Are you spending too much energy on trying to gain social acceptance?
The desire to be liked is something we all feel, as we are social beings, and as such, we have an innate need to form relationships with other human beings. For this reason, social acceptance is quite important for us.
Nonetheless, in some cases, the need to gain people’s approval could become excessive.
There are a number of possible reasons that could lead to this exaggerated desire. Social anxiety could be one of them. Thus, if you are experiencing a fear of people’s hard judgment, you may be trying to escape your nervousness by going too far getting people to like you.
A quite different reason could be some kind of narcissistic attitude. Narcissists have a strong need for social acceptance, as this seems to feed their self-admiration.
Maybe pleasing people is something you learned as a child and such early experiences are often hard to get over. Or perhaps, you might not feel very self-confident and being liked gives you a push to your self-assurance.
Reasons could vary, but no matter what created it, if the extent of this desire goes too far, you need to recognize the situation and do something about it.
Here are five indications that you are spending too much energy on trying to gain social acceptance:
1. You Never Say “No”
Feeling unable to say no to anything, such as a dinner invitation at 9 p.m. when you have your dance class, or accepting to take over a new voluntary project at the expense of quality time with your family, could become exhausting.
Saying yes to anything means you cannot prioritize your own real needs. You need a balance.
Tip: If saying “no” seems too hard for you, try saying something like ”I’ll think about it and we’ll talk again, thank you!” This shall give you time to think through your answer.
2. You Always Keep it Safe
If you avoid expressing an opinion, so that you keep things on an even keel with everyone, you should keep in mind that sweeping it under the carpet can’t work forever. In the long term, you will not be taken seriously if you never express yourself clearly on anything.
In addition, you’ll end up having great difficulty in making any decision at all.
Tip: Do not be afraid to be exposed. We cannot agree with everyone and that’s perfectly ok! Compel yourself to give clear answers. Practice makes perfect, and you shall see that with time, you will become more confident forming a clear perspective on important issues and expressing it.
3. Asking for Help Is Out of the Question
Ironically, even though people-pleasers are always more than eager to help others, they themselves rarely reach for any kind of help. There is nothing wrong with asking for help when you need it. There are people who will be happy to help you; all you need to do is ask.
Avoiding it could deprive you of important opportunities. After all, teamwork, supporting each other and sharing responsibilities are quite valuable for creating and keeping healthy professional and personal relationships.
Tip: Try asking for help once a day. It could be something minor, such as asking for someone’s help on a new task or asking someone to proofread a text. This will help you realize that others are usually happy to offer their help. Actually, psychologists believe that when we do a favor for someone, it could make us like that person more. So give it a try!
4. Setting Boundaries Is a Hard Task for You
Whether a colleague blabbers incessantly and doesn’t seem to understand that you are busy, or your wife’s family won’t be discreet and tend to interfere with your marriage, not setting limits could lead to disastrous effects on your life.
Tip: You are the one who makes the decisions for your own life. Refuse to let people take advantage of your kindness or disrespect you. Always keep in mind that you have the power and every right to speak up when you feel that others do not realize your personal boundaries.
5. You Disregard Your Values
Remaining faithful to your values is quite important for maintaining peace of mind. Nevertheless, it is not attainable to live your life according to your personal values if your priority is to keep everyone happy.
There will be times that your beliefs will not agree with the options given to you. It won’t always be convenient for others to see you make your choice according to your values.
Tip: Do not be afraid to follow your own principles. Try to figure out whether what is really important to you is set as a priority, or not. If not, it is time you set goals and made changes in order to live the way you really want. After all, it’s your life and you’re in charge of making it worth it!
Do you often fall into the trap of needing social acceptance? Did this article help you to broaden your perspective?
Let us know in the comments below!
By Valerie S.