Are You An Approval Whore Like Me?

A few days ago I bought myself an iPad. I didn’t really need it, but I wanted it. I have a new laptop and an iPhone but for some reason I HAD to have an iPad. I’m not super materialistic in general, but this year I have been. I felt I had missed out.

 

I noticed the last few days this huge need to phone my mother to tell her; to talk iPads. To talk some meaningless general conversation, when I know how to work them because I have an iPhone.

 

But really I was wanting her approval.

 

Her permission.

 

I resisted. And I was exhausted from the inner struggle.

 

I can consciously reason out that I don’t need approval, but deep inside I’m begging for approval.

 

I can make decisions on my own, but I gotta run it by my friends as well. Nothing wrong with that but you know what friends are like, most of them will support you and agree with you, because in the scheme of things, your decision really isn’t a big impact on them. But having a friendship means more than disagreeing with you.

 

There’s often a code of ethics in friendships anyway, the bond you have overrides disagreeing with one another.

 

So for a moment the anxiety is relieved that someone approves and agrees with me, a feeling of symbiosis.

 

And then the cycle starts again.

 

So running a small business I often have the inner conflict about wanting to please my clients but not wanting to scare them off by being too authentic. There’s a fine line between being nice and not sugar coating anything.

 

I can handle disapproval and criticism, I might feel derailed for a short time, but I’m soon back on track for approval and validation seeking.

 

Having kids will often mean that you forgo your self expression to preserve their self esteem amongst their friends. You don’t want to be the uncool Mum.

 

My approval seeking isn’t driven by my sense of self. It’s driven by powerlessness and fear. It’s easier to be silent and invisible than make waves and risk rejection.

 

My standard about what is acceptable behaviour is so high as well. For myself. Not for you though. You could all fart and burp around me and I wouldn’t object.

 

Our culture backs up this impression management. Where we compare our insides with other people’s outsides and come up feeling inadequate, so we trim our edges and adjust our behaviour so it’s pleasing and sociable.

 

So from now on my goal is to seek disapproval. You know I wont be robbing banks and spitting in your face. If anything my disapproval seeking may not even be a blip on your radar of unacceptable behaviour. But it will be for me. I need to expand my boundaries about what I approve of about myself.

 

What can you do that you fear others will disapprove of?