No one is sure how the need for approval developed. It may be that it is the way our Creator made us. It may well be based on the reality that we all want to be accepted and acknowledged as important and useful.
That, it seems to me, is a useful characteristic because it can tend to help us be aware of how our actions affect others.
Even good things can be overdone. Like eating ice cream…wait, is that even possible? Well, we should admit that it is possible to do some things to excess.
1. Give your opinion freely while acknowledging the validity of other opinions. One symptom of approval-seeking tendencies is the hesitance to share your opinion. You might say something that the other person doesn't approve of. And since it was your opinion, they might not approve of you either.
* Give your opinion, even if it makes you uncomfortable. Start with smaller things. Do you think it will rain? Do you prefer basketball or football? Which movie would you like to see?
2. Avoid judging others. (Matthew 7:12) If you're overly critical of others, it's only natural that you assume others are the same towards you. By avoiding this type of behavior in yourself, you'll drop the assumption that everyone else is judging you. Allow others to be as they are. It makes life more interesting. Sit back and enjoy the differences.
* Notice your thoughts. Are you constantly judging others in a variety of situations? You'll fear the judgments of others if you continue to be judgmental.
3. Realize that disapproval can be used as a weapon. Many people use disapproval as a means of getting what they want. They may disapprove of your opinion, clothing, hairstyle, or anything else to enjoy the fruits of your submission.
* Call people on their disapproval of you. Ask them to explain themselves. Remember that most negative people are looking for a victim, not a fight. When you stick up for yourself, many of the bullies disappear.
* Knowing this can free you from seeking the approval of others. In many cases, they're just in the game for themselves.
4. Be aware of what happens when someone disapproves of you. Nothing happens. We seem to be born with an intense desire to fit in. But what actually happens when someone disapproves of you? The sky doesn't fall on top of you. You might suffer from a little anxiety or embarrassment, but it passes.
5. Do some things for yourself. If you're constantly seeking approval, you're not taking very good care of yourself. Show yourself that you're important by focusing some of your time and energy on yourself. It might be a little bit uncomfortable at first. You might even feel selfish.
6. Fill your life with things that are important. If you had to run across the street naked to save your child's life, you wouldn't be worried about anyone's opinion. That's because your child's life is more important than your ego. But you don't need a disaster to experience this.
* Volunteer with an organization that's doing important work. Write a book that you believe will change lives for the better. Find ways to spend your time on things you consider to be important.
* You'll find that you enjoy more freedom in the other, less important, parts of your life.
Please share your thoughts and any response you may have in the form below.
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