These #31habits are all suggestions for creating a happier healthier you. I want you to feel great inside and out. That is why today’s habit for change is to stop seeking the approval of others. We do it more often than we care to admit.
If you’ve ever been disappointed that no one liked your status update or latest tweet, or if you’ve checked your Instagram numerous times after posting a photo to see how many likes you got, then you probably have sought the approval of others! Many of the ways we get our approval fix are things we do without recognizing why we do them.
Remember the class clown? Whether they would admit it or not, most likely they were addicted to the approval of others.
Many parents suffer from approval addiction and do not even realize that they have this problem! A parent who fails to discipline their children most likely has an approval addiction. Always wanting to please the children to their own detriment often occurs because the parent desires the approval of their child.
Sadly, approval seeking behaviors are intended to get the approval and respect desired from others, however, what people generally respect is the very opposite: people who are true to themselves. While it is wonderful to be approved of by others, the best way to get approval is by having the self respect to approve your self!
Maybe you don’t have a problem with this habit like some of us do. Maybe you don’t even realize you are seeking approval from others.
Here’s some symptoms of seeking approval from others, just in case you are not sure. This list is meant to help us to identify when we are seeking approval, so that we can take corrective action in breaking this unhealthy behavior.
- You compare yourself to others (Habit #)
- You are hesitant to express your opinion
- You are afraid to say no for fear of disappointing others
- You want to please everyone all the time
- You feel upset or worried when someone disagrees with you
- You express agreement even when you don’t really agree
- You constantly apologize for your actions or words
- You prefer not to try something if you aren’t pretty sure you’ll succeed
- You find yourself fishing for compliments
- You do certain activities for the approval of others not because you enjoy them
- You spend a lot of money on status symbols or try to keep up with your friends and neighbors
- You’re always thinking of what to say next instead of listening to what the other person is saying.
- You are always trying to think of something clever or witty to say
- You check social media more than a couple of times per day to see who has liked your last post
- You can’t skip a day of checking social media (or other places where you seek approval)
- You are hurt when you don’t hit it off with everyone
- God’s approval isn’t enough for you (Have you ever refrained from doing the “right thing” because of what others might think about you?)
“For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ.” Galatians 1:10 The craving for approval isn’t a sin rather our need to be loved comes from God.
That need to be loved should be fulfilled first by God but because of our sinful nature we try to fill that love-need with the approval of others. It never works! Think of that need God gave us as a God shaped hole that only He can fill. If you try to fill it with other things, none of them will fit, only God can successfully fill that need.
Technically, we could see approval seeking as a form of idolatry. Seeking approval from others is a form of bondage “The fear of man bringeth a snare: but whoso putteth his trust in the LORD shall be safe” (Proverbs 29:25)
Now that we understand that seeking the approval of others is a habit that is harmful to us we can take steps to break the habit. It is surprising how free one can feel and how much free time and mental energy you will have once you stop seeking the approval of others.
First, we have to stop and think about what the worst case scenario is if we do not get the approval of someone in our life. Will we no longer exist? Nope! Realize that if you do not get approval from others, you will still be just as valuable as you ever were! Your self esteem will grow and you will feel much happier.
People will not respect you until you learn to respect yourself. If you don’t respect yourself then it’s time to work on that. It is a waste of your precious time on earth to be seeking the approval from others.
Don’t be trapped by what others think of you, seek God’s approval and crave Christ. This will help you to reduce your need to gain the approval of those around you. In the end, will you want the world’s applause or will you prefer God’s approval? I pray that I can conquer the habit of seeking the approval of others!
May we intentionally seek God, only His will and His pleasure above all others, and may He continually minister His truths to us, remembering that God will eternally honor those who honored him.