How to Treat Approval Addiction
Many people have tied their self-worth to the approval of others. Then, when they seek that approval and don’t get it, they feel bad about themselves. Some people get negative feedback, internalize it, and hold onto those painful feelings. Being too attached to getting approval from others gives those people control over your self-worth. The sooner you identify that you’re addicted to others’ approval and treat the addition, the quicker you can reverse any damage it has caused.
There Is No Quick Fix
Unlike many addictions, there is no place you can go that has teams of doctors waiting to walk you through the steps to recovery. Certain kinds of therapies can help, but much of the work has to come from you. It won’t be easy but with time you will begin to see changes that will increase your self-esteem and make you feel worthwhile.
First, you need to begin letting go of negative feelings and thoughts that make you feel bad when others don’t approve of something you have said, done, or decided. You created those negative feelings and thoughts. And just as you chose to own those feelings and thoughts, you choose to deflect them.
Problems Can Begin During Childhood
We are all raised to seek our parents’ or guardians’ approval. When we’re good, we get a toy or a treat. When we’re bad, we are sent to timeout or are punished. We learn to tie that approval to our sense of self-esteem and self-worth. As we travel through life, some people start to believe the world should be a certain way. When it isn’t, they believe that it’s their fault. The more this happens, the more the negative thoughts and feelings build up inside, and the more important it becomes to get the approval of others to avoid feelings of shame and worthlessness.
By preventing negative experiences from creating those feelings of shame, you slowly start to build your battered self-esteem and begin to feel worthwhile. Over time, as you face increasingly more negative situations, you will learn to accept life on its terms, good or bad. Everything is not always going to go your way, and when it doesn’t, realizing that it is not your fault can give you a sense of immense relief.
How Approval Addition Has Robbed You
When you dwell on what others will think, you tend to stop creating, doing, and being. Also, people who rely on others’ opinions tend to let people cross boundaries and manipulate them into doing things they don’t want to do – all for a smile, a nod, an “atta-girl”, or a pat on the back. Sometimes, people mistake approval for love. As a result, you may have ended relationships or friendships with people who were actually good mates or friends just because they disagreed with you. Worst of all, you have probably let approval addiction rob you of happiness.
It can be overcome. But you have to start addressing the problem before that can happen.