Seeking Approval – Perfectionism

Criticism is something you can easily avoid by saying nothing, doing nothing, being nothing. ~ Aristotle

Why do we seek approval? Because we didn’t get it when we needed it. Simples

I am showing you this article from the brilliant Irene Cohen that explains the need for approval far better than I.

How to Let Go of the Need for Approval

And live the life you want.

Posted July 13, 2018 |  Reviewed by Jessica SchraderTweet


“Queen of social chameleons, I mastered the art of telling people what they wanted to hear and being someone they would find impressive—all the while worrying incessantly about what others thought of me, fearing criticism, and holding myself back as a result.” –Sacha Crouch

Dmytro Zinkevych/Shutterstock

Source: Dmytro Zinkevych/Shutterstock

It usually starts out as a logical tactic. We gain others’ approval, make them happy for a moment, and feel pretty good about ourselves. It seems like the perfect path to take—and it’s one we can continue on for many years, believing it’s reducing our anxiety about disapproval in our daily lives. In actuality, it can work pretty well in getting people to like us. We avoid having them disapprove of our actions, and we get to enjoy that nice pat on the back every once in a while. But there will come a time when the constant seeking of approval—the very solution to our problems—will run its course. And that very behavior that brought us so many feelings of accomplishment will become the problem itself.

When we urgently aim to please other people, we’re seeking approval of self from outside sources. And whenever we reach for something in the outside world to give us what we should be giving ourselves, we set ourselves up for disappointment. We set ourselves up to live a life we don’t particularly want, but will fit with what other people expect of us. We don’t dare take a chance on something that may bring on a disapproving stare or rank low on the social status meter. We do what’s expected of us. We do what others want for us and from us. In return, we get their approval. You might be thinking, “Why not seek approval?” Well, the reason is that we only get it at the expense of knowing what we want and being our true selves. When we seek others’ approval, we miss opportunities to learn how to approve of ourselves—even if others don’t.

How Is Approval-Seeking Holding You Back From Your True Self?

Without realizing it, you may be negatively impacting your effectiveness by seeking others’ approval. This is because you probably avoid doing things that are important to you, feel anxious about trying new things outside your comfort zone, and get stuck worrying about what others might expect from you. Needing approval may lead you to reject potential opportunities because you’re too anxious and believe your performance has to be perfect. It may cause you to fear failing so much that you give up before you start.

This is why it’s important to focus on how your need for approval is holding you back from doing tasks that are important to you. Once you move past this, you’ll be free to achieve and create what you want in life with much less stress, because you won’t be so consumed with worrying about what others will think.

Even though you’re probably a high achiever, who regularly gets seemingly positive results, you’re often getting those results at the expense of everything else. When you’re driven to achieve solely because you want to impress others, you wind up doing too much, feeling overwhelmed, getting lost in your thoughts about your challenges, people-pleasing, overworking, avoiding making time for yourself, and constantly finding yourself unable to say no.article continues after advertisement

If you can relate, try focusing on how your need for approval is pushing you to do too much, instead of participating in things that are important to you. When you find yourself getting hurt by doing things for others at the expense of yourself, it’s time to make a change.

The Importance of Knowing Yourself

When others’ acceptance of you impacts how you make decisions about where to spend your time, you lose awareness of what’s important to you, what drives you, and what makes you happy. You might feel stuck doing work you don’t particularly enjoy and continue habits that are counterproductive. If this feels true for you, it’s time to focus your energy on getting in touch with what really matters to you. Start asking yourself questions like: What do I value? What keeps me awake at night? How is it that I prefer to spend my time? Start to listen to what you really want for your life, and align your actions with your values, principles, and goals. When you live in line with what you value, your life becomes much simpler and more effortless.

Instead of making decisions based on what others will approve of, start making them based on what’s right for you. When you make conscious choices about how to spend your time and are committed to doing what’s valuable to you, you’re able to create your own life. Contrary to popular belief, you don’t need to be—or appear—constantly busy in order to be successful. As an alternative, you can see success as a measure of doing what matters to you.

Say Goodbye to the Need for Approval!

This all begins with building the strength to go with what feels right for you. When you start doing this, you’ll no longer feel the urge to seek validation from other people. Start to become more self-aware, and pay attention to what behaviors make you feel good about yourself, regardless of how other people react. Reflect on and pay attention to choices you’ve made, things you like about yourself, or times you’ve stayed true to yourself.article continues after advertisement

You have to start being honest with yourself when you take on a new commitment and really evaluate whether you’re doing it because it’s right for you, or because you want to gain approval and/or avoid disapproval.

Take your time before saying yes to a new task or commitment. Take a step back, sit down and review your schedule, then ask yourself: What’s really necessary and important, and what’s being driven by people-pleasing? Once this is clear, start slowly working through the approval-seeking list so you can re-evaluate. When you start noticing what you aren’t doing for yourself in order to gain other people’s approval, it will be easier for you to eliminate those tasks and replace them with things that allow for the growth of your personal goals.

