Seeking Approval of Others and Being Happy


I’m not sure if everyone gets this type of break through in life in order to be happy. For that matter, I’m not even sure that some people need to have a break through at all. Many people were simply born happy spirits. I always thought that I was one of those people. But, at different moments, and perhaps after having gone through different challenges that I had, I’ve questioned whether or not I was truly happy inside.

Some people that have been close to me would even ask me at times, “Anne, How can you be so happy. You go through so much.” Notice that I wrote that as a rhetorical question, because that’s how it was said. It was said to me in a questionable tone, as if life hasn’t been good to you, so why be so happy. Well, I suppose at the time I was going through certain things, so they questioned my happy state of mind, and perhaps the reason behind my smile.

Hmm, I wonder if that was all in my head now that I think about it. But, nah…. that person played mind games and was likely insecure (they’re not in my life anymore), and ultimately, I don’t think it was coming out of a good place. The fact is, I was happy in that moment, and around that time period, because I was dating someone who I liked (that person). But, clearly they didn’t get it, nor did they feel the same way (at least not genuinely). My point here wasn’t heartbreak. But more so, the fact that happiness is all about moments, and to strive to be a generally happy person takes people that are willing to improve themselves and their ways of life.

Your happiness shouldn’t have to depend on someone else. Having said that, it’s important to surround yourself with people that will bring you more happiness and joy, instead of those that rhetorically question yours. As long as you’re confident, whole, and happy yourself, being around happy people can’t hurt, and it can actually even help to improve your state of happiness.

Okay, now folks, listen to what I’m saying closely. You should never have to question why another person is so happy. You should just be happy for them. Why dissect the level of truth to another person’s happiness. For your own personal satisfaction and convoluted reasons? That’s just not good enough. Who knows what anyone is really feeling inside, and hey, if someone is strong and enlightened enough that they can stay cheerful, even if they’re hurting inside, that’s amazing, impressive, and really quite an accomplishment.

We all go through so many different things in our lives. So as far as being born happy, well, who knows who was born that way or who chose to create a happier life for themselves. Who knows, and really, who cares! I suppose there’s no reason to dissect whether or not happiness is something we’re born with. What matters is that we create happiness and surround ourselves with people and things that bring us joy, laughter, smiles, and even happy tears. We should all become happier people. If you feel that people are taking you out of your happy, calm, and loving state, then they might be toxic, and you should be cautious of bringing them closer into your life. At least, until you know for sure.

Happiness is something that we may feel at one moment, and the next, it’s gone. Your happy mood might not only change, but you might feel another emotion that could bring you down in different ways. No one can be stably happy at all times. Having said that, it’s definitely something healthy and enlightening to strive for, and by all means, go ahead and try. But generally speaking, feeling stably happy is something that although we should strive for, we may never attain. This is a reality that we need to face.

To Love Oneself Is to Be at Peace

We all have the ability to self love, self sooth, and self comfort. Many times, people that are alone as far as friends, family, and whatnot go, don’t have someone to help them out during hard times. We should all try to create a sense of inner peace. It’s important to develop enough inner strength so that no matter how many people you feel are close to you in your life, you are never really alone and in a place where you feel the need to be helped by others or you’d end up emotionally suffering and feeling miserable.

Being able to love yourself enough to the point where we can create a sense of calm and peace for ourselves is something that can bring about a great deal of resilience and strength. We all need to feel at peace with our lives in every way that we can. We should be at peace with decisions that we make, our lifestyle choices, with how we look (having a good self esteem), and with people around us. Feeling a sense of peace with the world, with others, and with ourselves can bring about an immense amount of happiness.

The Happy Perfectionist

Another thing that brings us a lot of happiness (the one that I started writing this article about) is something that I didn’t feel that I was born with. Something that didn’t feel instinctive to me, but I had to work on, and in all brutal honesty, I still do. This is the fact that I’ve been imperfect, living as a perfectionist since birth, and trying to do everything that I can to be perfect. I wanted approval, people to be proud of me, and to think that I was great. I’ve been living my life in the most unfulfilling way possible by creating such high standards for myself that no one could live up to, and by no one, it meant me as well.

My expectations for others have always been high, but that’s because I’ve expected so much from myself as well. Despite any challenging times, turbulence or discomfort in my life, I’ve always tried to make it through things, and then some. I didn’t want to feel as if I just resilient or strong, but I wanted to go far and beyond to an extent of killing it so to speak or going overboard by becoming fabulous and even helping others, making better choices, and learning from those bad experiences.

I wanted to overachieve at things that I felt were important and that I’d personally struggled with. People become perfectionists for different reasons. They might do so out of an arrogant place and because they want to be the best of the best, where no one will achieve more in life or in that particular thing.

For many people, their reasons for being a perfectionist are different. I’m not a therapist, so I’m just exploring my thoughts here, but for me, I believe that it was routed from my childhood. That’s something that many therapists say about nearly everything, and although it may sound condescending to many of them, it’s not my intention. However, in this case, I think it was in fact routed from my childhood, because since I was young, having gone through my particular upbringing and coming from divorced parents (a bad divorce), I wanted to get more attention from my parents, not less, and less is usually something that unfortunately many kids experience when their parents get divorced.

