Someone Heart Eye Me Please: How to Give up Your Need for Approval... From Everyone... All the Damn Time

If I don't get at least 100 likes, it's about to be deleted.

I’m not even talking about social media likes; I’m talking about being liked by everyone all the damn time. If people are not throwing heart eyes at my personality at any given point in the day, I’m going to assume something is wrong with me.

This part of me didn’t just come about the moment that social media could affirm that I am doing well. There was just finally a platform for me to so perfectly filter out the ugly parts so that people could maybe think I’m cooler and more put together than I actually am.

It was a mindset echoed in high school when my family found out I was bi. While my coming out story was definitely not heart eyes, the one thing my mom kept repeating was, “I am just so worried people will hurt and ostracize you because of it.”

It was that type of mindset that caused me to became paranoid that guys would pick on me and girls would stray away from me out of fear that I was trying to flip them like a pancake. Looking back I am forced to question:

What was I and what are we all willing to give up for approval?

The fear of disapproval has kept me from genuinely living my damn life more times than I can count. In all honesty, it has, and in some ways, still pushes me to become a master at filtering and cutting out parts of who I am in the presence of others. People don’t see me when I have a knot of anxiety in my chest with things left unsaid. They aren’t there when I replay the doubts others have placed on me and question if I’m living my life correctly. The filters absolutely don’t show the journey through doubt and difficulty it took to get me to even be open about who I am.

Perhaps most of us will likely never completely shake our need for approval. We all are, in some respects, on our journey to accept who we are in spite of others. However, giving in to constant craving to be affirmed proves to be equally as exhausting as it leads us to be surrounded by people that have no clue who we are or only enjoy the parts they deem appropriate.

I have come to wonder if being liked for my filtered self is worth it. How many parts of myself am I willing to cut before I lose the essence and completeness that is me? The truth is very few cuts and filters are worth the cost of your forfeiting your truth, your wholeness, and yourself completely. The shallowness of being liked for our socially-acceptable self will never be as transformative as being deeply seen and respected. It may be that the journey in self-acceptance will be easier when the number of people that like our filtered self is less than the amount of those that see us raw and can accept us anyway. When we get 99 likes and don’t delete for the one that didn’t.

That's Not Heartburn, Those are Feelings: How to Stop Running and Start Being Okay With NOT Being Okay

I always knew I was meant to be a runner from a young age because over the years I have become a pro at sprinting away from any emotion that did not feel “good”. Anger, resentment, sadness, disappointment… all emotions that I could never comprehend enough to deal with in a healthy adult way.

No that is not heartburn Cassie, that is something called all of the feelings that don’t fall under the category of happy, fun, or right.

And to make matters worse, little did I realize that every time I ran away, every time I buried away raw emotions, I created an idea about what was acceptable to feel. I forced myself into the habit of avoiding communicating emotions for the sole fact that it may disrupt the image that I was balanced, that I may look crazy, that it could seem as though I gave a f*#k about anything. And when asked, when I really wanted to chip away at the layers of times that I deeply felt something, I hid it behind any of the responses listed below:

I’m fine

I’m okay

I’m good

I’m just tired

I’m just on my period

I’m just being hormonal

These very responses are why true friends take your phone away when you’re drunk to prevent you from unloading your unfelt emotions on various people in your phone book. It’s because they know that people like you and I, people that pride themselves on remaining or better yet appearing balanced, are the very people that need saving. In the end, the truth of the matter is that no one is balanced always. Very few people (shoutout to the psychopaths reading this) don’t feel hurt, disappointment, or regret. No amount of yoga, meditation, or chanting while floating down a freaking lily pad in India can take away the fact that the feelings you have arise for a reason. You can run a marathon, drown it out in holy water, or wait for the liquor to make it acceptable for you expose it but in the words of Iyanla Vanzant, “feelings buried alive don’t die.”

Eventually things demand to be felt. Unexpressed emotions don’t deteriorate but manifest in uglier ways later on. So, whether it is now or later, everything you run away from, bury, diminish, or try to forget finds you. Therefore, give a voice to your hurt, your sadness, and your unhappy emotions when they arise. Unbury the things that have not died but have been covered by the “I’m okays”. Lose your facade of being balanced and unaffected in order to understand and communicate the source of your angst. Begin the journey of honoring how you feel and you’ll never have to run another marathon.