3 signs you’re trying way too hard for people’s approval (and why you should stop)

Do you find yourself on a never-ending quest for approval? 

Or covet external validation, like you’d evaporate unless someone told you they liked your newest outfit? 

I’ll let you in on a little secret: trying too hard for people’s approval is a slippery slope to exhaustion — it’s messy, inauthentic, and can erode your sense of self. 

So, if you have a sneaking suspicion that you might be someone who desperately seeks the good opinion of others, you’re in luck. 

Join me on this light-hearted exploration of three important signs that you might be trying too hard for people’s approval.

1) You’ve mastered the art of becoming a human pretzel

Do you or someone you know have the bizarre ability to contort themselves into a human pretzel just to fit in with the cool crowd? 

If you find yourself twisting, curling, and literally bending over backward to please others, it’s a sure sign that you are trying way too hard.

Maybe you’ve taken up hobbies that don’t actually interest you at all because the people around you are into those. 

Maybe you’ve started drinking kale smoothies because your cool, new, and ultra-bendy yoga friends have them at 6 am every morning. 

Or how about this – you laugh at jokes that just aren’t funny, or say things that you think might impress the leader of the cool kid’s gang you are trying to get into…

If you can relate to this, then it’s time to untangle yourself.

Building authentic relationships is the only way to create a sustainable and healthy social circle. 

So, trying to blend in with a crowd that likes spinach and spirulina when you are a steak sandwich kind of person? That will end up grinding you down. 

Embrace your quirks and eccentricities — those are the things that make you a unique and loveable person. 

Be true to yourself and remember that your tribe is out there, waiting to embrace you over a meat stack and cheese grill.

2) Your social media accounts resemble a carefully curated museum

I don’t know a single person who hasn’t fallen into the trap of, “I must make my life look as perfect as possible on social media.” It really is a trap because it’s not real in any way, shape, or form.

If your IG feed looks like a Hollywood movie with meticulously chosen filters and perfect life-affirming captions, it might be a sign that you’re trying too hard for people’s approval

Look, real life is messy, awkward, and embarrassing. It’s filled with photographs of people mid-blink, tripping over, and having their hair blown into their mouths. 

Instead of striving for what is literally unattainable, try to embrace the chaotic nature of real life and share from that honest place. It’s often funnier and way more relatable anyway. 

Fortunately, I think times are really changing. People don’t want to see the high-gloss, slick shots so much.

The age of radical realness is upon us, all belly rolls, zits, and messy truths. 

Let your social media be a refreshing and authentic reminder to anyone who stumbles on your feed that it’s okay to have real feelings and look like a real human being. 

I bet you’ll find way more genuine engagement and people relating to your content than if you try to present an airbrushed version of who you really are.

3) You’re a chronic people-pleaser

Oh, the “Yes Man.”

Do you find yourself agreeing to things that actually both you just to avoid conflict? Are you constantly sacrificing your own needs to make others happy and pleased with you? 

If you are a chronic “Yes Man,” then you aren’t just a people-pleaser; you’ve graduated to doormat status, and are likely suffering from an extreme case of “try-hard” syndrome.

Now, don’t get me wrong – being considerate and kind is commendable. But there’s a fine line between being a good friend and being a pushover

You don’t have to, nor should you, always please everyone all of the time. 

People who like you for who you really are will respect you when you say “no,” and it will likely gain you some respect when you hold a boundary. 

Prioritizing your own needs can do wonders for your self-reliance, self-esteem, and self-love. When our own cup runneth over, we are more resourced to give to others. 

Don’t burn out trying to make everyone happy. The world won’t crumble (and neither will your true friendships) if you choose to put yourself first once in a while.

Final thoughts

Trying too hard for people’s approval is like wearing a straitjacket to a dance party — it limits your freedom of movement, stifles your true self, robs you of authentic self-expression, and takes away the chance for the world to see your amazing dance moves.

Letting go of the need for constant external validation can feel daunting. I totally get it. But I promise, once you start dancing to your own beat, you’ll find a whole bunch of other people who love the sound of that drum.

You are an incredible, unique, and quirky mish-mash of emotions, likes, and dislikes — embrace yourself and flaunt those imperfections surrounded by people who love you for them.

Stepping into your own light will also inspire others to let go of their approval-seeking ways. And what’s more, you’ll soon learn that the only approval you ever really need comes from within. 

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Tina Fey

I'm Tina Fey, the founder of the blog Love Connection. I've extremely passionate about sharing relationship advice. I've studied psychology and have my Masters in marital, family, and relationship counseling. I hope with all my heart to help you improve your relationships, and I hope that even if one thing I write helps you, it means more to me than just about anything else in the world. Check out my blog Love Connection, and if you want to get in touch with me, hit me up on Twitter

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