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 🧚🏻‍♀️

271 thoughts on “The Approval Addiction

  1. What a lotta comments….finally got to the bottom…phew!

    I think the need for approval is built into the human psyche. We can’t ignore it. The challenge, as you say, is not to let it govern us. It’s like the same old tug of war. Am I writing to please myself, or for others and their approval. I guess it’s all about achieving the right balance….

    Liked by 5 people

  2. Hi Saania, yes, you are right. The approval from others is just like shadow. It is void of meaning. The real treasure lies in us. When we learn to approve of our own potential for continuous improvement and humble learning, we are on the right track. I feel that the real joy comes from giving instead of the glamour of being lifted up for public admiration. You are a sparkling jewel ❤

    Liked by 3 people

  3. Not so long time ago I had a conversation with my husband (it happens 😉 ), and he told me, that one of the most basic things in human life is an addiction.
    I asked, “breathing?”
    No, he answered, “appreciation”.
    “More important than the search for happiness? The dedication of our life towards the fulfillment of our dreams? More fundamental even than love?”
    He thought for a moment. “Deep within us, even from the time before we gain any understanding of the world – or of ourselves – there is the need to be appreciated. A need for approval, which we all too often mistake for love…”

    I was surprised… And then, Saania, today, I read your post … 😉 🙂

    Liked by 4 people

  4. Saania, very good insights and fresh introspective perspective, it will serve you well. Though I care about the insights and views from friends, teachers, and mentors I value. So there is an interesting place at the point when chooses to trust themselves. One very important result when one finds new insights, those insights become a gift to others. If one doesn’t trust their own thoughts those gifts never come about. Keep up your wonderful journey of discovery. Personally I hope you become a philosopher. We all benefit from the good and wise ones.

    Liked by 4 people

  5. I agree with many of the commenters that humans seem to have an innate need for approval. However, the intensity of that need varies from one individual to the next and usually lessens over the course of one’s lifetime. Your post is spot on. Whether one can put such thinking into practice depends on a complex web of genetic and environmental factors. At a minimum, people should understand on a rational level, the self-injury they’re inflicting by obtaining their sense of self-worth from others. Your post and similar writing reinforce a positive message that many need to hear. Nice job.

    Liked by 4 people

  6. Totally Agree. The vicious cycle of winning approval of others leaves you empty. If a child is not trained to have faith in himself, a question mark hangs over his self-worth. When something is good because it pleased someone no matter how wrong/deceptive it is and it’s bad no matter how right/honest you feel it is, the whole thing loses sense. This self-deprecating and self-defeating tendency may lead to drastic results in life.

    Liked by 4 people

  7. Wow is this true!! Great post, it’s important not to let ourselves succumb the the addiction of approval for sure :). I’ve enjoyed reading your blog and left it a follow! Have a great day Saania!

    Liked by 5 people

  8. Oh Saania it wasn’t until I hit forty that I realise that what others thought of me didn’t define me as a person. What did is what I thought of myself and how I treated others. I think society i.e media, magazines , fashion industries have shaped women’s lives for too long especially when it comes to how we must look and feel about ourselves. Confidence comes when one believes in yourself and you are comfortable with yourself too. Find your inner strength is key to all of that. My journey has been a long one and writing has helped me. I must thank you too for being the first person every day to pop over to my blog. I apologise for not always have time to return the visit, but your posts are always amazing ❤️Hugs❤️

    Liked by 3 people

  9. Can never go wrong with a quote from Lao Tzu. This is a deep post. I think it’s correct that we have two selves: 1) the way others see us 2) and the way we see ourselves, and it eventually becomes more important to focus on the way we see ourselves then the way everyone else sees us. But it’s really hard to come to this conclusion and even harder to live by it. However, pleasing everyone else is a sure way to constant misery. Congrats on coming to to all these thoughts and sharing your words. Keep up the fantastic work with your blog!

    Liked by 4 people

  10. I know approval addiction all too well. I didn’t realize how badly I struggled until I was hearing from another in the same boat. My love language is words of affirmation, and I seem to shrivel up when I’m not receiving those. I hope to find the balance between graciously receiving the affirmation without becoming addicted.

    Liked by 3 people

  11. Love the Lao Tzu reference. Was just talking with a coworker teacher friend today about his wisdom – telling the story about Confucious seeking his council back zen. In that conversation, I also mentioned the parallel between Dr. Wayne Dyer’s Change Your Thoughts, Change Your Life, Living the Wisdom of the Tao, and the parallels to Feeling Good and the CBT revolution. Synchronicity. And I can related to the “disease to please” – something that has taken me a long time to let go of. Your work has a nice Sparkle to it, if you’ll pardon the pun.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. 11/9 Nov. Mon. 2020 6:57pm { Day-Light Savings Dawn- 3nding }

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      There, up the Cove,^3 to stray an’ rove, “Mary Worth” and “Mary Whales.” Carrick spear; countra-folks
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      To burn their nits, an’ pou their stocks, […] No shades Cazzie David. Je lis mes notes de voyage […]
      En parcourant toutes les pages ;
      Et j’aime bien ces souvenirs: Hepimiz gezmeyi çok özledik. Pandemi öncesi Maldivleri gezmiştik. Muhteşemdi. Güzel günler gelecek.

      

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