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Tiny Wisdom: Getting Our Own Approval

“A man cannot be comfortable without his own approval.” –Mark Twain

I currently have three inch dark blond roots growing into my golden hair because I’ve decided to go natural after a decade of consistent coloring.

I’m wearing large pink flower earrings that make me smile, even though they don’t really go with the yoga pants and tie-dyed hoodie I also felt like wearing.

I’m viewing my laptop through slightly crooked glassed because I sat on them two weeks ago, but they’re still functional, and I’d rather spend my money on new initiatives for this site.

In the past, I would never have gone out if I didn’t think I looked perfectly together. I cared far too much about other people’s perceptions for that.

This goes back to elementary school when my 4th grade teacher frequently made me stand in front of the class while he described my dress and called me “Miss Prim and Proper.”

My perfect image imploded in high school, when I started playing with goth and grunge, but even that was a ploy for acceptance.

I would like to say I’ve evolved beyond concerns of what other people think, but the reality is I still care—I just know now that I am happiest when I focus on what makes me feel good, regardless of how it looks.

Earlier this week I wrote a post about our need to receive and accept praise; which begs the question: what’s the difference between needing appreciation and seeking approval?

I suspect it comes down to intention. A healthy need for appreciation comes from the desire to be loved by others. An unhealthy need for approval comes from the desire to compensate for the love we’re not giving ourselves.

It might not be possible to completely stop caring about what other people think, and that might not be a bad thing. Because we care, we look out for others and consider their feelings before we act. But it is possible to honor our own needs and values above appearances and public perception.

It’s possible to take the road less traveled, even if it others might judge. To do what we think is right, even if others might disagree. And if you’re like me, to wear those crooked glasses, knowing what’s most important is not how it looks, but how we see ourselves and what we do as a result.

Photo by nickyfern

About Lori Deschene

Lori Deschene is the founder of Tiny Buddha. She’s also the author of Tiny Buddha’s Gratitude Journal, Tiny Buddha's Worry Journal, and Tiny Buddha's Inner Strength Journal and co-founder of Recreate Your Life Story, an online course that helps you let go of the past and live a life you love. For daily wisdom, join the Tiny Buddha list here. You can also follow Tiny Buddha on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram.

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