The Approval Addiction

A lot of us wish for our talents, our intelligence, or our strengths to be recognised, appreciated, and known by others. But we very soon start to rely on these approvals and try to ‘alter’ our lives to fit in within these expectations. Unfortunately, right from here starts a very vicious cycle.

Ever since I was younger, I had an insane obsession with ‘making sure people knew’ I was this or I was that. My mood, my emotions, and my feelings were a dangerously direct reflection of what others thought of me. It got to the point where I got excessively dependent on ‘approval’. If people praised me, I would feel empowered. If people criticised me, I would feel anxious. And if people insulted me, I would start to look down on myself.

A common example I often look back at are the times wherein I felt the immense pleasure when my teachers would praise me, when my friends would praise me, and how I’d feel so superior when I beat someone’s highest score in class. Conversely, how I would grow wild with angst when others performed better than me. Not only because I didn’t do well, but because others now saw that. But I now think to myself, why did the opinions of others matter to me so greatly? At the end of the day, we live to push our limits, and reach our goals. And none of that should have to change based on the views of the people around us. I was reading the book Feeling Good: The New Mood Therapy by David Burns, and it made me realise how I had made it a habit to evaluate myself through the eyes of others. I now see that I can be so much more than that.

It can be enjoyable to have someone approve of us, but I don’t think we need this approval to be able to love and respect ourselves. Likewise, disapproval can be uncomfortable and it can make our life feel sour and rotten. But it doesn’t make us any less of a person. When we give our power over to others, we lose out on who we really are, and the only reality we then see is how we believe others see us.

⁃ SaaniaSparkle 🧚🏻‍♀️

239 thoughts on “The Approval Addiction

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  2. Great post. I have a tough time with this as well! So tough to rely on ourselves for our opinions of ourselves. I started writing love letters to me once a week or so and that helped a lot.

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  3. The greatest fear people face is death. The second greatest fear almost everyone faces is “What will people think of me?” A friend noted to me once that as we preen and polish ourselves from our hair to our toenails, if we realized how LITTLE other people noticed us, THAT would really upset us! 🙂

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  4. Indeed we do look down on ourselves, but only for a bit. We usually surprise even ourselves sometimes when we do something well and are able to savour that, but also only for a bit. Uncomfortable is awful but it does propel one to another height or goal. Sometimes our greatest selves is only known by God. Man is entirely unaware of our struggle to become someone whole. It is all fluid. Like waves breaking on the beach. We keep going back to fill ourselves again only to crash again on the beach. Sometimes we are glad of the barefeet we fall about, and sometimes it is good to crash on a deserted beach with no one seeing us. Life is great while it keeps doing that. Then you get to an age when one prefers the deep and communing with silent swells and calm days while the young keep coming and going about their business of the day. Keep the faith. Angels keep the score cards. One day the books will be opened and we will see all our good deeds and bad. As long as we intend good things I think God smiles upon us. Love and Light.

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  5. What others think about us does not make us great, what we think about our own self counts a lot. Making comparison or getting undue worried when somebody criticizes us. Therefore, balance in all situations and conditions is required. Approval from others is not that important as self approval.

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  6. This was a really great post, thank you for writing it. I have struggled not so much with the approval of others as with the approval from myself. I think sometimes both can be equally destructive. Your post inspired my recent writing and I made sure to mention you and link back to your blog. Best wishes.

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