Everyone needs to feel appreciated on a regular basis. This stems from our very human need to know and feel that what we have done is right and worthy of notice. We feel good when someone gives us their love and approval.
However, being overly dependent on approval from others, and fearing their disapproval, comes from the belief that others are responsible for our worth. If they like what we have done or said, then we are okay. If they disapprove, then something is wrong with who we are as a person.
When we become dependent on approval because of inner insecurity or lack of love for ourselves, we choose conformity, being nice, and putting our dreams on hold. We play life safe, not taking too many risks, and being careful to remain in the box of acceptability. Pushing down inner passion, self-expression, and creative pursuits, our life becomes lukewarm. As a result, we turn to to temporary pleasures to fill our need for authentic joy.
How can you tell if you are truly addicted to seeking the approval of others? There are several telltale signs, and they include:
You describe yourself as a people pleaser
You work hard at being good
You believe you must have love or approval from the significant people in your life
You are overly responsible taking on the responsibility of others
You depend on others approval to give you a sense of self-worth
You say yes to others to please them although you really want to say no
You lack self-confidence in your skills, abilities, and knowledge
You fear rejection or conflict
Your best is never good enough for you
You suppress your creative talents and expressions
If you do something that someone doesnt approve of, you feel very guilty
How to Stop Seeking Approval
The risk of being addicted to others approval is that you end up living your life for other people. Remember, you are the source of love and approval. You do not need to get it from others. Cultivate inner worth and approval by taking action on the steps below:
Step 1: Ask yourself what you really want to do, rather than what others would like you to do.
Step 2: Develop a written plan, goal, or life direction that is important to you. Knowing what your priorities and goals are make it easier to focus your choices and efforts on activities that have meaning to you. Do something everyday related to your self-chosen life direction.
Step 3: Build self-worth and self-esteem from within. Make conscious choices every day to put your needs at the top of your priority list. Set your daily goals and follow through. Honor your word to yourself. Every evening, acknowledge your efforts and your successes. Taking these simple steps shows you that you possess the ability to think for yourself, make decisions, love yourself, and be self-reliant.
Step 4: Learn to become a master of joy! Joy is the energy that makes you feel great – not just in the moment, but in the long-term. Joy generates the power to accomplish. Do things that require joy, and you will become more joyful. For instance:
Eat delicious food and activate every sense while eating
Sing from your heart and dance from your soul
Do kind things for yourself
Engage in activities that make you feel great to be alive
Give yourself positive feedback
Take action on the goals that are important to you
Learn to relieve stress
Step 5: Cultivate your drive and passion to express yourself creatively. Draw, paint, take a pottery class, plant an herb garden, paint your bedroom; just do something that involves your creative input. Take a chance, take risks, commit yourself, and let yourself make mistakes. Color your world with your own creative self-expressions!
Step 6: Focus on loving more rather than winning love. Look around your world, and look at what is important to you. Find ways to expand the love you are on the inside and than share that love with whatever or whoever you choose.
Step 7: Practice saying the art of compassionately saying no when you mean no. Saying no is your right. When someone persists, repeat your position, perhaps in a different way. Dont cave in. When you are clear on your goals and priorities, it is easier to identify that you really do know what you want to do and what you dont want to do. Bear in mind that you are saying no to their request, not to the person. Trust yourself! Learn how to say, that sounds absolutely great and thanks for asking, and as much as Id love to, I simply have to say no because . . .
It takes time to get over the need for approval and the fear of disapproval. However, it is time well spent! Embracing the love you have for yourself brings happiness, lightness, joy, and creative expression into your body and life. So reach for self-approval today. Open your heart and soul. Follow your passions. Make your priorities important. You deserve to be alive and filled with joy!
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