Why do we seek approval and how to stop? A simple answer with a simple sculpture

[ Sculpture Size : 65 c.m. x 30 c.m. ]     

[ Sculpture Title : Approval ]     

Why do we seek approval so desperately?

PAUSE. Let go of your thoughts and imagine yourself as a faceless figure, standing simply as a distant identity. All your insecurities and doubts are a hole in your body. It keeps changing its place and size with time, but will always be there in some form or the other. That empty part is often so haunting that we would do anything but glance at it. Hence, we have it filled with whatever comes our way and desperately seek anything that can. So every single opinion tossed at you becomes a person standing right behind you, covering that gap with them and whatever they’re made of, good or bad, approval or refusal. Filling your void like an illusion and forming a false image of wholeness in the mirror. Seeming to be a part of you and a part of how you think everyone else views you.

This portrayal is the simplest answer to why we have this dire need for approval. 

People often say they don’t care about what anyone thinks, and most people might appear perfectly confident. But perfection in any form is just an imperfect myth. Human beings‌ are highly egoistic, self-centred, and fragile‌, all having some perfect made-up version of their lives. Insecurities are parts of us ‌we think that aren’t good enough. But the problem is we cannot tolerate being disliked for anything. And hence begins the endless chase to prove our worth to ourselves and our egos. The next problem lies in the fact that how we view ourselves isn’t based upon clear cut facts and isn’t permanent. We are rather constantly being made with what we see, what we hear and what we feel. And so we seek to hear the best, see the best, look the best, feel the best and everything possible, but just accepting something can be bad. As a few lines I wrote go;

A small meaning quote on seeking approval of others with aesthetic simple minimal line illustration with brown and white colours

Why do people love giving opinions?

And that is why most people seek approval so desperately. Simply to cover their flaws and feel safe and secure.

This need to feel important and approved is one massive reason for the takeover of our lives by social media. What else people enjoy thoroughly is offering their opinions, both of love and of hate. And the reason is quite similar to why we love getting approved so much. People love shading others because the simple human truth is when we’re feeling worthless, knowing others aren’t that good either makes us feel better. Similarly, we get attached to people and things WE like because they become a reflection of us and how good OUR choices are. All an attempt to cover our void with small feelings of importance.

Overcoming the need for approval

What we don’t realize is that it’s not the importance we seek, but the safety and security. There’s this emptiness we all have that keeps haunting us, a void right in our hearts that cannot be filled by any amount of filters, happy pictures or perfect days. Because after all that artificial shimmer settles under a starless sky, it’s just you. Wondering what you’re missing and running constantly after that one thing that might help you. Yet I promise you whatever you think it is, no matter how grand, will only last a while. Then you’ll be back on the journey to find your lost part. Because when the battle is within you, you cannot find the solution outside of you.

So here are two straightforward solutions;

One, reflect on your actions and understand exactly what you’re missing and why? If you don’t know the problem, the solution you’re seeking is not a solution, but ‌only an attempt to arrange 30 pieces of 30 different jigsaw puzzles together.

Two, you will always be under-confident about something. We’ll never be as perfect as we wish and the truth is we don’t have to be great at everything. Work towards what’s important and leave what’s not. There’s nothing wrong in lacking at something. Accept whatever you are and whatever life is with compassion. That’s the only one way to start living and stop waiting for the perfect time to live.

Rather than relying on fake optimism, we need to rely on truth. So rather than protecting our flaws with massive defences, we need to accept things exactly as they are.

We are what we are, life is what it is, and if you decide to be content about it from within, nothing outside will ever be needed to define you.

The idea behind making of this sculpture

About two years ago, I was sitting outside my college library, observing people and relishing the green grooves around. That day my confidence was hitting rock-bottom and every single passer seemed like a cruel observer of my unease. My immediate reaction to such moments is to catch myself slipping in thoughts and understand what’s triggering them. I realised that day I was desperately craving approval. That made me wonder why do we seek approval so much? Just then my hands doodled a rough picture of this sculpture. Once again, my instincts defeated my brain before it could begin processing. And all the ideas of this blog were copied on the paper as fast as my hand could write. So this sculpture.

My intense interest in minimalism at that time led to the minimal design of the work. The following materials were used to create the body;

  • Two cardboard boxes for the base
  • Old newspapers to shape the bodies
  • Empty tape rolls to create the hole.

Finally I used bright poppy colours of pink and orange to make the sculpture modern and fun, while also representing a meek and sky person (with soft pink) and an energetic and confident person (with bright orange)

If you’ve read/listened to this blog, doubtlessly, the meaning of this sculpture shall be apparent to you. It’s been amazing to finally finish the work after 2 years, so I hope you really liked it! I will highly appreciate your comments 🙂

[Published on : 15/05/22]


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