On Peer-Pressure, Group Dynamics and Approval Seeking

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Frederick Dodson

The Ego is addicted to approval, agreement, looking good, being respected, being seen as important and smart.

The more it wants these things, the less it gets them.
It’s one of the big energy-wasters. I teach people to rid themselves of it.

How many of your words and actions are motivated by gaining approval?

How many of your words and actions are motivated by avoiding disapproval?

Social media makes generous use of people’s need for approval through “likes”. Appreciation = real energy and who doesn’t want energy?

When I started posting articles outside of my previous field-of-expertise about five years ago, I got plenty of “unlikes” and “unfollows” and even disapproval by email. Fortunately, my actions are not motivated by approval seeking, so it didn’t deter me and I kept on writing.

People use approval/disapproval to try to change your course of action. But at the end of the day, people need to do what’s in their heart. They need to the the right thing, regardless of agreement or disagreement. Even in relationships and even in groups. Some people will approve, some won’t, and that’s fine. You don’t have to get everyone to approve.

Groups require agreement in a few basic things. When a group follows a common goal, much can be achieved in a short time. That’s good, but it can also easily go in the wrong direction. Groups tend to develop a momentum or energy field of their own. Once that happens, it overpowers individual disagreements or critical thought.

There’s a 2008 German movie called “Die Welle” (The Wave) that shows how easy it is to create dictatorships by manipulating group dynamics:

You first use ideas everyone is in agreement with. Once the group is aligned, it’s easy to take them to other, darker places. It’s an energy-thing.

This is why it’s important to retain your individual-self, independent of a group’s approval/disapproval. You’ll notice groups have a “push” to think and act in a certain way in ANY group you join, no matter how good the group. Woe unto you if you dare think differently in some instances.

Use the exercise in this poster to start working on releasing your need for approval. This is how to be truly free.

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