Wanting more attention from my parents and perhaps not getting it, I acted out a bit (I only remember a little). But, that’s because as a toddler and young kids we have a misconception that any attention is good, even if it’s bad. Having said that, I wanted their attention, and I wanted to do whatever it took for them to be proud of me. At the time, I never felt that they were.

This is something that I personally struggle with and work on to this very day. It’s imperative to raise one’s kids in a way that they don’t have to deal with thoughts as such, and they’ll automatically know that their parents are proud of them. It really hurt badly when I wanted that praise at many times from my family, my friends, my husband at the time, and even complete strangers. I didn’t want praise and for people to be proud of me because it went to my head in some arrogant or narcissistic way. I wanted to feel loved, to get attention, and for people close to me to be proud of me. I suppose I just wanted to hear it. The words alone would’ve done wonders to me throughout my life.

I’d be lying to say that I still don’t struggle with this (knowing that it makes me somewhat vulnerable to being judged while I sit and give advice to others on many subjects. I’m human just like you. I make mistakes, and usually I try to learn and grow from them. Most of the bad experiences that I’ve gone through in my life have made it so that I’m able to write and help others.

I Had an Epiphany

I generally feel that I’m a happy person for the most part. I want to be happy, so I try to do things in life that bring me joy, pleasure, and happiness. But I’m also self-aware, and I realize that there are consequences in life, so I’m probably less of a free spirit than many others. Not to compare, but living in LA, there are many free spirits. I refer to myself as a conservative free spirit, but more on that later. So my epiphany was this. I’ve been living a life where I’ve felt the need for to get praise and approval from others. As well, I’ve always felt the need and desire to strive for perfection and gosh darnit to attain it to the T. If I put that amount of weight onto myself, that amount of expectation, then I’ll never be happy.

Recently, I realized that I don’t need to be perfect. I just need to be me. I need to be the best version of me possible. But more than anything (which is what usually gets the back seat) is that I need to be happy. A happy version of Anne. The only version that there should be. You see, when it comes to doing anything in life, and that includes self improvement, the ultimate goal is happiness. Being perfect or striving for perfection won’t bring happiness. Happiness is something that we need to feel from within. It’s a state of mind. Having the desire to get praise, attention, and approval from others and to feel that they’re proud of you is something that no one needs to seek out. At least for me, my search is over.

The truth is, you can’t make certain people feel proud of you. No matter how hard you may try. We shouldn’t have to put ourselves through that kind of agony. We should be proud of ourselves. We should strive to be the best versions of ourselves in life, without trying to overcompensate for the lack of a backbone that maybe wasn’t present in our upbringings. We may never get our family’s approval, our friend’s approval, or anyone else’s for that matter. But that’s okay, because when we feel confident, secure, and happy with who we are and what we do in life, it’s then that we’re able to truly feel utter and genuine happiness and live in a state of peace.

We don’t need to get the praise or approval from others when we know that we’re doing something good. We don’t need likes and fans on social media just to boost our egos or even worse, yes worse, to make us feel whole or good enough. we need to know that we are good enough, we deserve praise, and that even if we don’t have people around us that are proud or that give their approval or delight by who we are and what we achieve in life, we need to feel happy ourselves. This is why I write do what makes you happy. We shouldn’t have to work hard to make anyone like us or even love us. We don’t need to make everyone happy in life or be perfect. We just need to be the best versions of ourselves that we can, and do whatever makes us happy in life (as long as it causes no harm to others).

My happiness finally came when I stopped trying to be perfect.

If anyone has an experience that they’d like to share of their own in regards to being a perfectionist or knowing one and you see that it’s weighing them or you down, feel free to anonymously leave a comment or your story at the end of this article. No one will see who wrote the comment if you don’t login, and you can be sure that I don’t either. I want to hear your stories, thoughts, and any questions that you might have. I shared some of my own personal life with you all, and I hope in doing so, it can help you or others to improve, or see yourselves in a different light, and maybe even relate. Wishing you all a wonderful week. G-d Bless.

Anne Cohen
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One thought on “Seeking Approval of Others and Being Happy

  1. Excellent article! I may not know you, but I’m proud of you! I stumbled upon your page and went ahead and read your article and am glad that I did. I think it is great that you are sharing your story and the wisdom that you have gained through your journey, and I’m guessing largely through God. These are all things that I struggle with daily, the battle against perfectionism, approval from others, keeping my joy, and loving myself. The only way I have found to accomplish all of these is through an active relationship with Jesus Christ! I believe that every single person on this earth faces all of these battles daily, from the time they are born. – I was a perfectionist for many many years, the majority of my life actually. I think I believed that perfection was somehow obtainable, at least in one or two areas. The last few years of my life can really be best described as Job’s testing of faith in the Bible. I am now being restored though, for that I am thankful to God. This testing period has eradicated any desire for perfectionism and it is unbelievably freeing. Keep doing what you are doing! You’re awesome! God Bless!

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