Are You Addicted to Approval?

Did you know that the less compelled you are to prove yourself to others in order to gain their approval, the more peaceful you will feel inside? And the less you worry about whether people like you, the more they will enjoy being around you?

Those statements seem contradictory at first, don’t they? People who are unable to internalize these truths may actually be addicted to approval.  This addiction is characterized by the irrational belief that your worth, value and significance comes from the approval and acceptance of others.

If you make a conscious effort to inform people of what you have accomplished, shouldn’t they admire you? If you try hard to be likable, shouldn’t they like you a lot? The reason these behaviors fall short is because trying too hard comes across to others as desperate, needy, insincere and inadequate. Simply put, the harder you try to appear popular and successful, the more people will believe you’re hiding insecurity and a fear of rejection.

It is so easy to fall into the trap of trying to seek approval. We want to be seen with qualities we admire, but it’s like running on a hamster wheel. Once you’re caught in the trap, it takes a great deal of energy to always be pointing out your achievements, bragging and trying to win acceptance and worth because of what you do. The truth is, the more you try to prove yourself, the more others will avoid you, resent you, and ultimately reject you.

Oftentimes, people who are the least interested in gaining approval or acceptance from others are the most likely to get it. I am not referring to people who live with a chip on their shoulder, insisting they “couldn’t care less what anyone thinks” of them. Instead, people are drawn to those who possess a quiet spirit, inner confidence, and who are not out to always “look good”. Humility is a quality that grows from the recognition that you aren’t perfect, but you possess valuable qualities. It comes from a realistic view of yourself and an acceptance of who you are as a person. Humility instills the confidence that enables you to encourage and give credit to others instead of trying to monopolize the spotlight.

Remember, most people love and respect someone who doesn’t need to brag and who shares from his or her heart and not from an unhealthy need for approval. People will be more attracted to you if you do your best in everything, but let the motivation be satisfaction of a job well done and the belief that approval feels good, but it doesn’t define your value.

Live, Work & Relate Well!

Dr. Todd

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