Thumbs up or down?

I heard an interesting discussion at some point this week somewhere but I think it was on the radio. It has been a busy and challenging week so I can’t quite remember where but at the heart of it was the idea that we need to stop worrying about being liked. This is an interesting concept in a world where image is becoming more and more important.

Of course leaving behind any concerns about being liked isn’t about a selfish and hard attitude. It is about being comfortable in our own skin and feeling confident enough that we don’t need to seek constant approval. Yet, this is very difficult to achieve.

From a very young age we are taught to seek approval from our parents, from our friends, from our teachers, from our bosses. What it can mean in a world where people are concerned about being liked is that we behave in odd ways to secure the thumbs up. We do things for a short term boost to our confidence. The actions we take may be questionable in the long term. So how do we make a change?

It has to start in childhood. We need to defy the influence of social media and create an environment where young people feel confident in themselves. Where they don’t need to seek approval because they have a positive view of themselves and the contribution they can make to society. As people grow up they will feel able to step out of the norm to put forward new ideas, try new things or take a new approach. This is the way we can develop and innovate more quickly.

Being confident in yourself does not mean being cruel or harsh to others. You can be independent and also care about those around you. If we are happy with ourselves then studies show that we are likely to be happier. Being liked is nice but it should not be what defines us.

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