It’s best to let go of our innate human desire of seeking validation from others. We have to train ourselves to not become a person who is driven by other people’s approval.
If we look at this from the Stoic lens, external validation is never in our control. If we live according to other people’s expectations, we’ll be trapping ourselves in an invisible prison for the rest of our lives. Instead, we can work on raising our standards so that the “tension” to become more and have more fuels our inspiration. Winning in life requires intrinsic motivation, not the external one.
We all want to be liked, and this was crucial for our survival in prehistoric times. But now things have drastically changed. You can be your authentic self and still find a tribe for yourself, whether in real life or online. It’s much better to have a few people in our corner that embrace us for who we are, rather than having hundreds or thousands who we don’t bond with and are ready to judge us at the drop of a hat. After all, why seek approval of those people who live misdirected lives themselves?
As Ryan Holiday explains, “Being liked seems important…for some it can seem like the most important thing in the world. Until you start to consider the people we seem to be so desperate to impress. Until you think about the silly things they are impressed by, and the amazing things they don’t ‘get.’ Until you realize that they don’t even respect themselves. Then all of the sudden being liked feels almost…juvenile.”
Only when we let go of other people’s approval, we’ll give ourselves permission to become our best authentic self and to always focus on doing the right thing, no matter what.