I know how difficult it can be to change your approval-seeking behaviors. It isn’t easy to start making decisions that could potentially be disapproved of by others. You probably started seeking approval for a very good reason; in some situations, it probably seemed like the easier, less dramatic choice for you to make. Under certain circumstances, failing to seek other people’s approval can end in immediate negative consequences. However, avoiding confrontations time after time will have you living a life that’s missing your true values, which will inevitably have you questioning your worth as a person. Both paths bring their own set of negative consequences, so it’s ultimately up to you. But don’t forget: It is a choice, and the choice is ultimately up to you

About the Author

Ilene S. Cohen, Ph.D., is a psychotherapist and blogger, who teaches in the Department of Counseling at Barry Unive

To read more of Dr. Cohen’s articles visit FacebookInstagramLinkedIn

If you want to read more on this topic here is a link to TinyBuddha.

Sorry but for myself I think it is very hard to stop try to seek approval. Whatever happened back then is so ingrained that even at the age of 68 I spend my whole time trying to help or please people. Here are some notes I made clarifying my need for approval:-

Started seeking approval for a very good reason – failing to gain approval can cause immediate negative consequences.

Fear of not gaining approval has a negative effect on myself by avoiding doing things that are important to me. Needing approval leads me to reject potential opportunities because you are too anxious as you fear failing so much you give up before you start.

Below is a tapping script by Tapping4U to release the need for approval. Feel the need, feel the anxiety and remember the pain from the score of 1 – 10 ten being the strongest.

Starting with the Karate point tapping side of hand

Need for Approval

Even though I seek approval for all the things I do I accept how I feel

Even though I seek approval for all the things I create I accept how I feel

Especially because I seek approval for all my achievements from the people around me, this makes me stuck, can’t move forward, can’t succeed I accept myself

EB           Always seeking approval

SE           It doesn’t make me feel better

UE          It causes negative consequences

UN         Causing negative impacts on myself

UM        Causing stress and anxiety

CB           This need for approval stops me gaining my goals

UA          Rejecting potential opportunities

TOH       Fear of failing -anxiety wins

EB           I need to move past this

SE           This need for approval

UE          That actually holds me back

UN         From all

UM        I need to move on from this stress

CB           This fear of failure

UA Move on from the consuming worry of what others think

TOH       or what they may say

EB           So I didn’t gain the approval I needed as a child

SE           Making me feel a failure

UE          Giving me this need to prove my childhood wrong

UN         I am not a failure

UM        I can move on from this need of approval

CB           The past is behind me

UA          The people I needed approval from are no longer there

TOH       Time to release this hold from the past

EB           Release this negativity

SE           Release the all-consuming need

UE          Step by step

UN         Realise my own values not theirs

UM        Realise my worth

UA Moving Forward

CB          No more need for approval

TOH       Moving forward, approving of myself.

Reflect on how you are feeling. If your emotion hasn’t gone down much either repeat above script or do the 9 Gamut Procedure and then do the next script

Script 2 Not enough attention

Even though I didn’t get the attention I needed from my family when I was growing up I accept who I am.

Even though when growing up I needed more attention than I got I accept who I am.

Even though not getting enough the attention I needed made me feel unloved I accept this.

EB I didn’t get the attention I needed

SE It made me feel rejected

UE Not getting the attention made me feel alone

UN I didn’t feel seen

UM I didn’t feel heard

CB I didn’t feel important

UA Nobody interested

TOH I didn’t matter

EB No how hard I tried I just didn’t get the attention I needed

SE Not heard

UE Not seen

UN Just there

UM Unimportant

CB Don’t matter

TOH So sad

EB I know they didn’t know

SE I know they did their best

UE No time

UN So busy

UM Not enough time for all

CB They didn’t know

TOH Not enough time

EB I need to let the sadness go

SE So you are not like your family

UE So you didn’t do well at school

UN In all their eyes I was useless

UM OR is it all in my own mind

CB IS it me creating all this inferioty

UA Feeling inferior

TOH So inferior

EB BUT are you

SE You are You

UE You were made differently to them

UN YOU are you

UM You are an individual

CB Time to live by your standards

UA Time to release you

TOH Time to crack the protective shell you have hidden in

EB Hiding from pain

SE Hiding from conflict

UE Hiding from lonliness

UN Hiding from sadness

UM Hiding from myself

UA So insecure

TOH It is time to let it all go

EB You can put your head out there

SE Be the you that is hidden away

UE Release the sadness

UN You don’t need attention

UM You have attention

CB You have YOU


Written with emotion by tapping4u

I do hope these scripts will help. You might want to try script 2 first followed on by script Adapt each script to your own life experiences.

As usual you must take full responsibility for your own health

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