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Are You Seeking Their Approval or Trying To Make Them Proud?

I wouldn’t do either until you have approved of yourself and made yourself proud. Let’s find out why.

When people are deciding what to be in life one of the main factors that can influence their decision is trying to make someone one proud of them.

They make comments like I want to make (insert name) proud of me so I am going to become (insert career/profession).

The second you make a life decision based on whether or not someone will be proud of you, you have chosen to allow others to create your future for you.

It is not a bad thing to want to make someone proud but if you are not careful you will find ten years down the road regretting the decision you made. You have to be careful how much power you give them over you trying to make them proud.

I know of plenty of people who only became doctors, lawyers, teachers, etc. just because it was what someone else wanted them to be. Or they committed to something and didn’t know how to get out because people kept saying how proud of them they were.

You don’t want to disappoint anyone right?

Do what you do to make yourself proud first. If you are going to lead a life trying to make others proud of you make sure you understand what you need to do in order for that to happen. Also recognize the potential sacrifices you will be making.

What if all they want is for you to be happy regardless of what you do and you believe they want you to be a police officer?

After all this time worrying about making them proud it may not be what you assume it is.

How Do You Make Them Proud

How do you know how they define being proud of you? Did they specifically say they would only be proud of you if you became what they wanted you to become.

You see we are so heavily influenced by what our parents and friends want that we willingly sacrifice our happiness to make them proud of us. In very few cases are our parents or friends actually going to be disappointed in us for not becoming what they believed we should be.

Once they see you excelling at what you love to do, the pride will well up inside them even if it isn’t what they thought you would do.

When it comes to our parents they believe they “know what is best for us” but you and I know the only person that decides what is best for you, is you. This is not to say that our parents don’t have great guidance because a lot of the time they do. This simply comes down to you choosing to be what you want to be in life.

Seeking Approval

I believe, based on what I have seen, that saying you want to make someone proud is actually a disguise for wanting to have someone approve of you. If you long for your dad’s approval and he was a police officer then there is a good chance you will be a police officer whether you believe it is what you want to do or not.

Trying to do what you believe the other person wants you to do in order to receive their approval is a path that leads to unhappiness and regret. By assuming you know how they would approve of you, you set yourself up for failure.

You cannot control whether people approve of you or not, that is their decision.

Do what you do because it makes you proud of yourself and only seek the approval of yourself. If you really cannot be that person yet then the next best step is to become very clear on what exactly it is you are trying to achieve.

If you are going to be unhappy at least know exactly what you will be doing to get there.

Be Clear

Get clarity from the people who you are trying to make proud of you. Be honest and say you need them to be very specific about what they will feel proud of you for. I say who cares live your own life but know not everyone can do that. Some people desperately need that approval.

Is it following your dreams, being a dentist, having a secure job, etc. You need to know so you can see the pride in their eyes. Once you have received their defined sense of pride you can choose whether or not to fulfill it.

If you choose to fulfill their desires before yours then you will need to accept the choice you made and release them from all responsibility as to how your life turns out. In other words you can’t blame them for you becoming a police officer just because that is the only way they would be proud of you.

The other option is to take this opportunity of open communication to be honest with them and say what you need from them. Let them know that what you need is their approval and acceptance regardless of whether you follow their dreams for you or not.

Make people proud of you because you took a stand for what you believed was right for you. If you make a mistake don’t buy into the “I told you so’s” and try again.

Even if you come full circle to discovering what you wanted to be is what they recommended all along at least you discovered it for yourself. Let them think they know it all while you bask in that inner glow that only comes from being true to yourself and following your dreams.

Take Action Request:

Now is the time to reflect on where you are at in life and gently ask yourself – Am I who I am because I wanted to make someone proud of me or get their approval? If so are you happy? If you discover that you answered yes and then no you are not happy it is time to start discovering how you can make yourself happy and proud.

Your Life Your Choice Your Design

Darrin Wiggins

P.S. – This is the second post in a row I have recommended Crucial Conversations but anyone who is experiencing what I discuss in this post will benefit greatly from this book.

“Born this Way” is about being yourself, and loving who you are and being proud.” – Lady Gaga

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