Some people are constantly seeking approval and validation from other people. This is usually a sign of low self esteem, they need somebody else to judge whether they did a good job or to define what is right and wrong. This is because they simply don’t have the confidence or the awareness to determine that for themselves and they have little confidence in their own decisions.
Of course sometimes it’s good to get the views, opinions and to seek approval from different people. We can learn from others with more experience, this is perfectly natural.
A cycle or pattern normally happens, we learn from others and then we evolve and become better ourselves and in turn our confidence naturally increases and we begin to trust our own opinions and decisions. However sometimes things don’t run so smoothly, for whatever reason some people don’t develop any real confidence in themselves and this can be for a number of different reasons.
Reasons for this low confidence or self image
- Being around negative people that are always putting us down.
- Bad childhood experiences that we never fully recovered from, bullying for example.
- Always failing to achieve a goal.
- Our appearance, not looking our best, not in the best physical condition.
- Just a general low self image, opinion of oneself with no obvious reason why.
- An overall negative attitude and way of thinking, always thinking and seeing the worst in situations and people.
- Not living up to popular societal standards and letting those standards define you.
- Genetic temperamental traits. Being high in trait neuroticism, one of the big five personality traits.
By seeking approval we are giving others control over who we are, our own personal self esteem is very important when getting the most out of life. This control shouldn’t be given to others, we have to believe in ourselves first and seek approval from the most important person, and that person is you!
A very important step is becoming self aware of your approval seeking, if we have no awareness of a problem there is no way we can begin to correct it. Sometimes awareness of a problem is all that is needed to fix it.
How do you know if you are seeking approval?
- Asking for too many opinions before making a decision.
- Spending long periods of time on deciding what to wear to impress others.
- Do you feel like you have to impress people all the time, always thinking about what to do and say.
- Are you constantly worrying about other people’s opinions of you.
- Do you do things just to impress people, like starting new activities and hobbies.
- Do you buy things to impress other people, for example expensive cloths, or the latest smart phone, even if you don’t need it.
- Are you always trying to please people.
So many people seek approval from others, it’s potentially harmful to us and definitely a big waste of time and energy. Once we stop trying to please people we can focus on what is really important, and that is ourselves. We can focus on our goals and generally being more productive in life, and become a healthier more independent and stronger person.
The stronger you’re as an individual, you will be better placed to help others when the times comes.