The Need for Approval

We all like to feel approval from others. However, when our desire for approval outside of ourselves becomes too strong, we set ourselves up for trouble.

Everyone likes to feel accepted and approved of. But for some of us, especially folks who didn’t get much as children, the desire for approval becomes a need, even an addiction. When that happens, we are in big trouble. To meet our own desperate need, we behave in ways that may have nothing at all to do with how we really think and feel. We are almost never happy, because we are trying to use those around us to get something that can only be obtained from within.

You see, whenever we need something, it implies to our mind that we do not already have it. We go around in a state of “not OK-ness,” feeling inadequate, stressed out and tense, typically blaming ourselves for what we think we are missing. Then, when approval does come to us, we are likely to deny or deflect it. Groups, teams, departments, whole organizations can develop this same “needy” mindset.

Here is the paradox: when we give up wanting approval, we almost automatically experience more of it. We become more relaxed, centered, and confident. We begin to internalize the support we need, and naturally it shows in our body language and behavior. People notice the difference and respond accordingly. Apply this to a team, a department or an organization, and you can see the seeds for outstanding performance grow into something quite amazing!

So, if you are an approval addict, kick the habit. Start with a little self-praise when you do something well. Don’t tell anyone else about it. Just do a little “private victory dance” and soak in your success. Take note of how you feel inside. Does a bit of inner happiness show up? Do you stand a little taller and do you walk with a bit of a lightness to your steps? Does a smile steal across your face, when no one else is around? These are a few signs of that switch to internal approval.

And as you make that internal switch to personal approval, watch the positive ways your life changes!