Why Do I Seek Approval?
People often seek approval to be seen, heard, or maybe even validated. Seeking approval can be born out of the desire to experience a certain feeling or to want an external person to reach a certain emotional state. The reality with seeking approval is that many of us connect to it to some degree. It simply does not feel good when others disagree with us. It can feel good to receive the attention that comes with the approval of others.
Signs You Are Seeking Approval:
Common reasons that people seek approval to connect to not sharing your disagreement and going against your belief or viewpoint, taking things personally, low self-esteem, and not believing in yourself. In addition to the signs shared above of why people seek approval, please continue to read the items shared below on seeking approval.
This is often why; it is challenging to remove the desire to stop seeking approval. Working with a counselor can open doors to addressing the key reasons why we may engage in approval-seeking habits or behaviors. One key way to stop seeking approval is connected to taking ownership over yourself. This includes owning your space, your truth, and your identity. We often seek approval because we do not own our space. We are not connected to our identity, values, and truth. Reach out to Santos Counseling PLLC by calling 336-663-6570 or email [email protected] to get started.
Identifying when seeking approval is taking place
The questions below aim to give you space to understand if attention-seeking behaviors are taking place.
- When you make a decision do you feel secure in yourself, or do you notice a sense of insecurity, doubt, or fear when you have to tell someone else?
If the answer is YES, to a sense of fear, doubt, and insecurity then this may connect to seeking approval.
- Are you able to set and stick to your boundaries?
If the answer is NO, then this may connect to engaging in approval-seeking behaviors. One common approval-seeking behavior is struggling to say “no” or holding the beliefs of others over yours.
- When making a decision does the opinion of others change yours?
If the answer is YES, then this can connect to a deep struggle to find strength in your personal beliefs. Seeking approval connects to letting go of your opinion.
Seeking validation is connected to overly focusing on what others think about you versus developing a healthy sense of self.
Seeking Approval Meaning
- Why do you seek approval?
- When was the last time that you found yourself in a position of seeking approval?
- Do you seek approval from your parents?
- Do you seek approval from others?
The meaning of seeking approval is interconnected to the reading in the post. You will find that seeking approval connects to childhood experiences. such as not being provided with an unconditional friendliest or love. You will find that seeking approval comes from low self-esteem, low self-confidence, and low self-worth. The meaning of seeking approval gives us a starting point so that we are able to understand how it got started and what we can do about it. Continue reading to build strength in removing the behavior and habit of seeking approval.
7 Reasons Why People Seek Approval
1. Low self-esteem leads to seeking approval
Self-esteem is defined as how you personally connect to your self-worth and how you value yourself. It is a vital area of life to nurture and strengthen each and every day. Below are ways to strengthen your self-esteem so that you do not engage in an unhealthy level of seeking approval from others.
Ways to improve self-esteem:
- Challenge negative negatives.
- Practice affirmations.
- Create positive relationships.
- Actively engage in your physical health.
- Actively engage in your mental health.
2. Agreeing with others when you do not agree leads to seeking approval.
A pattern of agreeing with others although you truly do not agree. Consider if you are with peers who are sharing their viewpoint on a topic you completely disagree with you. As you put your values to the side and do not share your belief, growth takes place. The growth is seen in valuing other viewpoints over your own which connects to seeking approval. This is seen because if you share your viewpoint, you will feel that the person will be disappointed or that they will not give you approval.
To build strength in connecting to your beliefs take time to focus on understanding what your values and beliefs are. Once you recognize what they are, spend equal time engaging in daily activities that strengthen the values and beliefs. In addition, surround yourself with people that respect your viewpoint and give you space to have a different viewpoint.
3. Fear of saying “no” due to disproval.
- How do you feel about your ability to say no?
- Did you have experiences in life that supported your ability to say no?
