Being a Counsellor I get to listen to people tell me their most personal thoughts and feelings and although 2 journeys are never the same there are parts of the human behavior that run through each and every one of us such as our need to feel accepted.
“Do you see me? Do you hear me? Does what I say mean anything to you?”
This sort of approval is something that most of us want and need from others. It makes us feel good about ourselves and our choices. It validates our sense of self-worth and belonging and it allows us to build connections to the people and world around us.
When we seek approval too much, we end up losing ourselves in the process. We allow ourselves to compromise our own values, desires, and goals to please others. We can then become dependent on external sources of validation instead of trusting our own inner voice resulting in our decision-making being based on fears of rejection and not what is best for us.
Why Do We Do This?
There are many reasons why we seek approval from others but most researchers tend to agree that it stems from issues around self identity such as…..
Low self-esteem: Some people may constantly need approval linked to a poor sense of self-worth. They may believe that they are not good enough, smart enough, or attractive enough unless others tell them so. They may use approval to bolster their value and feel more confident.
Childhood experiences: Some people may have learned to seek approval from their early caregivers, who may have been dismissive, neglectful, abusive, or inconsistent in their attention and affection. They may have developed insecure attachment styles, which make them crave approval and fear rejection.
Social norms: Some people may seek approval because they want to fit in with their peers, family, culture, or society. They may conform to the expectations and standards of others to avoid being judged, ostracized, or rejected. They may value harmony and cooperation over individuality and authenticity.
The truth is that seeking approval from others is not always inherently bad or wrong. It can be helpful and healthy in some situations, such as when we need feedback, guidance, or support from someone we trust and respect. It can also be a way of showing respect and appreciation for others.
The problem however starts when we seek approval too much or from the wrong sources, it can become a problem. It can limit our potential, happiness, and freedom, and it can make us lose sight of who we are and what we want.
In order to prevent this we must fundamentally change the relationship we have with ourselves. We must stop with the self hate and learn how to become our own biggest cheer leader….. Let me give you a few tips to point you in the right direction.
Build your self-esteem: The best way to stop seeking approval from others is to start giving it to yourself. Learn to appreciate your strengths, talents, and achievements. Recognize your worth and value as a human being. Affirm yourself with positive and empowering statements. Challenge your negative and limiting beliefs about yourself
Trust your intuition: The next best way to stop seeking approval from others is to start listening to your own inner voice. Learn to trust your feelings, thoughts, and opinions. Follow your passions and interests. Make your own decisions based on what feels right for you. Respect your boundaries and preferences.
Seek validation instead of approval: There is a difference between validation and approval. Validation is when someone acknowledges your feelings, thoughts, and experiences as valid and understandable. Approval is when someone agrees with or likes your feelings, thoughts, and actions. You don’t need approval from others to feel good about yourself, but you may benefit from validation from time to time. Seek validation from people who care about you, respect you, and support you unconditionally.
Be authentic instead of perfect: Another way to stop seeking approval from others is to start being yourself instead of trying to be perfect. Perfectionism is a trap that makes you constantly strive for unrealistic standards that you can never meet. It also makes you fear failure, criticism, and rejection. Authenticity is a gift that allows you to express your true self without hiding or pretending. It also makes you embrace your flaws, mistakes, and vulnerabilities.
Accept yourself instead of pleasing others: The final way to stop seeking approval from others is to start accepting yourself instead of pleasing others. Pleasing others is a habit that makes you sacrifice your own needs, wants, and happiness for the sake of others. It also makes you dependent on their opinions, reactions, and expectations. Accepting yourself is a skill that makes you honor your own needs, wants, and happiness regardless of what others think or say. It also makes you independent of their opinions, reactions, and expectations.
Seeking approval from others is not a sign of weakness or flaw. It is a natural human tendency that stems from our need for connection and belonging and what I realized was that my need to seek approval from others had nothing to do with wanting acceptance of others…… It was wanting acceptance from myself
I hope you enjoyed the blog and found it useful.
I would love to hear from you, so feel free to leave your comments, questions and feedback below