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Why do we keep trying to impress people who keep rejecting us?

“My friend said, I could never do a good painting. I will show him”

“He dumped me because I was not good for him. I will show him what I am”

“My dad said I would never be a musician. If he was alive now, he would have hidden his face in shame seeing how good I am”

In various ways people reject you. Not just criticize what you have done or even critique your work. They just reject you as a person, sometimes not worthy of them. Yet, we go to endless length to win their approval. Sometimes we play out scenes in our head where the person is impressed because someone else told them something about us. In real life no matter what you do this person is not going to be impressed by you. We can always welcome people who criticise us because they have our good at heart. They want us to be better at something and they are pointing out flaws, shortcomings in our work. This person whom we are obsessed with impressing is not in this category. They just don’t want to appreciate you no matter what you do. Their criticism is actually not about your work but about who you are. It could be a parent, a sibling, a child or a friend.

At times it is wiser to recognize whom we have to impress and whom to leave alone. If the person is your genuine well-wisher, who is happy to see you grow and progress, then it is worth making that effort. At times is it important to have a neutral observer assessing our work as we could be biased. Whom we make the umpire is important. Don’t give that role easily to anyone in your life. If you do, you will endlessly suffer from disappointing this person. Letting go of some people’s expectations from us is vital for our peace of mind and progress. We should cherish our well-wishers and let go of people who are not. It is not essential to impress everyone in this world with our work, attitude and personality.

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