Are you dependent on the approval of others?

This weekend the word approval came to mind.  I found myself wondering why such a simple word complicated the lives of so many of us.

I can honestly sit here today and say that I struggled with needing the approval of others for a long time. From my childhood to adulthood this word I could not escape until now.

How did I do it?  I sort to understand why I needed it and started approaching life and my interactions with others and myself differently.  I understand it better and no longer let it control me or my actions.

History of approval

The need to get the approval of others starts early in our lives.  We grow up seeking the approval of our parents, teachers and even our friends. Why? Once we’ve seen and experienced what disappointing them feels like we try not to repeat that once it can be helped.

We like knowing that they are happy and satisfied with us. Other times their approval can make us feel like we belong.    As adults, we carry that same desire into the rest of our lives.  It affects us in our relationships, in the workplace even how we see and value ourselves.

Let’s look at some of the pros and cons of approval versus dependency on approval.

The upside of approval

  1. It provides confirmation.
  2. Help validate who you are.
  3. Builds you up – making you feel good or better.
  4. Provide a sense of belonging.

The downside of dependency on approval

  1. When you don’t get it you don’t feel good about yourself.
  2. It could make you feel insecure or uncertain about what you’ve done.
  3. Some people may use it against you.  They know you want their approval so they purposely don’t give it hoping this would negatively affect you.
  4. You’re constantly second guessing yourself.
  5. Keeps you stuck. You delay action or won’t act because you don’t believe in yourself hence you need this approval to push you into action.
  6. It breathes a quiet fear that hinders you from truly growing as an individual.

Reflecting on all of this confirmed for me that although the approval from others is good and has its benefits it is not always necessary except in the workplace when it directly relates to your job.

More importantly, becoming heavily dependent on getting the approval of others is more damaging than good.    I can tell you from first-hand experience that sometimes in life, if you sit back waiting for others to recognize, substantiate, acknowledge or reward your efforts you may be disappointed.  They may not give it and sometimes if they do it may not even be genuine and can be just as hurtful.

Don’t let this get you down.  Don’t let it discourage you.  Don’t let such people take away how good you feel about your contribution or yourself.

Their acknowledgement or lack thereof does not make you any less of a person.  It does not mean what you’ve done is not good because it is probably amazing!  Once you’ve done your best and feel good about it let that satisfaction fill you up.  Their thumbs up would be great but you taking joy in yourself is more important.

The trick is to value yourself first that way what others think of you would be more of an enhancer and not a deciding factor.   Many times it is simply their own insecurities or jealousy that makes it difficult for them to compliment or acknowledge the good others do.  That is something they have to work on.

You just have to focus on being YOUR BEST not THEIR BEST.

I would leave you with this, if you have people in your life that support and encourage you be thankful for them. Genuine people are rare hold on to them.  🙂

Thanks for stopping by. 🙂

Author: Cherylene

Cherylene, is an aspiring writer whose desire is to help people nurture and develop the best version of themselves. Through her writing she hopes to encourage her readers to dig deep both spiritually and mentally to heal and enlighten the mind, body and spirit.

8 thoughts on “Are you dependent on the approval of others?”

  1. Thank you for taking time to read and comment. I see nothing wrong in wanting the approval of others – needing it and relying heavily on it for your happiness is another thing. I have lived that way for a long time. I allowed that kind of thinking to keep me stuck and breathe insecurities about my abilities. I had to learn to trust myself. I had to learn that I was more than good enough.

    We all grow up believing we need the approval of others to feel good or better about ourselves. I used to believe I needed it or I would not feel good about myself or what I had achieved. I eventually learnt that I had to value myself. I learnt that once I had truly given my best that was all that mattered and more importantly I had to be satisfied knowing that.

    I like when people acknowledge my work or like my posts don’t get me wrong. It makes me feel good. It makes me feel heard. However, the days when I do write something that is not heavily liked or acknowledged does that mean it was not good? Does that mean I did not do a good job?

    I don’t think so. I re-read it and once I’m happy with it that’s all that matters. Approval is good, dependence on it can be dangerous. It takes time to break free from the hold of needing approval so just take it one day at time.

  2. I think we all need approval, don’t we? I mean, even those who say they don’t care. Don’t they really? If they do, I wish I could get there. I do need approval and have no problem in admitting that. Even for small things. I like people to like me, to compliment my work and I criticism can really hurt my feelings, even if it’s nothing personal. It has gotten better with age so I hope I will continue to improve. Great article as usual, my dear friend. xx

  3. Being ourselves is totally okay. 🙂 Constantly needing the approval of others can be very draining. I’m glad you made time to read and comment. It means a lot. Thank you.

  4. This was me until I reached 40. I was always looking for affirmation in my life, in my career, with my friends and family. Then one day it dawned on me that just being me was ok! Thank you for this post and sorry I haven’t popped over recently to your blog! It’s been a crazy busy month. X

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