When I first meet someone, I judge their character and morality on whether they ask my opinion on something in which they are involved, or whether I approve of their appearance, their work, or their demeanor. Nothing is more indicative of someone’s view on life than whether they seek attention, approval, and justification from those around them. Precisely why the moment someone asks for my opinion, is the moment when they lose any respect they could have conceivably obtained from me. Yet, the problem is much deeper and complex than one thinks.
Those who go around and seek the justification of others to go through their lives, are men and women who have no notion of the true meaning of existence in the world in which they inhabit. They live for others, rather than live for themselves, and for their work. They irrationally need the approval of others, and use others’ opinions to mold their actions, the way they look, the way they think, the way they are. Nothing could be more despicable.
As to why you should fear someone who asks for your thought, is precisely because of their reasons. They seek your answer in order to validate themselves and that what they are doing, or what they are is completely normal, as if there is such a thing as ‘normal’ and it is determined by the masses. They do not trust themselves, and their own self enough to make that judgement, and thus they place that responsibility on others. Their personality is so weak that they rely on the judgement of others. It makes one wonder what some people’s true motivations are.
The person who justifies himself through his peers is not in fact doing something to please himself or his own happiness, rather the happiness of his peers. This is as Ayn Rand has said, morally inexcusable, and plain evil.
Do not confuse the principle of approval-seeking with that of asking someone else for an opinion on something of no relevance. If your friend asks you which dress or suit looks better on them do not see this as a sign of weakness, rather that they value you and your opinion enough to ask.
Yet, those people that never make a decision without the consent of others are not worthy of admiration for they do not place their own self above that of the rest. When someone seeks the approval of his family, or friends as to whether he or she has chosen the right career or work to do, is when the problem of opinion first arises. If your parents want you to become a doctor yet that would make you utterly unhappy, what is morally justifiable? To follow their advice and satisfy their demands, or follow your own and satisfy your own happiness?
There is a very important difference between the person who seeks attention on social media to fuel their own false state of self-esteem, and the person who asks their loved one, or friend a question on an opinion of their own. The former is an attempt at trying to find meaning in one’s choice, while the latter is simply taking the ideas from those that have value to them, in order to have an exchange of ideas. Also the former is based on an idea that if others love you than you are acceptable, rather that if you love yourself and strive to become better which will earn the love of others as found in the latter.
Similar to a marketplace, people trade and share ideas mutually, voluntarily, yet that doesn’t mean that one must supplement his/her ideas on that of the other, nor does it mean that one should validate one’s ideas through the other person. One can learn from others, but they must ultimately create their own thoughts.
The best way to combat those who want approval from you is rather simple. Sheer indifference to their existence, and the lack of opinions on whatever their whims take them on. They need justification. If one denies it to them, they are forced to find their true opinions from the only source that truly matters:themselves. However this is a frightening concept to most men and women.
Many will say that these principles are merely the precepts of Objectivism, while this might be true, it is also true that they are the most basic ideas behind the rational mind, one which man has had for thousands of years. Rationality, reason and intelligence usually foster best when the opinions of other men and women do not act as a burden on an individual’s shoulders, not because their existence is an issue, rather that the individual does not pay any heed to them. It is when they become irrelevant that someone may begin to prosper.
The individual who looks for justification should be feared, as they are willing to say or do anything in order to receive it from you, or others. But don’t take my opinion as truth. Think for yourself.