by Catherine Pratt
This is Part 2 in a 3 part series on how to build your self esteem by learning to stop needing approval.
Part 1 - A Quick Way to Build Your Self Esteem - Stop Needing Approval
Part 3 - How To Break Approval Seeking Habits
In order to learn how to stop needing approval from others, you really need to understand the "why" behind your actions.
1. What you seek is what you need from yourself
The most important thing to understand about your need for approval from others is that whatever it is that you want from others, whether it's to tell you that you're beautiful, smart, or good enough, that is what you need to heal within yourself. You don't believe that aspect about yourself so you search for it elsewhere. Once you realize this then you've discovered the part of you that needs healing and if you heal yourself you'll no longer search for it in others. It's an awareness of yourself at a very deep level.
By paying attention to your actions, you can figure out what painful part of your soul you're trying to soothe. For example, you sign up to volunteer with a few local charities. Now, when you think about helping this charity, what do you think about?
- Do you imagine yourself telling people how you're helping others?
- Do you imagine the respect in other people's eyes when they hear about your endeavors?
- Do you imagine how proud your parents are going to be of you?
- Do you feel like you finally have value?
If you do, it may not be the cause you're really concerned about but more your quest for approval from others in the form of respect. You want others to respect you for working on such an honorable cause.
It won't work though. People won't respect you until you respect yourself. So, when you find yourself seeking activities in order to gain approval from others, turn it around and ask yourself what it is that you really need. If it's respect, then explore that aspect of yourself. Figure out why you don't respect yourself. Heal that part of yourself and learn to give yourself the deep respect you truly do deserve.
This is the most important thing to understand. Once you figure out what it is that you need from yourself, you'll find that you no longer search for it from others. Then when you do engage in certain activities, you'll get so much more from them because they'll be done for the right reasons.
Step 2. Be accountable and take responsibility
You need to stand up and take on the responsibility for providing yourself with what you truly need. For example, if you've been searching for love then you need to love yourself first.
"When you love who you are, you become much more lovable"
It's a matter of discovering why you lack that feeling (abusive childhood, bad past experience, etc) and then learning to give that feeling to yourself anyway.
Accepting this responsibility can sometimes feel uncomfortable. It feels easier to stay in your comfort zone and deny that inner voice. It may take courage as well to dig deep inside yourself. The rewards for facing your fear will be life altering. You'll free yourself from those demons in the back of your mind simply by exposing them to the light.
The bottom line is that only you can provide yourself with that deepest need. No one else can give it to you.
You also won't be able to truly give it to anyone else until you give it to yourself first.
A wonderful gift for learning to meet your own needs is that others will then give it to you as well. So, as soon as you learn to love yourself you will then be able to truly love others and they will love you. But, it can't happen until you take the first step.
3. It’s Your Life – Value It
It’s your life and you should enjoy it and all that it offers. It’s a waste of your life to spend it chasing approval from others. Focus on your life and discover what you need and what you want. You deserve this.
The most difficult thing is the decision to act, the rest is merely tenacity. The fears are paper tigers. You can do anything you decide to do. You can act to change and control your life; and the procedure, the process is its own reward. - Amelia Earhart
Okay, now that you know what to do about understanding why you need approval, let's take a look at how to break approval seeking habits.
- When you walk into a crowded room, what do you do?
- When some pays you a compliment, how do you react?