The crave for inclusion and acceptance is probably one of the underlying cause of one’s struggle with happiness. As we grow, one faces a constant need to be accepted, varying from family, friends, workplace, employer, love, spouse, spouse’s family and even kids.
We have all been there – looking at the cool kids in the block and think about mixing up with them or even being recognised as part of the click. Some went on to form their own, some were included into other groups that may not be as cool, but hey, the interests do align.
Why do we need to be included into groups? Simply because we are all social creatures.
Scientist Matthew Lieberman has argued that the humans need for interaction and being social, is fundamentally as powerful as our need for survival via food and water – One feeds the physical well-being, and the other on our spiritual well-being. Lacking from social interaction or inclusion, may cause huge health risks leading to death.
Yes, you saw it right.
This is why many people are constantly looking for the approval and acceptance, outside of themselves. This is made worse now with the rise of social media platform such as Facebook and Instagram, where the need for approval in terms of “likes” can be extremely devastating. [Read: I Am Bored]
How can you let go of this need?
“I am not resisting!”
Yes, it sounds counter-intuitive. Because on one end of the struggle of seeking acceptance from a certain group or people, there is always another end where you are readily accepted. We beat ourselves up thinking that this person or this group is the one!
We try to seek their approval of how we should be, instead of thinking of how we want to be. This is a downward spiral, leading to self-destruction. Your worth is never determined by what others see of you, but what you make of yourself. And you have the most power in the world, to determine who you should be and how you want to live your life. The power of choice, is one power that you are bestowed with and can never be taken away without your permission. [Read: 8 Greatest Lessons I Learned]
Stop Caring About What Others Think
“What if they think I am proud by not participating? What if they no longer include me in future?”
This is one major leap, even for myself. The need to always be there for someone or that group. Sometimes we think that is for the better. But instead, it can be for the worse. Sometimes you reached out your hand for the best intention, only to be spat in the face. The truth is, not everyone is going to like you, no matter what you do.
It is way much better for yourself and for others to see this, trust that things will turn out for the better without your intervention. This frees up your mind and heart space to really dedicate to things that do matter, to people who are there for you when you need them and for those who accepts you for who you are.
Take Yourself Out of the Picture
“Wait a minute. What?”
Yes, sometimes taking yourself out of the picture will allow yourself to see much clearer. Perhaps the people who you think are the best for you may look that way, yet turn out otherwise. Perhaps they are facing their own struggles or even a bad day. You may not be accepted today, but it does not mean it is not tomorrow or in the future.
We often think too deeply into things, over-analysing what should be instead of leaving things as it is. It is also important to practice critical thinking in terms of subjectivity and objectivity. He or she is not calling back or texting back, and we go into a variety of reasons why, often associating that with ourselves. Maybe they are just occupied.
The truth is, love and all relationships goes both ways. We do not need to convince others to stay, nor do we need to convince ourselves that this other person is going to determine our future happiness. There is no greater care and concern, then let the others find their own means of happiness, even if that is not with you. People stay because they want to. If they don’t, let them be.
Accept Yourself First
It is very common that we constantly want others to approve of us, in the things we do. Yet, we have never gotten much opportunity to understand and accept ourselves. Unless you allow yourself to be accepted first, you will always see others’ disapproval, and that means a constant struggle to seek their approval (Man, that really rhymes).
Finding yourself, although cliche, can really be your priority in this lifetime. Spend time and reflect, meditate, talk to others who know you well. The path to acceptance lies in yourself.