Are you addicted to the approval of others? If so, you are not alone. It is a common problem many people struggle with today.
Receiving validation from other people feels rather good, so good that some people develop an addiction to receiving that outside approval instead of being motivated intrinsically. If you can’t motivate yourself without someone else’s consent, you may secretly suffer from an approval addiction.
Signs of Approval Addiction
If you suffer from approval addiction, you may lack a true sense of self, and therefore you rely heavily on the opinions of others. You may fear rejection and disapproval so much that you find it easier to “just go with the flow.” The “go-with-the-flow” trait is also a central feature in the personality of most easygoing people. However, being easygoing is one thing; being addicted to the approval of others is more sinister and will cause you many problems over time. If you have an approval addiction, you are motivated by people liking and approving of you. You open yourself up to being manipulated by those around you that may or may not have your best interest at heart.
If you think you or someone you love might have an approval addiction problem, here are some signs to be aware of.
Nine signs that you might have an approval addiction:
- You’re Obsessed with Getting People to Show Interest in You
You like being on social media, dating sites, or in any situation where you can attract people and get their attention by having them express interest in you. It might even be hard for you to settle down with a partner because you enjoy the dating world more than the partnered-up world.
- You Need Constant Reassurance
In a relationship, you constantly ask whether your partner is “mad” or “upset” with you. It may happen with partners and friends, and even family members. If you often ask for reassurance about how someone feels about you, this may be due to a validation or approval addition.
- You Like to Talk About Your Awesomeness
If you lack confidence, sometimes people who aren’t confident will talk about all the impressive things they’ve done to appear more worthy than they think they are in the hopes that the people hearing it will agree and validate their thoughts about their awesomeness even though they don’t generally believe it themselves.
- You’re Money Focused
If you think more about money than the value you provide the world, you may have a problem with approval-seeking that is boarding on an addiction. Of course, money is necessary, but it’s not the only thing noteworthy about you or anyone else.
- You Make Friends Based on a Person’s Wealth or Reputation
When you look at your closest friend group, are they true friends, or did you pick them based on what you think they can offer you? You should choose based on shared values more than shared finances.
- You Prefer Being in Control of Each Social Situation
When it comes to networking and making friends or building relationships, if you need to control the event before you feel comfortable, you may have an issue with approval addiction. Letting other people oversee social situations and relationship building may seem scary because your self-esteem is low. However, letting people lead is a clear sign that you are confident about your thoughts and ideas.
- You Easily Feed into Your Victimhood
If something starts going wrong, do you have difficulty seeing answers within yourself? Do you place blame on others? Do you feel good and safe being a victim instead of admitting where you have control and where you can make the change?
- Rejection Makes You Feel Out of Control
Rejection hurts. However, if you have an approval addition, you might freak out if someone leaves you. Why? In your mind, you are doing all the things they desire. If you often find that you’re doing something you don’t want to do only to gain acceptance of a person or group, you may be a people pleaser or, worst, have an approval addiction. To overcome this, you need to figure out who you are and your values and design a path to reach your goals based on your values. Period!
- You Enjoy Name Dropping
If you drop names of people you’ve worked with or met that others find important, this is a sign of insecurity. You never need to make yourself look better by the company you keep because you are unique, just as you are without anyone else.
- You Become A Chameleon
Do your beliefs change depending on the company that you’re keeping?
If you’re not maintaining the same ideas and opinions across all friend and professional groups, you are part of; you may be trying to please people too much.
When you have a poor sense of self and hunger for the approval of others, it is easy to become a chameleon. A chameleon is a person who is quick to alter their beliefs and behavior to be accepted by others. You may take on the attributes of those who you want to welcome you. You even may start talking like them. This behavior is known as code-switching. You may begin to imitate their lifestyle or clothing. You may lose your sense of morality or core values. This type of behavior is common among teenagers. This type of behavior could also be referred to as being in “the sunken place.” Controlling and manipulative people love to see you enter “the sunken place” because you become easier to dominate.
Like anything else on a spectrum, approval addiction shows up in stronger people and less so in others. I don’t believe that anyone can get away with not caring at all what anyone thinks about them. However, there is a healthy balance. Caring too much about what people think of you and altering your behavior to be more accepted could lead to severe problems. This issue is becoming increasingly important because of the influx of media messages designed to make you second guess everything from your appearance to your mental state for personal monetary gain.
This article aims to shed light on a growing epidemic of approval addiction and people losing a solid sense of self. I hope it serves as a reminder that you are unique, and if you are patient, you will find the people who love who you are and not because you “fit in” with their group. They will see the unique gifts and talents that you bring to the table.
They will embrace you without trying to change you. They will celebrate you and not simply tolerate you.
If no one has told you today, I love you for the unique person that you are. So keep your chin up and go on a journey of self-discovery and find out who you are and the beautiful contribution that only you can make to the world.
Be well + prosper,
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