Are you an approval seeker? Let’s be honest and straightforward, shall we? Yes. You and billions of other people on the planet are seeking approval.
Before you start an “inner clench” let me reassure you. It’s ok! Even though it’s the root cause of lots of everyday suffering, it is perfectly “normal.”
It’s how we’re socialized. From the time we’re barely conscious as physical beings, we are indoctrinated in wanting approval.
It’s the system of punishment and reward that is used to socialize us. When we’re “good” we receive attention and praise. When we’re “bad” we are given the opposite of approval, disapproval.
If Everyone Seeks Approval, Why Is It Such A Problem?
If we are dependent upon external sources of approval in order to feel secure, then we are going to feel insecure when they are not there to provide it.
Even famous people who receive far more than their share of approval never get enough!
How Do We Get Free From Needing Approval? Is It Even Possible?
Yes. It’s possible. Absolutely. It’s not easy, but it’s entirely possible if you really want to be free.
Sidenote: I’m not talking about when people say “I don’t give a $%#@ about what people think about me!” This is a hostile state of consciousness based in fear. I’m talking about true freedom.
It’s as simple as that. You have to need to want to be free of approval more than you want the approval.
You have to need to want to be free of approval more than you want the approval.
When you observe it for what it is, you can see that it’s not serving you. It makes you unhappy when people don’t behave in ways that you want them to.
It makes you feel jealous if you see a colleague getting “ahead.”
You feel hurt when certain people (family, anyone?) don’t approve of you or acknowledge your accomplishments.
It makes you unable to love others. Why? Because you believe they are the source of love, you are always trying to take love instead of give it.
But that’s not really love, is it? And it again comes back to what people call self Love. This is not narcissistic. This is a paradox because ultimately All Is One — so when you love others, you are loving yourself.
This does not mean you cannot make a choice to have certain people no longer be a part of your life. Or, it doesn’t mean that you cannot stand up against any inappropriate behaviour.
But when you can shift into Loving, everything seems small. Nothing can harm you. What seemed like a big issue during “normal” consciousness no longer has any power over you.
More Techniques To Drop Wanting Approval
Start by paying attention and noticing whenever it arises. It can be something really obvious like your partner not giving you attention when you want it, or disagreeing with you. It can also be more subtle like when you’re in public and you are trying to hide in the shadows.
So, whenever you notice it, you can simply ask yourself if you could let it go.
Often, just the act of seeing it will be enough to drop it.
One Very Important Caveat To Dealing With Approval Seeking
As much as the above techniques provide relief from this insidious habit, it will continue to arise again and again if you don’t also discover for yourself the truth of who/what you are.
As long as you’re strongly identified with your body and story as being separate from The All, you will always seek approval. It will continue to arise. Just like weeds in a garden.
In truth, there is no-one there who is seeking approval. Your true nature is beyond approval and all seeking.
You are the formless field of presence or awareness within which your body and story appear.
As you practice becoming identified with That, your need for approval will begin to fade even more. This is because you’ll have a deeper realization that there is no-one there to need approval. You’re starting to get at the root.
One of the best techniques I’ve discovered, is The Sedona Method by Hale Dwoskin. I’ve been using it since 2005 with great success. No, I'm not affiliated with them in any way. This is a straightforward word of mouth recommendation.
It’s essentially a method of self-inquiry for contemporary people. It’s all about releasing limitation and discovering the truth of your being for yourself.
However, the tool can only take you so far. The real key is wanting to be free.
There are many other tools, of course. And I’ll be listing some of the other resources I align with as I continue developing my website.