I have a friend who really, honestly does not care what people think of her. She is so ultra-confident about herself and her place in the world that she doesn't need anyone else's approval. She is that secure in herself.
A part of me is envious of her attitude. I think I've always cared what people think and that way of thinking can be very damaging to progress and growth. Seeking approval from others has a way of bypassing the only approval that should be necessary...that of your own.
So, what is it that gives us the strength to believe in ourselves enough to overlook (or at least overshadow) the opinions and judgements of others? And, is that even the best way to be? When should the opinions of others truly matter?
I'm a perfectionist...in my personal life and in my business life. In my personal life, I am extremely organized in my house and try to be meticulous in the way I look. In my business life, I strive to make every Graphic Design job I do for my clients the absolute best it can be. I'm always thinking of new ideas and ways to implement them in new and different ways. Do I want the approval of my clients? Absolutely!
Sometimes, it's hard to separate the approval you want from the approval you need. In order for me to be successful in my career, I need my clients' approval. But, how necessary is it for people to like my clothes or the way I wear my hair? At various times in my life, it was all important. Now, not as much. That’s not to say I don’t want to look my best and that I don’t appreciate compliments…just that I’m not guided by it.
What is important when it comes to approval is how we view ourselves. Admittedly, there are times when I still want the approval of others, even on the little things. Everybody likes to feel appreciated and approved of from time to time. It's a way we know we're on the right track. A way to keep us smiling and a way to keep us striving to do our best. As long as it's not the focal point and as long as we don't live for the approval of others, a little can keep us pushing forward and reaching ahead.