It’s natural to want and seek the approval of others. It isn’t easy to let go of the need to seek approval. Often, approval-seeking behavior intends to get more respect and approval from others; however, what people generally respect is the exact opposite. They respect people who are true to themselves. It feels good to have others' approval, but the best way to get it is to have self-respect and self-approval. To begin the process of letting go of others' validation, you must realize that you are enough. You don’t need anyone’s love and approval to recognize this.
Develop a Greater Sense of Self-Worth
Self-worth begins with self-love. This starts with being on your own team. It happens when you give yourself the same dignity, respect, and understanding you hope for your loved ones. Having low self-worth can be devastating. This can lead to risky behaviors, depression, higher tolerance of abusive treatment, and failure to reach your own potential.
We can begin to improve it by changing the way we think. There are a number of habits and beliefs that people with a higher sense of self-worth consistently demonstrate. One of those things is recognizing that you are worthy of love no matter what you’ve done or haven’t done. When you have a high sense of self-worth, you can take responsibility for your mistakes, but you don’t degrade yourself for making them. Another thing is recognizing that “things” do not define you. Remember, you aren’t the clothes you wear, the house you live in, the car, or the relationship you are in or not in.
Understand Why You’re Seeking Self-Approval
You should ask yourself why you constantly seek approval from others so you can stop the behavior altogether. Too many times, we fall into the trap of people-pleasing. We run our decisions by our closest friends and family members for their validation. We may seek the approval of others so that we can feel secure in our decision-making. Start by asking why you don’t trust your own opinion in the matter. You may find that you are seeking approval because you want someone to accept you or like you. Knowing the motive behind your need for approval is a crucial step in overcoming it.
Replace Self-Criticism With Self-Compassion
We often seek validation from others because we’re afraid that we will be disliked or rejected. Who doesn’t want the people that they spend the most time around or the people they care about the most to validate them? If you are someone who turns on yourself when you don’t get the approval you’re looking for, it may be time for you to replace self-criticism with a big dose of self-compassion. Self-compassion starts with being warm and understanding of ourselves, especially when we fail, suffer, or simply feel inadequate. This is done instead of ignoring our pain or showering ourselves with self-criticism. If someone you care about isn’t too fond of a choice you’ve made or something you’ve done and begins to give you the cold shoulder, remember that your value doesn’t come from whether a person likes you or not. Someone’s thoughts about you don’t make it a fact.
Focus on Things That Are Important
If you want to let go of the need for approval, start to fill your life with things that are important to you. Start doing some volunteer work or join an organization that is working to change lives for the better. If we spend our time on the important things, it will boost our self-esteem, and we will be able to receive love and appreciation from others. When we are too concerned about the opinions of others, it can begin to damage our self-esteem. When we seek approval from others, we are diminishing our own importance. There is no need for us to cause ourselves pain. Remember just how important you are. Your opinion matters the most.
Embrace Your Growth
Do you have a growth mindset? Those who adopt one believe that growth can happen over time. It may come with hard work, experience, and perseverance. They are aware that growth doesn’t happen overnight. When we prioritize learning and improvement, we start to free ourselves from the need for approval from others. Those who view skill and ability as something that is developed over time, rather than unchangeable and innate, are more likely to achieve their full potential. When we embrace our own growth, we are more likely to challenge ourselves compared to those who have a fixed mindset. When we are aware that there is room for abundant growth and success, we can prevent ourselves from the constant need for validation.
Focus on the Process
If you’re always seeking others' approval, focus on the process instead of the outcomes.If we have a narrow focus on one result, like getting a raise or an award, we connect your self-worth to external standards. These are outside of our control. When we focus on the process, we can begin to take control and reduce the power the situation has over us. The only person you really need to answer to is yourself. When we shift away from approval-seeking behaviors, we are honoring ourselves and our needs. This will set you up for long-term success.
It is incredibly hard to change approval-seeking behaviors. It’s tough to start making decisions that others could disapprove. We feel like people will look at us a certain way if they don’t approve of something we’ve done. Sometimes, seeking approval happens because it is the easier, less dramatic choice to make. We may think we are avoiding confrontation when we simply accept the opinions of others. If we avoid confrontation over and over again, we are losing a part of ourselves. The last thing we want to do is question our worth as a person.