Can You Truly Stop Craving Acceptance From Others?

Maybe you can, but maybe you can’t. Here are some tips to help you stop worrying about what others think.

Kelsey Hickey
5 min readMay 13, 2020
Photo by Kinga Cichewicz on Unsplash

“Approval is a lover who will always break your heart.”

— Sammy Rhodes

Ever since I was a young child I’ve craved the acceptance of others.

I needed acceptance from my friends in elementary school. From my teachers in middle school. From my peers in high school. From the guys at the bar in college. From my boss and coworkers at my entry-level job.

Constantly looking and needing acceptance from people around me got exhausting.

Yet still, it was something I worried relentlessly about nearly every second of the day.

It kept me from taking chances, making new friends, forming deeper bonds, and trying new things.

Most importantly it kept me from living my life.

Sometimes I still look for the acceptance of others, but I don’t rely on it nearly as much as I used to. I can catch myself falling back into my old ways and remember a few of these tips that I’ll share with you.

Accept Yourself

One of the main reasons that I was constantly looking for acceptance from other people was that I hadn’t actually accepted myself yet.

Sometimes accepting yourself is easier said than done.

The best thing that you can do is focus on what makes you happy.

When you’re kind to yourself and do what you love, then there’s no reason to be critical of what others think.

You should also remember to practice positive self-talk when accepting yourself. This means that you should still speak and think positively of yourself even when you don’t approve of your own actions.

When you do something wrong or incorrect you shouldn’t get down on yourself and think you’re a terrible person. Instead, you need to think, “I made a mistake, but I’ll do better next time.”

Accepting yourself starts with thinking positively about yourself. When you think positively and accept yourself, then you’ll stop caring what other people think about you.

Believe in What You Say and Do

Lacking confidence is another reason why I was constantly looking for acceptance from others.

When I would wear a new outfit or make a presentation, I would get nervous about it, therefore I would look for validation from others.

I wasn’t 100% confident in what I was doing.

Once one person backed up my thoughts or opinions, then I was completely fine.

Confidence isn’t something that happens overnight. For me, it was something that I had to fake until I believed it was true.

Faking confidence is the key to not needing acceptance from others. If you believe in what you say and do, then you’re not going to need the approval of others.

Reevaluate Your Social Media Usage

Social media plays a huge part in my life and it probably does the same for you.

We may constantly be looking at social media for likes or even claps on what we post. Once we get the validation from people liking our posts, then we start to feel good about ourselves.

The thing about social media is the majority of it is fake. We post what we want others to think we’re doing but not what we’re actually doing.

Was the picture of the food on your plate really that delicious? Did you truly have the night of your life? If you can post a picture on social media just to impress others, then don’t you think that’s what everyone else is doing?

Don’t get me wrong! Social media is an awesome place to connect with friends, family, and people that you don’t even know. It’s a great place to share ideas, thoughts, and opinions.

Yet, it can also be very damaging trying to impress those same exact people.

Take a step back and evaluate what you’re using social media for.

If you’re only posting to get more likes, favorites, or claps, then maybe it’s time to reevaluate why you spend your time on social media. Taking a break from social media can definitely help you decide what and why you post in the future.

Stop Comparing Yourself to Other People

Another big reason why you need acceptance from others is that you could feel like you’re not doing as well as they are. Once you get that acceptance from someone who seems like they’re doing better than you, then you just might feel okay.

Yet, it’s just not true.

Everyone is at different stages in their lives. We all work at different paces and there isn’t a set finish line that we need to cross.

Life isn’t a competition.

You need to stop comparing yourself to other people just because they seem like they’re more well off than you.

One reason is that you could be comparing yourself to something that isn’t even real. We have no idea what another person’s journey was to lead them to where they were today.

Focus on yourself and your own goals. Don’t compare yourself to others because you have no idea what path they took to get them there.

Never Stop Working on It

For some people, it is going to be very difficult to stop craving acceptance from others.

Your main goal should be to never stop working on it.

As long as you focus on becoming a happier and more confident person, then you will start to notice the need for acceptance disappear. Once you focus on yourself, you won’t need the opinions of others.

I sometimes catch myself walking into a room for the first time filled with new people and wondering what they’ll think of me.

Am I going to say something stupid? Will they like my hair? What can I say to impress them right off the bat?

Instead, I take a deep breath and just introduce myself. They’ll like me for me.

You Don’t Need Acceptance From Anyone Besides Yourself

When you can finally accept yourself for who you are, then the rest should just come naturally. Be confident in yourself and stand behind who you are as a person.

You’ll notice that as soon as you stop worrying about getting acceptance from others that you’ll think more positively about yourself.