It's not simple, but it can be done.
It's not simple. But it's part of being human.data-page-subject=true
that humans exhibit"classic reward-seeking lab-rat behaviour, the sort that's observed when lab rats are put in front of an unpredictable food dispenser.""That is what keeps us scrolling, scrolling, pressing our lever over and over in the hopes of getting some fleeting sensation— some momentary rush of recognition, flattery or rage," Tolentino added. Depending on likes and retweets from social platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, she
in aNew Yorkerpiece, is akin to"playing a slot machine that tells you whether or not people love you."Give yourself a break from the prism of online validation.Image: vicky leta / MashableTry to establish some hard limits in your screen and scrolling time. In
Trick Mirror, Tolentino wrote that she gives herself boundaries like no Instagram stories, no app notifications, and uses apps that shut down her Instagram and Twitter usage after 45 minutes of daily use.Niels Eék — psychologist and co-founder of mental wellbeing and self-development platform Remente — recommended
a digital detox.This involves"switching off all your screens for a certain length of time, ideally for 24 hours. If you feel that 24 hours is too long, then try to first switch off all of your notifications for a few hours, and then proceed to switch off the devices altogether for longer and longer each time."
Identify where your own approval-seeking comes fromEveryone is different and our need for approval and validation can manifest in very different ways. Eék gave me some examples of how this behaviour can be exhibited including:"Changing your opinion when noticing that others disapprove of what you’ve said and done; not complaining when you feel that you’ve been mistreated; pretending to know something when you definitely don't; and apologising too much, even when you know you’ve done nothing wrong."
Klemich suggested being courageous and honest with yourself by asking the following question: Where does my approval-seeking come from? You might have to look back into your past to figure that out, which isn't always comfortable."Approval-seeking is usually a childhood-created coping strategy. Did you feel a need to get love from your parents and create ways to gain their approval? Did you struggle to make friends at school, and subsequently develop a fear of being rejected?" she said."By identifying where the approval-seeking started, you can identify the types of situations that trigger your need for approval in your current life."
SEE ALSO:What to do when body image is affecting your sex lifeIf you're struggling with a fear of rejection, you can develop a need for validation, which manifests as people-pleasing. Klemich said this means people expend emotional energy worrying what others think of them, even sometimes running through mental scenarios and practicing what to say in different situations so that everything goes exactly the way we want it to.
"Sometimes we simply care too much about what people think of us, usually when we suffer from low self-esteem or seek extra stability in our lives, perhaps if we have been excessively judged in childhood, or have been made to feel we are not good enough or were bullied," Klemich said."Our self-worth becomes overly entangled with what others think about us. This in itself can then lead to low self-esteem and lack of confidence as we go about our daily lives thereby needing extra validation from others."
Try journalingTo begin to start caring less about other people's perceptions of you, it could be worth giving journaling a go. If that doesn't sound like something you'd usually do, stay with me. Eék pointed out that there are a lot of benefits to journaling —
boosting self-esteemcan be one of them."Most importantly, it provides you with the time and space to reflect. Too often we spend time on mundane day-to-day tasks, but not nearly enough time reflecting on our past and present, so try to consider recent events, how you’re truly feeling about your life at present, where your priorities lie, and what you hope to achieve long-term," said Eék."Journaling is also an outlet for processing emotions, and doing it on an ongoing basis can help increase your self-awareness."
Set clear boundariesWhen we're hellbent on keeping other people happy, it can be difficult to establish clear boundaries. But it's extremely important."When we can’t say no because our need to be approved by others is greater than our ability to set appropriate boundaries, practice explaining your reasoning of why you would like to do something but that you can’t right now," said Klemich."Start being honest with yourself when you take on a new task or commitment — ask yourself, are you doing it because it is 'right' for you, or because you want to get approval and avoid disapproval?" Evaluate your weekly tasks and consider which of them might be driven by people-pleasing — make a list if that helps. Klemich advised working through that list and making some honest decisions about whether or not you need to do it.
Evaluate your weekly tasks and consider which of them might be driven by people-pleasing.Sarah Griffiths — a specialist trauma and abuse therapist — advised asking for change if situations arise that might violate your boundaries, like if someone speaks to you in a way that you don't like."With tone of voice, if you decide that contempt, impatience and irritation is not acceptable, the next time it happens, simply say, 'Please don't talk to me like that,' and just be firm and don't engage when someone is speaking to you in a tone that is unacceptable to you," she said."Another good one is to ask, 'Why are you speaking to me like that?' 'What is your motivation for what you just said?' or 'Why did you just say/do that?'"
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