You really know you are on the right path when you start to ask yourself this question: Why do I seek approval?
From the moment of our birth, we learn (by our own experience) that we absolutely need to seek approval of others.
Of course, we required someone to take care of us, because we were not able to take care of ourselves.
This quickly became one of our deepest beliefs as we associated approval with safety, security and personal survival.
We concluded that in order to survive we most definitely need to be approved of others.
Way back in our past, if we were not approved by our pack or tribe, we would be expelled from the community, and if that happened our chances of survival would decrease dramatically.
And this link between group approval and survival is also evident today. We continue to seek the approval from others, and at the same time conditionally give it to others, who are seeking it from us.
Ways I Seek Approval Today
When you start to question this, you will see that there are lot of subtle things we do to seek approval from others.
Some of the most obvious ones could be:
- always playing nice (pretending)
- not standing up for myself
- quickly abandoning my own point of view for others
- trying to be perfect in any way shape or form
- questioning myself
- waiting for confirmation of others before doing something
- putting myself in the last place
- joining that special group or a club
- hanging out with the “approved” people
- wearing “approved” stuff
- listening to “approved” music
- talking in “approved” way
Check and see, what are some of the ways you seek approval?
It could be something that you are doing or a certain way in which you are behaving, and perhaps you are currently not even aware that you are using it for this.
Ask yourself, is this type of approval ever genuine? Is it real approval? Does it come freely, openly and from the heart?
Of course not. I call this type of approval – “false approval”.
What is False Approval?
False approval is not our inner, genuine and unconditional approval. It is something that is used all over our world for manipulation of people or experiences. It is used as a means of social control.
False approval is never given freely, and is always conditioned. You have to earn it. It comes with a price.
Until we start to check from where does the approval really come from, most likely we will also try to use “false approval” to achieve our ego goals.
Ways in Which I Use False Approval to Control
Some of the most obvious ways could be:
- rejecting someones actions or comments
- leaving the room when faced with something we don’t like
- throwing a temper tantrum
- judging and commenting other people or their life choices
- being angry, not speaking to other person – giving them a silent treatment
- showing clearly that you are upset or sad but refusing to communicate or elaborate why
- doing everything you can to make others feel guilty about something
What are the ways you use false approval to control others?
And please remember, we all do it, it really doesn’t make you a bad person of any sort, it just allows for the belief patterns to present itself so you can see them in plain sight. Only then can you allow yourself to start changing and replace false approval for the real approval.
Ways in Which I Use False Approval to Be Safe
As I mentioned before, approval is directly tied to being safe or surviving, something that comes from our most early childhood days.
Some of the ways of using false approval to be safe could be:
- laugh at jokes that are not funny to me
- smile at the person in power all the time (a*s-kissing)
- playing small so I don’t get hurt
- complying without questioning
- agreeing with everything, even if deep inside I really don’t agree
- placing other person needs in front of my own
What is Seeking Approval in Reality?
Seeking approval (or wanting it) is a state of being, in which we feel like we don’t have something (approval) and we desperately try to get it.
Since we allow ourselves to believe that we don’t have it, the only real logic is to conclude that it comes from outside of us. This belief is reinforced by society and our culture.
Following that reasoning, we start seeking the approval from others, where we think is the only place it comes from.
From early days this behavior is mostly promoted by our parents, and later it continues to evolve in interactions with our friends, colleagues, bosses and all other people, usually in some position of power over us.
How Do I Stop Seeking Approval?
There are couple of steps you need to take in order to fully stop seeking approval.
First, you need to accept that this is a deeply engraved habit of a lifetime, and that it will probably take some time for it to dissolve completely.
Don’t beat yourself about it.
Since every journey needs to start with the first step, it’s up to you to decide to just start by reducing the number of ways in which you seek approval of others.
Secondly, you need to recognize where does the approval really come from. If you spend some time recollecting when was the last time you felt really approved off, you might notice that in reality you just allowed yourself to feel what was already inside of you.
Now this is usually not that obvious and it does take some time and practice, as it is a skill that needs to be developed.
Allow yourself to be completely open-minded about this, and just check, when you felt approved off, from where did that approval really come from?
It came from inside of us, and with every experience you take for checking you will notice that it always comes only from inside of us. We just mistakenly assume that it is coming from another direction, outside of us. We assume that it’s coming from a person, place or a thing.
That is simply not true.
If this is not evident to you, then it’s only a matter of taking your time and doing some deeper introspection.
You will see it clearly.
You can also read this post to deepen the understanding and the difference of unconditional and conditional love.
Good news is that real approval is something that we were born with. It is built into very core of our Beingness.
It is the same thing that we feel when we think about people, places and experiences that are dear and close to our heart.
Take a couple of seconds right now, and think about someone or something you love. Allow yourself to fully get in touch with this feeling.
Does it feel nice?
That is the real approval, and we all have access to it, every day, every second of our lives.
Why then don’t we accept it for what it is? It’s simply because we never learned about it, and we were brainwashed that in reality, it is something outside of us. Something outside of our control and what needs to be earned and gained.
And like I already said, that is simply not true. We need to un-learn this for ourselves.
Deciding to stop wanting approval and start looking for it inside of ourselves is the first and necessary step on each of our paths. Until we truly decide to do it we will never be free.
We will be slaves, begging for the approval of others.
And all this time, we will not be aware that we actually always have the approval we are mistakenly seeking.
It is inside of us. It is the only place where it is. It is the only place it ever was.
I wish we all find out about this in our lives, imagine what would be the state of our world then?
Please comment bellow if you would like to share something, remember sharing is caring (approving) 🙂
Until next time,
My approval to all of you.
Images courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net