Here are some thoughts:
Most people don't think about why they do things, as Tynan described really well here: tynan.com/convenient. Most people don't think about why they value certain things either. People will judge your behaviour, your actions and your thoughts. But not every opinion is thought out. Both approval and disapproval are often not well reasoned, or not reasoned at all.
I think it is good to ask yourself these questions: How much do I value other people's opinions? And why do I value them?
- How much do you value the opinion of someone about a topic he hasn't really thought about or isn't well read on? (For example an opinion on entrepreneurship, nutrition, habits, taking risks.)
- Why do you value people's opinions? Do they share the same values? Or are they projecting their values on you, and do they judge you by their values? If so, then how important is their opinion to you? If you do share the same values, then how well-grounded is their opinion?
I think self esteem is largely based on how well you are living what you value. If your self-esteem depends on others, it is because you have not thought out your own values, and are instead trying to live up to the values of others. It doesn't always matter what other people think (the how and why do you value questions). If you do have your own values and you are living them, then you are internally validated.
Thinking about what you value, and choosing your own values is something most people simply never really do. It is then logical to look at what others value instead (e.g. reactions / likes, on the status update / picture). Young children look at others to see how they do things, and what they find important. As a child it is a good strategy to live up to the values of others. As an adult not wanting to live an average life however, it is probably a better strategy to choose your own values.