Why Do We Think We Need Approval?

Undoubtedly, the concept of approval is familiar to us all; at some point in your life, you sought approval, since approval is a fundamental aspect of human interaction, and plays a crucial role in shaping our psychological well-being. Approval serves as a validation of one’s actions, choices, and existence, contributing significantly to self-esteem and emotional well-being. It fosters a sense of belonging and social connection, reinforcing positive behaviors and relationships. Whether it be from family, friends, or society at large, approval acts as a powerful motivator, influencing our decisions and actions.

Approval can manifest in various ways, both overt and subtle. Verbal affirmations, praise, and recognition are direct forms of approval, boosting confidence and reinforcing positive behavior. Conversely, disapproval or criticism can have detrimental effects on mental health, leading to self-doubt and anxiety. In a digital age, social media platforms have become prominent arenas for seeking approval, with likes, comments, and shares serving as virtual validations. This digital approval-seeking behavior can contribute to feelings of inadequacy, as individuals compare their lives to curated online representations.

To cultivate a healthy relationship with approval, individuals can adopt coping strategies that promote intrinsic validation. Developing self-awareness and a strong sense of self-worth can mitigate the impact of external judgments. Engaging in activities that align with personal values and goals, rather than seeking validation from others, fosters a more resilient self-esteem. Mindfulness practices, such as meditation and self-reflection, can also help individuals detach from external approval-seeking behaviors. Building a support network of authentic relationships, where approval is based on mutual understanding and acceptance, further contributes to emotional well-being.

Understanding the significance, impact, and manifestations that the sense of approval can have in our lives, and adopting healthy coping strategies can empower individuals to navigate the complex landscape of approval, fostering a more resilient and authentic sense of self. However, the journey towards self-discovery and establishing a secure sense of self can be complex. If you find yourself struggling with persistent patterns of seeking approval or if these behaviors significantly impact your well-being and relationships, seeking the guidance of a mental health professional is a wise and empowering choice.