Are You Addicted to Approval?

Approval feels good, like eating ice cream or listening to pop music. But approval has a downside: it will make you dependent. Getting approval may feel good, but it will end up hurting you.

Seeking approval from others means you trust them more than you trust yourself. In the end, the approval you long for may only serve to reinforce the status quo. What is the status quo? Living the status quo happens by default. It is when you survive. You feel less real, less genuine. Your habits feel soul-sucking rather than life-giving. You avoid – risks, vulnerability, and anything that brings up your anxiety.

The way out of the wilderness of approval is to learn to trust yourself. Trust will free you from the unending need for approval. You don’t learn trust over night. Trust begins with letting down your guard. One of the best ways to let down your guard is to just stop.

It is a set up because you will only feel good if you are better than someone else. Approval is short lived. You need more and more of it to feel okay.

After a while, you begin to hustle for approval. It becomes form of addiction where you need it to feel alive.

The way out of the wilderness of approval is to learn to trust yourself. Trust will free you from the unending need for approval. You don’t learn trust over night. Trust begins with letting down your guard. One of the best ways to let down your guard is to just stop.

That’s right. Stop and sit.

It might sound simple, but if you want lasting change, listen to yourself. We say it so often that it means very little, but we need to hear ourselves. In recovery, listening to ourselves is the main agent of lasting change.

Take a breath. And then another one. It may be difficult at first and you may have to begin by sitting for just a few minutes at a time. What stillness does is it can teach you to be comfortable in your own skin. You won’t trust yourself if you don’t feel comfortable.

One of the best things you can do to shift your attention away from your need for approval is to notice it. You can try to force yourself to change, think positively or distract yourself. If you are like me, you will soon realize that stuff won’t work.

The next step after breathing and sitting is acceptance. Acceptance will teach you that you are enough. You don’t have to change yourself to please anyone.

• • •

If you enjoyed this article, I invite you to read some of my other work:

The Healing Power of Silence in Recovery

A New Definition of Emotional Healing: Acceptance

Why Are You Waiting for Permission?

This is where I am supposed to write some serious stuff about myself. But in reality, I just hope that you enjoy what I write. I hope it makes you smile, makes you feel a little lighter and enjoy your life a little more. Nope, it’s not therapy, but I am sharing the good stuff… the stuff that helps me.

If you like it, sign up for my blog and share my work. And if you want to go the extra mile, click here to vote for my page on Psych Central’s list of mental health blogs.

Keep it Real

Photo by Paul


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