Now more than ever, we as a society are addicted to our phones. Even more so, we are addicted to getting “likes” on our social media posts — and it can work like an actual addiction in our brain chemistry, activating the ventral striatum part of our brains, which is the same area that lights up when we gamble, enjoy a slice of cake, or have sex. This helps explain why it is so easy to base our happiness and self-esteem on how many “likes” we get. But as so many of us know, getting love and approval from outside of ourselves is fleeting and soon we are picking up our phones again, searching for more approval. Author, life coach, and startup advisor Susie Moore is asking us to break free of the outside approval trap in favor of nourishing and loving ourselves. Stop Checking Your Likes: Shake Off the Need for Approval and Live an Incredible Life is not a self-help book, but a “sanity book,” showing a way out of the maze of likes and thumbs up, and showing the way back to ourselves.
Do you know that sinking feeling of having to let people down? Worrying about what they’ll all think? Sick to let them see you fail at something? The failure can be anything — a marriage, a business, a health goal. It happens to us all.
But here’s the truth: we don’t have to be strong or perfect all the time. We’re allowed to be scared, we’re allowed to fail, and yes, we’re allowed to let people down. And we don’t need their constant approval. If you’re being honest with yourself, you know that some bad things have already happened in your life, and they will continue to happen. If you’re alive on this earth for any amount of time, there will be suffering. You’ll feel sad. You’ll feel scared. Life is full of uncertainty and change, and at times, pain, depression, and darkness.
The good news is, we can comfort ourselves — and this book is full of strategies that lead to contentment, even when things don’t go the way you want them to. But ultimately, the only way to lasting happiness is to live your life as an imperfect but first-rate version of yourself. It’s far too easy to forget that. To make allowances for others or to be influenced by their approval. Losing the real you is the least conspicuous yet easiest thing to do in the world. Because the world makes it so easy.
The Lunacy of Likes
We spend way too much time looking for the thumbs-up or red heart that’s become the modern measurement of how accepted, wanted, or valued we are. It’s absurd. Like, if aliens were watching human beings from another planet and saw them constantly checking a small screen in their hands for an emoji to quantify their self-worth, they’d write us off as lunatics. And they’d be right.
Seeking external approval has become so natural that we don’t even realize we’re doing it — but the cost is huge. The cost is the life you could have if you stepped away for a second and let your inner wisdom (not your smartphone software) be your guide.
But there’s also good news: you have an undeletable permission slip within you to be, do, and have whatever you want. No one goes through life without hardship, but you don’t need others’ approval to know yourself and to make the right choices for you. In fact, learning to wean yourself off that approval is the key to freedom. True success means choosing freedom — freedom from needing others’ approval, freedom to pursue who you are and want to become. And it’s almost always an option. That’s what this book will help you see. All the beautiful options before you.
The Approval Trap
What more is missing for you? In what ways are you letting yourself get mired in what I like to call the “approval trap,” the need for external acceptance of your internal needs and desires? Whatever your “more” is, there’s a good chance that the need for approval is keeping you stuck in some way. Maybe you:
- Care for someone but your parents won’t like his career or religion? Approval trap.
- Want a career in the arts but everyone in your family is in law, so you’re in law school? Approval trap.
- Want to increase your income but think you need higher education to do so? Approval trap.
- Desire to wear leg warmers to lunch but are concerned that trendy Tiffany will laugh her face off ? Approval trap.
- Realize you don’t actually want kids but decide you’ll probably have two anyway in order “not to be weird.” And your mom wants grandkids. Approval trap, squared!
- Have wanted to get divorced for the past decade but you’re worried about what the neighbors/church/in-laws will think? Approval trap, trap, trap.
Declaration of Intent
So can we get into an agreement together?
Our mutual declaration of intent is this:
I’m going to give it all I’ve got, and you’re going to give me all you’ve got.
To open yourself to becoming more self-directed and more self-approving — and to remain constantly curious about the process.
Are you with me? I hope so. Because the longer we hesitate, the longer it takes for those gorgeous desires we have for our lives to show up.
Remember — this life thing is supposed to be fun. So let’s go at it big-time, shall we?
Yours in love,
Susie Moore is the author of Stop Checking Your Likes and What If It Does Work Out? which was named by Entrepreneur as one of the “8 Business Books Entrepreneurs Must Read to Dominate Their Industry.” A former Silicon Valley sales director turned life coach, she has been featured on The Today Show, as well as in O Magazine, Business Insider, Forbes, Time, and Marie Claire. She lives in Miami, Florida with her husband Heath and their Yorkshire Terrier, Coconut.
Excerpted from the book Stop Checking Your Likes. Copyright ©2020 by Susie Moore. Printed with permission from New World Library