Updated: Dec 16, 2020
Approval seeking is a self-defeating behaviour. Many young people seek approval from their peers, they wear the same types of clothes which their peers are wearing. They spend a lot of money on making themselves look good because it's what society and the media broadcasts. The message goes something like this:
"Wear this brand and your friends will envy you"
Kids get into drugs and do mischievous things because they want the approval of their friends so approval seeking in this aspect is terrible. Children need to be taught at a young age that they don't need to seek approval from their friends. Instead teach children that they are to make their own choices which are moral, ethical and safe, and not choices to please or gain approval from their peers.
Adults are also approval seekers. Let's say you're talking to someone about a current situation that is happening in the world and you state your opinion. Then your companion states the opposite to what you said. You may find yourself quickly changing your story to seek the other person's approval on the topic. This is approval seeking.
You may be talking about food and say that you like Mongolian to which your companion says "Yuck! Mongolian that's terrible”. Then you find yourself saying "Oh I didn't really mean I like it. I mean it's OK to eat if I was in Mongolia on holidays.” That's approval seeking.
I had a client once who would make sure everything was neat and tidy at home before he left the house everyday. I asked why he did this and he told me that he would be highly embarrassed if he had a guest and everything wasn't tidy and in order. This is approval seeking behaviour. This made somebody else's opinion more important than his opinion.
People with a healthy self-esteem will not be concerned about a couple of dishes in the sink, or a basket full of washing. This is normal in a busy household.
One aspect of approval seeking is blind obedience to a tradition, or rules. If it doesn't sit right with you then don't do it. Sometimes you need to bend or even break tradition or the rules when you believe otherwise. I'm not talking about breaking the law. But if something just doesn't make sense to you, then exercise your free will. Sometimes I will actually go out and seek disapproval. Not to upset anyone but to test my own self-value, to see how I respond to the disapproval.
Break some rules and exercise your free will.
Do you realise that 50% of the folks that you meet will have a different opinion to you in almost every facet of life? Could you imagine how hard it would be to try and have that 50% to agree with you? You would spend all your time bending over backwards in an attempt to please them or to gain their approval. What a terrible existence that would be.
Take for example, this topic I am what I am writing right here and now. I am confident and believe in what I am writing. My objective is to help folks who are suffering from the approval seeking behaviour. Whether someone likes or dislikes it is irrelevant. My self-esteem and self-worth are intact regardless of what one thinks. I believe in myself and that is enough.
Approval seeking means that you are putting your self-worth, your self-esteem in the hands of someone else and if they don't approve of what you were doing or saying then your self-esteem and your self-worth suffers a blow. You may feel upset or depressed because of this. You may find yourself mulling over the disapproval for long periods of time thereafter, consuming your present moments.
You are entitled to an opinion. You are entitled to think the way you think, say what you want to say, and wear what you want to wear. As long as it's not socially unacceptable or abusive to anyone then by all means wear, do, be and say what you believe is right and true. And if another doesn’t like what you have done or said then that is their problem, not yours.
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