Creating an impression.

Some stuff has been floating around in my head for a few days and I’ve been trying to make the ends meet. You know make sense of it all, get it into some semblance of order and hopefully understand a little bit more about my behaviour. And that of others too.

We all do things to impress people. It’s human nature to seek out the approval of others. We all want to be accepted / liked / loved for who and what we are.  And we’ve all undoubtedly been in situations where we’ve met someone for the first time and they’ve been very obvious in their OTT attempt to get us to like them.

Situations like that usually make me go cold as the person in question comes across as simply trying too hard. And at that point I question their motives. I would have much preferred them to be themselves, to relax, and be natural. That kind of behaviour makes me feel comfortable, relaxed and act naturally. Win win right?

Go with me on this one… Trying to impress others also means that you miss out on loads. You miss conversation / chat / banter because you tune out while you try to think of something outrageously clever or witty to say. You’ll be so focussed on your own image that you simply don’t enjoy the conversation or hear what that person has to say or even get to know that other person. You become so absorbed in yourself that nothing else matters. Where’s the fun in that?

For all of your efforts to gain approval, all you’ll end up with is feeling empty and insecure. You’ll probably replay the event over and over in your head thinking that you weren’t good enough. When, if you hadn’t worried about impressing others, but rather concentrated on the moment, you might have made a new friend, or learned something valuable, or just had a good laugh.

Think about someone whose approval you would normally seek out. Ask yourself this question: Do you really need this person’s approval? Will the world stop rotating and will mankind disappear in a huge puff of smoke if you don’t get it? Of course not.

Invariably we place too much emphasis on someone else’s opinion. In a social context I firmly believe it doesn’t matter what they think as long as you are happy with what you’ve done. We all do random stuff to seek out approval – from updating Facebook to tell everyone about the wild time they’ve missed out on, to hanging onto that boyfriend / girlfriend that we know isn’t right simply because we want to be wanted, or even to making important life decisions that compromise our integrity purely to keep other people happy.

Maybe you can relate to those examples. Maybe not. I see elements of myself in all of them, and definitely see those around me in some of them too. The problem with this behaviour is that you are constantly looking to others to bolster your emotions and self-esteem. If someone tells you that you are beautiful then you feel great, but if they say you are hideous then your emotions end up in a huge chuffing great big mess on the floor. Personally, I don’t want to be in that position.

This isn’t to say that I will never give people compliments nor appreciate receiving them (in my rather cack handed way), but mine or anybody else’s happiness should not be found in the opinions of others. Our sense of who we are should not change depending on who we are talking to and what they have to say.

If you have a strong reality, a clear understanding of who and what you are, then the need for approval will diminish. I don’t need other people to tell me who I am or how I should feel. I don’t need the approval of others to feel good about myself. I can do that by myself thank you very much.

However there will be occasions where I do want to go all out and impress someone. At these times I will set my cap at the task at hand and go for it. However that’s on my terms and its a conscious decision. And if it doesnt get the required response I will deal with the fall out accordingly.

But we are all different. So by all means seek out approval if that’s what works for you. Just be aware you might find judgement instead…

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