“APPROVAL OF OTHERS?”
DO YOU SECOND GUESS YOURSELF A LOT?
Do you feel the need to second-guess yourself? Or, do you constantly seek the approval of others? Having a strong sense of self and feeling comfortable in “your own skin” is important to your well-being. It could be as simple as what to wear or making complex decisions.
There may be wringing of the hands, heart palpitations, or other sensations in the body; or thoughts go into “overdrive.” Seeking approval or validation from other people indicates behaviours or ways of being that are often associated with poor self-esteem.
WHAT IS YOUR ATTITUDE?
Seeking praise, needing the approval of other people, and acceptance, in order to feel confident or good about one’s self, can be draining, if not debilitating. Lack of self-acceptance and self-approval can negatively impact a person’s mental health and overall quality of life.
Reflecting on behaviours (including attitudes) provides awareness and enables identification of their root cause, thus enabling the development of a way forward so victims may live more fulfilled lives.
Since the beginning of time, human beings survived by living together in groups, communities, clans, or tribes. From the community, they derived identity, and a sense of belonging, and had their needs met. People were able to feel safe and connected. Early connections came from maternal and paternal provisions and the nurturing environment.
Naturally, human beings are wired with needs and conditioned to have them met. Unmet needs leave “holes” in the foundation of our lives, affecting development. Inner or psychological needs are most neglected because they are not as visible as physical needs and are the most difficult to repair.
Notwithstanding, psychological damage needs to be repaired. Psychological research informs that a child’s belief system is cemented between six to eight years of age. Without repair, approval and acceptance are sought throughout their life.
WHAT CAUSES SOMEONE TO SEEK APPROVAL
People with unmet emotional needs embrace the view of the “damaged” self, and as a consequence feel they’re not good enough. (https://nbhi-llc.org/2021/05/why-parents-should-listen-to-their-children/)
This was made clear after a male instructor reviewing a few questions I missed shamed me and made me feel disoriented. I was so noticeably disoriented that he asked if I were okay. In my adult years, I realized I was responding to past experiences.
One such experience was the failure of the Common Entrance exam at age 11, in primary school. This is a standard British exam ALL students are required to take in order to go to high school.
I remembered feeling fear, sadness, and inadequate when I failed. Worse yet, I recalled having to be tutored by my uncle. I needed to pass on my next attempt – the final attempt! The message that “something must be wrong with me” was overwhelming.
QUESTION: DO YOU HAVE “HOLES IN THE FOUNDATION?”
There was a cultural expectation to perform well the first time as my twin brother had done! This event and moment in time were never properly processed and treated for a number of reasons.
During this time, a critical one – my mother migrated to the United States. Making matters worse, my father was a “phantom” from the beginning. The event and circumstances started me on a “collision course.”
Similar events are likely to cause psychological damage and affect emotional development. They become the base for shaping and handling future experiences and events. The need for validation is pervasive, especially in a permissive and insensitive society, and affects every area of life.
WHAT DOES THIS LOOK LIKE?
For example, there is the need to be perfect at all costs when taking on a project or following desires, hopes, or quests.
Failure is viewed as bad and that a person is defective. (https://nbhi-llc.org/2021/01/your-past-is-not-healed-in-time-but-with-action-include-these-5-life-transforming-steps-to-reclaiming-your-life/)
Above all, functioning this way can bring a lifetime of instability and unproductivity. Many find themselves lonely and isolated, resulting in anxiety, depression, and other mental health issues. (https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/hide-and-seek/201205/building-confidence-and-self-esteem). Emotional issues tend to show up in one’s interpersonal and intimate relationships.
THIS CAN BE STRESSFUL IN ADULT-COMPLEX RELATIONSHIPS
Relating becomes strained, difficult, and in some cases results in a lack of healthy boundaries. Question: Do you have holes in your foundation?
HOW SEEKING APPROVAL AFFECTS YOUR MENTAL HEALTH?
Seeking approval may also have repercussions in the workplace. Workplace interactions can become impaired where there is a need for validation or acceptance. For example, a person may behave in ways that are temperamental, making it impossible for teamwork or constructive criticism.
This may result in demotivated employees, decreased job satisfaction, and in extreme cases job loss. In other cases, persons may become “doormats” to their spouses, boss, or children when fearing rejection or loss of approval.
Inventory how you see or view yourself: Here, you come face to face with the thoughts and feelings about “self” as well as how you compare yourself to others. Having to look at ourselves can be difficult and overwhelming. However, it is helpful, as one will be able to pinpoint what is happening inside. Expression of this can start the healing process. (https://nbhi-llc.org/your-past-is-not-healed-in-time-but-with-action-include-these 5-life-transforming-steps-to reclaiming-your-life/)
The importance of this inventory may be likened to a pilot who has to pay close attention to certain coordinates in order to make “course corrections.” If the pilot does not do this necessary work, there will be fatalities! So it is in our lives.
Inventory your values: What is important to you matters! Question: do you know your values? Could it be that you are reactive to other people’s agenda because, somehow, it gives approval or acceptance? This is common, especially among people who revere social media.
Comparing yourself to others is a mistake. If your values are tossed “to and fro,” based on comparison to others on social media, you cause yourself emotional injury. Unfortunately, this form of escape and approval mechanism has become a cultural norm.
What is important to you?: The things you consider the important matter. They may affect you positively or negatively. Negative effects include a decrease in self-esteem, productivity, and attention span. An emotional roller-coaster may ensue and may increase the chances of depression. Checking in to re-evaluate and declare your values will help you focus on what is important to you. This way you can create a life around them in your daily living. (https://www.verywellmind.com/how-to-boost-your-self-confidence-4163098)
Make a list of important milestones and achievements: So, tell me about yourself? No one really likes this question during a job interview, because it can be tricky. However, this question on your own time allows you to be honest with yourself, giving you the unique opportunity to have an “inner-view.” Employers receive vital information from this type of question. How much more beneficial it can be for you to take an inner view of your capabilities and achievements.
You have accomplishments and contributions. By allowing yourself to appreciate your work, you will start to notice what steps you took and the grit you developed to succeed. These are evidence of your abilities. Inherent in this process is learning the skill of steadying yourself and reflecting.
Plan your need fulfillment: Bringing focus on what fulfillment looks like indicates where work or “repair” is needed. Moreover, it highlights your strengths and ways of overcoming obstacles. Furthermore, it awakens desires and hopes for that which is meaningful to you. With this knowledge and understanding, planning to meet your needs becomes clearer and more practical.
Your Past Is Not Healed in time but with action. Include these 5 Life Transforming Steps to Reclaiming Your Life.
[…] Lack of proper boundaries tends to lead to dysfunctional patterns of communication and relationships.https://nbhi-llc.org/2021/06/how-to-stop-needing-the-approval-of-others/ […]