Everyone longs to be liked, known and loved for who they are. This is a normal human need and by itself, it isn’t a bad thing.
But if you allow the need for approval and
validation to guide you, you’ll end up living a life that isn’t authentic. Like
wearing shoes that are a size too small, you might be able to get where you
want to go. But you won’t enjoy the journey nearly as much.
Want to Take Responsibility
When you need approval, it’s easy to become passive. A friend asks which restaurant you want to eat at and you always say, “You pick.” Or your sister wants to know which movie you should get tickets to and you always say, “I’ll watch whatever you want to see.” Sound familiar?
If you’re passive and go along with what everyone else wants, you may temporarily feel good because you received validation. But the next day, the whole process starts again. That’s an exhausting way to live which will lead to unhappiness.
You Need to
Do you find you have to consult with someone before every major life choice?
If you feel like you can’t make decisions on your own or have different opinions than your friends or family, you’re most likely craving approval.
Ask yourself why you feel like you need approval. Do you worry you’re lacking in some area? Are you nervous about a new venture? Have you become conditioned this way by being taught to seek love and acceptance from your parents as a child, and are now seeking approval from others too?
Getting to the heart of the issue can set you free. It can give you the confidence to make your own choices and bravely stand behind them. Work on making your own choices. The more choices you make, the happier you will be with your life.
Should Rock the Boat
There’s an old expression that says: “don’t
rock the boat”. The advice is meant to keep you from capsizing and getting
dumped from the safety of the boat into the water. While this metaphor might be
good for boating, it’s a terrible life practice.
It’s natural to crave your own direction. If the people around you aren’t used to seeing this, they may be overwhelmed or fearful. Sometimes, they share these concerns with you by pointing out all the reasons your idea just won’t work.
When you choose new things, have your own ideas and do what you want, it’s going to make those around you (like your family and friends) nervous. For some, it’s because they care, others, secretly may not want you to succeed or become successful.
It might be uncomfortable now but trust yourself. Follow your dreams and live your life in a way that makes you happy.
Second guessing yourself sends you into a
spin and wastes time. You are a new creation every morning. You wake up every
day with new experiences that you didn’t have before.
It might feel easier to let others who have
known you for a long time box you in. But you owe it to yourself to pursue new
experiences. Explore. Create. Get to know yourself. Stop and ask: What
do I want?
The more you embrace being the real you, the more you lean into the idea that you are amazingly capable of new things. The more you show everyone else they are too.
Further reading on approval seeking and how to overcome it:
I Need Your Love – Is That True?: How to Stop Seeking Love, Approval, and Appreciation and Start Finding Them Instead – I Need Your Love–Is That True? examines a universal, age-old source of anxiety: our relationships with others. In this groundbreaking book, Katie helps you question everything you have been taught to do to gain love and approval. In doing this, you discover how to find genuine love and connection.
You Don’t Have to Try So Hard: Ditch Expectations and Live Your Own Best Life – Are you hustling through life, struggling to meet impossible standards and be everything to everybody? Do you ever wonder if there’s any rest on the other side of the rush?
With honesty and humour, Kathi Lipp and Cheri Gregory will help you take a breather and find reassurance as you face the bullies of perfectionism, performancism, people-pleasing, and procrastination.