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General Articles

Keeping up appearances - Craving approval...

Craving approval from others:


There is nothing wrong in wanting approval from others; in fact we are programmed to seek it from birth. Babies smile so we smile back and little girls charm their daddies for validation of their ability to charm. Everyone likes to be liked but it’s when we start to ‘need’ it and become obsessive about it and are unable to self-validate that it becomes dangerous. When you find your self comparing your Facebook photos to an ‘idealised’ version of yourself and untagging anything that doesn’t match this, coupled with spending hours comparing yourself to other people’s photos, then you know things have got out of hand. Valuable and worthwhile validation is more related to what you ‘do’ and not what you look like or who you think you are or ought to be. If you are getting a stream of people congratulating you on your work or thanking you for your deeds then you are probably not worrying about any other form of superficial validation.

So why do some people crave approval? The trigger for this behaviour is rooted in fear of rejection. You hand over your self-worth to others and let them decide whether you are worth rating. So why would you do this? The answer is nearly always found in deep-rooted insecurity an issue, which you may not be fully aware of, have buried and probably need to address with a coach who can help you to accept yourself for who you truly are and show you how to satisfy your own emotional needs. This is a far healthier option than taking on a fake persona and relying on other people to satisfy your emotional needs or not as the case may be.

Being fake on the Riviera is more dangerous than most places as you will never be able to ‘outclass’ the celebs and VIPs. You will just be competing against others who are doing the same as you are and you will never build genuine and lasting friendships.

If you truly think there is something that needs putting right then seek out the right professional to help you. Chances are you’ll find that much of your self-depreciation is based on figments of your own imagination and that you are actually a fabulous person with a whole load to offer others and if not then you will have found someone who can help you put right whatever is wrong.

So beyond the first years of life when children are just trying to figure out who they are, approval seeking is dysfunctional and ego based. It is no longer a need but a want and the more you rely on it for emotional survival, the more you are creating unattainable, unrealistic goals that will be forever out of your reach. Over time it becomes an addiction and the route causes (possible past physical, emotional or verbal abuse) are buried and never dealt with. All this creates a bucket full of negative feelings, which often manifest themselves in such negative emotions as guilt, shame and above all anger. In fact in the end, you self sabotage, because few people will give approval to people generating negative energy.

One of my clients recently told me that she wanted to totally change her entourage, as she was ‘sick and tired’ of listening to people spend their whole conversation speaking badly of others and rejoicing in other people’s misery. Sometimes a very angry person can only self validate by criticising others and thereby attempting to make themself look momentarily better. Of course the opposite is achieved!

So start by accepting yourself for the person you are - warts and all! What is so wrong with you? Dress the way you want to dress not the way you think others will expect you to dress. Go to events and mix with people you really want to be with not the ones that you want to be ‘seen’ with and will have the most photos splashed over the Internet. Who the hell cares if you attended another vernissage?

No one can create the ‘intrinsic’ value that you crave for yourself, that feeling that comes from a good place inside of you. The only person who can do it is you. So make yourself proud of you by doing things that you can be proud of and that bring you true joy. Try some things out that are different and find out what you really want. Join us at one of our New Women Networking evenings and meet some ladies who can teach you a thing or two about self-approval. Don’t follow the glitterazzi – they don’t know what they want either. Stop believing bad things about yourself. If you are finding this a challenge once again take a coach who can help you rationalise your beliefs and help you replace the dysfunctional ones with positive functional ones. It’s a good feeling when we get approval from others but it’s so much better when we know who we are, can accept that, like that and put the stamp of approval on ourselves !

**Judy can be contacted by email on or via her website

Thursday, 1 October 2015    Section: General Articles
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