What’s up, my friend! This is episode 14 (whaaaa!) in the #perfectionistproblems series about all the different ways perfectionism negatively shows up in your life. And approval addiction - that all encompassing need for approval - is a big one.
Do you constantly make choices to avoid disapproval or criticism, instead of doing what’s most valuable or important to you? Do you hold yourself back from speaking your opinions or hide your true self? Do you spend far too much time on tasks in order to perfect them because you think this will make people appreciate you more? This is classic approval addict behavior. #notcool
Approval addiction is mastering the art of telling people what they want to hear and being someone they find impressive—all the while worrying incessantly about what others think of you, fearing criticism, and holding yourself back. Letting the desire to get people to like you motivate the majority of your choices and actions is also a sure sign that you’re in the clutch of your approval-needing tendencies. You can spend (or better said, waste) your entire life seeking approval before realizing it’s a waste of time and it’s not working anyway.
The good news? It’s possible to change this type of perfectionist, approval-seeking behavior. Let’s talk about that.
HINT, WHY DON’T YOU SAVE THIS PIN? :)
WHAT’S BEHIND THE NEED FOR APPROVAL?
Your need for approval stems from this deep desire for others to love and approve of you and what you do. You desire this because you have given away your power. You think you need others to love and approve of you in order to feel good about yourself. You’ve placed these barriers, you’ve created these hurdles that you have to jump over in order to give yourself permission to feel worthy as a human being.
Is it any wonder that you procrastinate on your dreams? With so much at stake, it’s a wonder that you get anything done.
The biggest irony is that approval-seeking behavior yields the exact opposite result. Just think about the people you respect most. Most likely, their strongest traits is their ability to be true to who they are. They stand up for what they believe in and live by their own values. Approval addiction is intended to get more approval and respect from others by any means necessary, but what people generally respect is people who are true to themselves.
HOW TO LET GO OF THE NEED FOR APPROVAL
Approval addiction can hold you back in two different ways: low performance or high performance, as psychologists call it.
When approval addiction leads to low performance it means that the need for approval is negatively impacting your performance. You procrastinate, avoid doing important things, feel anxiety and fear, and get stuck in worry and rumination. Wanting people to like you results in declining new opportunities, being too nervous to perform effectively, and showing signs of withdrawal and giving up.
If this rings true for you, focus on how the need for approval is holding you back from doing the important things. Once you move past this, you will be free to achieve and create what you want in life with much less stress and effort.
With high performance approval addiction shows up in an entirely different way. You’re a high achiever and get great results in your life, but it’s at the expense of everything else.
The need for approval results in doing too much, feeling anxiety, worrying, being unable to stop ruminating about challenges, trying to please everyone, not making time for yourself, working too hard, and being unable to say no.
If this is you, focus on how the need for approval is causing you to (1) do too much of random things instead of only the things that are important and (2) do things for others at the expense of yourself.
One of the easiest ways to avoid approval seeking is to live a life that’s true to your own values. Your values are what makes you feel strong enough to go with what feels right for you. This way, you will no longer feel the need to look to others to feel good enough about your choices and decisions.
My challenge for you this week is to keep a journal and start writing down each day the things you’re most proud of about yourself: choices you’ve made, insights you’ve learned, things you like about yourself, times you’ve stayed true to yourself, or whatever feels right for you.
Also use this journaling time to reflect on the language, self-talk, and behavior you’ve used and displayed throughout your day. Identify when it’s coming from wanting someone else to say you’re ok, that you made the right choice, or that you did the right thing.