The conundrum of approval

The conundrum of approval

[00:00:00] Well, hello! This is The Daily Five with Aurooba, that's me, where we reflect on creating our best lives a little bit every day. Here we go!

[00:00:15] How many things do you do on a daily basis because of external approval? Think about it. Now, it might be difficult, because sometimes the line between things you do as part of necessary interdependence, and things you do for external approval only, can be awful thin sometimes. You hate doing the dishes, but you do them anyway because you share the burden of housekeeping with your partner.

[00:00:43] But alternatively, maybe you only super clean your home when guests are coming, because while you may be able to live with a level of messiness, you might be embarrassed to admit such a thing to visitors. With that last example, the motivation for that could be interdependence with the people of the world, but it could also be external approval. Or it could be both.

[00:01:05] I show up for my job every day, incentivized by a regular paycheck. Is that external approval? After all, I wouldn't show up for the job if there was no paycheck. Or, is that just a part of modern interdependence? Like I said, some lines are blurry and difficult to evaluate. Others, not so much.

[00:01:27] Face makeup is almost always worn for external approval. Sometimes that external approval is so deeply internalized that you can't even handle your own self without it. But then that example begs the question, is makeup always bad? Or in moderation, or in some cases, is it okay to seek external approval using makeup?

[00:01:50] I myself wear makeup. Not every day, but I wear it. If I'm wearing something particularly fancy, I'm more likely to wear it. My environment has trained me to do so when I wear something fancy, and yet, I fully recognize that I don't think my husband looks weird at all when he wears something fancy and doesn't put on face enhancing makeup.

[00:02:12] There's a book called The Courage to be Disliked. I haven't read it, but it's on my list. Perhaps higher on my list now than it was before, but the title itself is intriguing and speaks volumes. And it came up as part of a post on the last episode. It's not that seeking external approval is always a bad thing.

[00:02:36] It's that seeking external approval all the time is perhaps a bad thing. It's not staying true to yourself because of external approval that is definitely a bad thing. Sometimes you have to do things people don't like. I mean, if you're a psychopath and listening, don't take this as permission to murder people.

[00:02:55] People don't like murder and you should not do it. But within the realm of the moral and ethical right, within the realm of relative safety, sometimes doing the right thing or the true thing requires being comfortable not having external approval, and in fact having active external disapproval. This is tough.

[00:03:14] We are evolutionarily disposed to do the things that others approve of, to live together and cooperate together. However, despite also being inclined to being adaptive. We are not, in fact, inclined to change. After all, evolution is lazy. It wants to do the minimum to ensure survival and propagation, not more. That would be, energetically speaking, wasteful.

[00:03:40] But at the rate of progression, at some point, we, we humans, took some part of the evolution cycle into our own hands. And so to really progress, to really stay ahead as a species, sure, but also as an individual human being, you will sometimes have to do something new or something different, which may inevitably attract the disapproval of some.

[00:04:04] So this is a bit of a philosophical episode for sure. But I guess the point I'm trying to make is, sometimes, we accidentally fall into the trap of doing too many things for other people's approval. And sometimes that actively holds us back. It actively stops us from being true to ourselves. And at that point, external approval becomes a liability rather than something that helps you or helps the people around you or even helps interdependence really in the long term.

[00:04:37] So think about what you do and why you do it. Think about whether you should do it or if maybe you should change it.

[00:04:54] Thanks for listening! Same time tomorrow?