Do I Choose Me or What Others Expect of Me?


We are often at crossroads between our needs, wants and desires and the needs, wants and desires of others. From a very young age we are conditioned to yield to the will of others. This is for good reason – as children we need boundaries and limits to navigate the world around without getting into danger.

One of our deepest human desires is a sense of belonging and to be part of a group. We learn very early that when we comply with others, we are rewarded by being accepted in the group. The first experience of a group is the family where we learn the rules of relating to others through the interactions of family members – especially our parents. This group establishes a template for all future relationships.

As we mature, we believe we are making independent choices. However, at a deep unconscious level we may be still seeking acceptance and approval from others as a result of our conditioning. Conflict in relationships can arise that reflects one’s own inner struggle when implicitly seeking acceptance and approval.

Through reflective thinking, we can uncover this unconscious pattern deep within us that underlies many of our relationships. Letting go of the need for acceptance and approval from the people around us can be a scary thought. Yet, as soon as we acknowledge and accept this as the truth of what we do, we have already begun the process of change.

When you choose to gain approval from others, you are abandoning yourself and being dependent on the opinion of others while keeping you trapped in your inner prison. If your motivation is to avoid conflict, you become resentful and bitter towards those very people. If you choose your needs and wants, you risk disapproval and judgment from others. This is particularly the case if others have relied on you to meet their needs. This inner conflict can often cause confusion, doubt, frustration, fear and anxiety that further complicates choosing the right course of action.

Choosing a loving action that will help you grow is always the best choice. Letting go of the need for acceptance and approval takes courage. The more you choose to let go, the easier it will be to stand firm in the face of disapproval and judgment from the people around you. You may feel painfully guilty at first but its even more painful when you abandon yourself.

The more you care for yourself and nurture this part of you that you have abandoned, the more inner freedom and empowerment you will experience. When you do things for others not because you have to but because you choose to, you are becoming free of your inner prison. It’s all in the intention of your thoughts, feelings and actions.

Will you choose to let go of the need for acceptance and approval from others and only seek your own loving acceptance and approval that will set you free?

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