Seeking approval is often connected to engaging in being an over-committer. A person may engage in over-committing due to struggling to receive negative feedback from others. For instance, you are at work and see an email from your supervisor requesting that you stay late to help a co-worker with a project. Before you reply back, you remember that it’s your friend’s birthday and you are really looking forward to it attending. You decide to email back, yes. You said yes because you struggle with disappointing your supervisor. You say yes, because you want positive feedback and approval from your supervisor, even if it comes at the cost of your personal life and schedule.
Ways to build strength in saying no:
- Create boundaries.
- Create consequences for boundaries.
- Work with a counselor.
- Think about what you want to say before you say yes.
Watch the video below to learn creative ways to practice self-care.
4. Desire to feel better from the approval of others.
At times we may struggle with low self-esteem, self-worth, and self-confidence. This can lead to a deep struggle of not liking who we are or appreciating ourselves. Having this mindset creates an internal feeling of wanting to feel validated, seen or heard. This translates to seeking approval from others to feel better.
To stop seeking approval from others try the following:
- Practice daily affirmations.
- Journal with the focus on praising yourself.
- Engage in a habit until you reach consistency with it.
- Give yourself daily supportive words.
- Commit to your boundaries.
5. Difficulty in standing up for your own rights.
- Do you stand up for yourself?
- Do you stand strong behind your thoughts, feelings, viewpoint, and beliefs?
People often seek approval at the cost of their own rights or beliefs. This can take place for ample reasons; one common reason is found in the experiences that take place during upbringing. For instance, let’s imagine that a person had a childhood in which their viewpoint and rights were always dismissed. They felt that they took on the role of a doormat for others. This experience can develop into the person seeking approval even at the cost of their rights and beliefs.
Today, focus on what you want to stand up for. Write down the thoughts, viewpoints, and beliefs you want to uphold. Each day engages in one small practice that highlights you are standing strong with your rights.
6. Shifting from seeking approval to validation.
Validation is connected to wanting to be seen and recognized. This can be healthy as long as certain dynamics are in order.
Seeking Approval and Love
Unlike what most may assume, there are healthy reasons connected to seeking validation. Consider a child who has been working the entire week with their parents on getting ready for the spelling test. The child gets home on Friday and excitedly shows his parents a 7 out of 8. The parents give him hugs and words of praise. The hugs and kind supportive words work to boost the child’s emotional state and reinforce the internal feeling that comes with working hard.
A healthy form of seeking validation takes place when a person has a healthy level of the three self’s.
Having a healthy level of the three forms leads to being able to love ourselves and give ourselves internal validation, praise, and recognition. When a person is able to hold a healthy and strong level of self-esteem, self-worth, and self-confidence they directly will find themselves in a healthy place when seeking validation from others.
Once you build your internal strength and self-love, you can shift to experiencing a healthy level of validation. This comes from knowing the dynamics of the relationship and the person you are seeking validation with.
Let’s go back to the example of the child and parent form above. The dynamics include that the parents give their children love and allow their children the freedom to be who they are. The child does not feel that they have to show up in a specific way to receive love. This dynamic is healthy. At this point, the child can complete the spelling test and seek validation in a healthy way.
An unhealthy form of validation using the same example of the child and parent includes the following: The child feels that they only receive love and positive attention from their parents when they excel in school. So, this need to want love and attention from the parents pushes the child to study and do their best for the spelling test. This dynamic opens the opportunity for an unhealthy form of seeking validation.
As you move forward in life, continue to find space to invest in yourself. Engage in counseling, read a self-help book, go for a walk, or take a nice hot bath. There are so many forms of self-care and ways that we can invest in ourselves. Each works to develop a strong sense of self. Reach out to a counselor at Santos Counseling PLLC to learn more about how counseling can help with seeking approval and validation.
Are you ready to start counseling?
Reach out today by calling 336-663-6570 or email our office at [email protected].
How counseling can help:
- Reduce worry, nervousness, and stress.
- Understand why anxiety, depression, and related symptoms are taking place.
- Create healthy self-care practices.
- A safe and supportive therapeutic space.