Approval is not something we need to wait for.
Yikes this is a tough one because let’s face it, this whole: needing, seeking and yearning for approval that some people experience, runs deep within our timeline of life and can go right back to the start.
I’m not going to write you some big epic book here on how to stop seeking approval because this isn’t the place to do it. If you feel like you have deep routed sticking points then working alongside a coach where you can individually be supported is of course preferable but here’s a quick start for you.
If you are someone who seeks approval then here’s a game changer for you – about 99% of us do.
Whether we like to admit it or not, most of us like to receive praise for what we have or are doing. We may seek it from our parents – hey i’m nearly 40 and still like hearing my mum tell me she’s proud of me. We may seek it from a spouse, partner, certain friends, our managers or anyone who particularly stands out and has an influence on us in some way.
We can also enjoy giving praise to others: “You’re a great mum.” “You a great friend.” “You’re a great coach…” Feel free to reply with that one and make my day ; )
So where does it become disempowering? Where does the line get blurry?
We can look for approval and feel happy when we receive it from someone who we care about but if we start to build our internal validation as an individual based on what other people say or think about us then we can loose power by giving our beautiful power to other people. We can start to behave in a certain way just to seek approval, we’re giving to receive but we want to receive something in particular.
What happens when we don’t receive that particular feedback we want? We can feel hurt, rejected, angry and begrudge doing more – only we do more because we’re seeing validation outside of ourselves and so the cycle continues. I’m going to stick my neck out on the line here folks and people may not like this but it is a form of passive aggressive behaviour.
When we give people our power (some circumstances are that our power is taken – this isn’t an article on that), this is a hell of a responsibility we are bestowing on them and how can they deliver? What are they delivering on? What are they supposed to do with that power? How are they supposed to crystal ball exactly what you need to hear and feel? And I see this everyday in circles around, if that need isn’t met then the resulting behaviour from the one needing the validation can create consequences for the person who didn’t fulfill creating more negative patterns and cycles. It’s an intricate and confusing situation for all involved.
Past to present
This can happen sometimes if we’ve had experiences in our life where we feel disempowered and we maybe conditioned to, for example, seek validation and approval, then we may enter brand new relationships but bring this conditioned behaviour with us. Behaviour is a hard to break on our own, there’s no way I could have pushed myself to leave behind my negative behaviours, working with my coach was the best thing I ever did – it was freeing.
We can’t reach absolute happiness, inner freedom and great self confidence if our validation comes from outside of us because at any moment someone or something could come along and whisk it away. You can sit comfortably in relative happiness for as long as nothing tips the scales, but you are exposed to the conditions of life and your ups and downs can be much more dramatic and less consistant when so many variables lead your feelings.
Fine tuning that balance between a healthy need for approval and a healthy giving of it with real integrity behind your words and you mean it without needing it back off that person – and not living under the shaddows of the validation given to you that gives you your baseline of how you feel about yourself – is a hard balance.
Yes you can find it, no it doesn’t have to be years and years of spiritual journeys, therapy or anything over complex (i’ve done all those things and some I still do but everyone is different).
Firstly sit with yourself:
Where are you in all of this?
Is there anything critical for you to resolve to move forward? What will your life look like in the future if you never choose to resolve this issue?
What action are you taking inside yourself right now!
Free yourself from the binds of measuring your happy baseline by the ways others think and feel about you and instead enjoy the real approval that contributes to your life and you’ll find a healthier place to be.
I know it is far from easy and I don’t write these articles lightly, I write them to prod and poke and stir things up so that you find the capacity and the resources you need to be the best you can be and help create the change we need in this world. But to change the world we each have to start with ourselves.