful for the truly unique nature of ourselves and the work we do and contribute in some way or another on a broad, global, even universal level. The way we do certain things, perceive things, think and emote ideas, are unique to us and us alone! The more we see that, the better we’re in tune with ourselves! That’s just my one cent 🙂

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      Jose Ramos

      April 23, 2016 at 11:34 pm

      Thanks Delson. Those are some deep insights! We’re pushed towards approval seeking behaviors all through life. When we’re out of school, we then seek the approval of the boss at work. It can become an endless cycle.

      I like how you put it. There’s no one else like us. We should tap into the interests, ideas, and skills that make us unique and use that to contribute to the world in our own way.

  33. Nworgu Izuzu

    May 8, 2016 at 3:53 am

    Hello Jose,
    Thank you for sharing this post.
    Seeking external approval is quite common and when you get it, you feel happy but if you don’t get it, you feel dejected. But that’s not the best.
    At some point in my life, I seek external approval but sometimes, I manage to fight the urge to seek the approval of people.
    Whatever people say or think should never affect us. Let the most important thing be what we think.

    • Jose Ramos

      May 10, 2016 at 5:07 pm

      Thanks Nworgu! I agree. When you seek external approval, your value and self-esteem depend on other people. It’s better to just get that validation from within.

  34. jasbindar

    June 22, 2016 at 6:58 am

    All such pertinent points, Jose. Aha! each time! 🙂 Loved it, including, “Don’t Compare Yourself to Others, Unlock Your Authentic Self Instead” and a catch for many – self approval first ahead of of external approval! Thanks for the guest post.

  35. Amelia Williams

    August 2, 2016 at 11:16 am

    Its an inspirational article, Lines which strikes me,

    Be ourselves all the time
    Don’t live for others expectation, direct the life we like to follow.

    Thank You for the article




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4 Ways to Unleash Your True Self

by Jose Ramos time to read: 7 min