Do You Seek Approval Before You Do Anything?

need for approval

Approval Seeking

If you’ve been coaching with me or reading my articles for a while, then you  know you get what you think about. So why do we sometimes want things that don’t happen? Or why does it sometimes feel difficult to get to the life of our dreams? Shouldn’t it just be easy to think about something and then allow the people, places and events to come to us and follow through with the inspired action? Well yes.

The reason this isn’t always the case is that we have belief systems. We have beliefs about ourselves, others and the world around us that act in opposition to the natural laws of the universe. It really is as simple as ask and receive, you just have to believe that. Often we have beliefs that we are either unaware of or that we have had for so long, we aren’t even aware that they hurt us and aren’t in-line with the natural order of the universe.

One such example of a belief system that you may have that will keep you from living your dream life is the need for approval. When you seek approval it becomes difficult to feel good on your own, slowing down anything and everything that you want from coming to you. It also can confuse you as to what it is you really want, and what you think you should want so you can get the approval you so desperately think you need.

The need for approval quickly becomes addictive and you may develop a need for more.  It can feel so good when you get it, but it feels terrible when you don’t. So in an attempt to get that good feeling you keep looking for their approval.

What Happens When You Need Approval?

When you have a need for approval you value the beliefs, opinions and needs of others above your own. Their opinion of your is far more important to you than your own view of yourself. Receiving disapproval becomes a painful experience. Your entire decision making processes are eventually taken over by your need for the approval of others and not from within your own self. You cannot take any decisive action without approval. You sacrifice your own dreams and ambitions in order to have their approval.  Some of the negative consequences of approval seeking behavior are:

  • Lack of achievement
  • Lack of personal fulfillment
  • Low self-esteem and confidence levels
  • Reduced performance
  • Increased stress

You may argue that you do not engage in approval seeking behavior. However, there are common behaviors which you may fail to recognize as approval seeking. Sometimes these behaviors are used as a compromise, to keep the peace, or because the situation is not really that important to you. In some instances, and as long as it feels good to you, it may be useful to allow others to have their way. However, when these behaviors occur too frequently, or are motivated solely by a need for approval, you are adopting an unhealthy behavior which won’t feel good to you long term.

Approval Seeking Behaviors

The following are some of the most common approval seeking behaviors.

  1. Changing or softening your position because someone appears to disapprove.
  2. Paying insincere compliments to gain approval.
  3. Feeling upset, worried, or insulted when someone disagrees with you.
  4. Expressing agreement (verbally or non-verbally) when you do not agree.
  5. Doing something which you do not want to do because you are afraid to say ‘No’.
  6. Failing to speak up when you have received poor service or a product not fit for purpose.
  7. Spreading bad news and gossip to gain attention.
  8. Asking permission when it is not required.
  9. Consistently apologizing for your words and actions whether others have expressed disapproval or not.
  10. Pretending to be knowledgeable or an authority on a subject because you are afraid to admit that there is something you do not know.
  11. Attempting to coax people into paying you compliments and/or getting upset when they fail to do so.
  12. Behaving in a non-conforming manner in order to draw attention to yourself.
  13. Any behavior which is contrary to your identity and purpose or conflicts with your core beliefs. If you keep this one in mind you may catch yourself getting caught up in approval-seeking behavior.

Differences Are A Strength

The world is not black and white. You are entitled to your own thoughts, beliefs and opinions. Just because you think differently than someone else does not mean that one of you is right and one of you is wrong. It is important to be able to respect the rights of others to have their own opinions but to do so; you must first be able to respect your right to have your own opinion. If someone makes a convincing argument, it is perfectly acceptable to change your opinion; however, if they fail to make a convincing argument, you are just as entitled to stick to your own opinion and agree to disagree. Respecting your own views requires you to avoid approval seeking behaviors.

Failing to tackle approval seeking behavior can lead to passive aggressive behavior. Passive aggressive behavior is a deliberate and masked way of expressing covert feelings of anger. You’re trying to avoid conflict, not mess up, and appear confident, or you’re scared of being rejected or criticized. Instead of communicating your disagreement or dissatisfaction candidly, you convey it through common passive aggressive behaviors. These behaviors include sarcasm, gossip, giving someone the silent treatment, stalling, or quitting.

You’ll Never Gain Everyone’s Approval Anyway

The biggest irony with approval-seeking behavior is that it usually produces the opposite results to those which are intended. If you take a moment to consider those people whom you respect most, you will find that one of their strongest traits is their ability to be true to who they are.  Stand up for what you believe in and know what you value. Approval seeking behavior is intended to gain more approval and respect from others, yet what people generally respect is the very opposite; people who are true to themselves. It is nice to feel approved of, but the true way to feel it is through self-approval and self-respect. While modern life conditions people to seek approval; familiarizing yourself with the approval seeking behaviors, listed above, will help you to identify when you are seeking approval, allowing you to take corrective action.



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