The world is filled with people who are looking for validation and approval of who they are. It’s natural to want to be liked, loved, and valued. As the great Austrian psychologist, Alfred Adler once said, “Genuine human connection is as essential to our existence as air and water.”
In a 2013 study, researchers in Berlin, Germany used brain imaging to discover that when people receive positive feedback about themselves pleasure is activated in the nucleus accumbens area of the brain. The nucleus accumbens is part of the reward system that processes and reinforces rewarding stimuli. Whether this pleasure is sincere remains up for discussion.
It should be noted that this pleasure activity is only temporary. As long as you’re perpetually searching for that one moment of pleasure, you will never be satisfied with who you are. The journey many people take to seeking affirmation from other people is often a painful and unfruitful pursuit. You’re wasting valuable time, energy, and emotional stability. A “like” on social media may give you an instant high of dopamine, but like drugs, it doesn’t last.
Depending on others to affirm you and value you is really a lot of pressure that doesn’t get handled well both ways. Trying to get approval from other people is a huge burden that people often run away from. You will always feel “not good enough” and “less than” if you don’t learn to value yourself. And no one else wants to be responsible for your happiness.
No matter who you are or what you do, there will always be someone who does not like you. At the same time, there will always be someone who loves you deeply in spite of who you are and despite what you do. Those are your people. But more importantly, you should be your own person.
Don’t waste your precious heart trying to get people to like you and trying to convince people that you have worth and value. God made you just the way you are because he thought you were a worthy creature to make. And the idea that Someone thought so much of you to put you in the world is the only stamp of approval you need.
Searching for affirmation from other people who are engaged in looking for the same things is very counterproductive. They will not see your worth, not because they don’t want to, but because they’re asking the same questions and looking for the same things for themselves.
Don’t try to get people to walk your path or see you in a certain way because you will only waste your life. You are not for everyone and everyone is not for you. We’re not put here to get everyone to like us. We’re not here to seek a thumbs-up or seal of approval. We’re here to share our unconditionally unique gifts with those around us. We’re here to make a difference.
You’re not everyone’s cup of coffee…and that is completely okay.