I Want Approval

Last week I was in a conversation where we discussed the idea of wanting approval.  One person stated that wanting approval was detrimental and always leads to unhappiness.  Today we hear about why wanting approval hurts us.


What it means

This is another one of those counterintuitive axioms that we run into on our spiritual path.  Sure, we all want to be liked and have the approval of others.  The subtlety of this idea is that when we actively look for that approval we are causing ourselves great damage.


When we want our approval from external sources we are actually saying that we do not approve of ourselves.  We are saying that we do not like ourselves.  We are saying that if someone else likes us first then we can also like ourselves.  We are saying that if no one likes us there is no reason for us to like ourselves.


I hope everyone can see how damaging this type of thinking is.  It clearly does not lead to self confidence.  Unfortunately, wanting approval and validation from others seems to be deeply embedded into our culture.  I know it was hard for me to retrain myself to not want approval from others.  I share this with you with the hope that it may help you if you are struggling with the same issue.


Approval can only come from you

In the end, we are the only one that is important.  We are the only one that can give ourselves approval.  This means that we have to learn to like ourselves.  We have to learn to trust ourselves.  As we learn to do these things we learn that the approval will come all by itself.


When we are in a situation that others are always forcing their disapproval on us – we must learn to not listen to that disapproval.  We must have a little voice inside of ourselves that tells us – “They are not disapproving me, they are disapproving themselves.” 


And this is true.  When someone shows their disapproval of us it is really because they are disapproving of something inside of themselves.  They probably do not understand it, but they are just attempting to blame us for their unhappiness.  We must train ourselves not to react or agree with their disapproval.


Taking care of business

Many people find that they need to remove the people from their lives that are constantly showing disapproval.  This can be difficult with close friends and family members.  Yet, some people realize that they cannot continue their spiritual growth in their current situation.


They put enough distance between themselves and those who disapprove of them so that they can start to think clearly.  Once they can think clearly they go back and see if the relationship can be restored.


As we grow we realize that the only people that we really want in our lives are those that will accept us unconditionally.  We learn to deal with those who put conditions (disapproval) on their acceptance of us.


Gradually we find that we are only close to those who accept us without conditions.  Those are the ones that we want to spend time with.  They are also the ones that will help us to learn to approve of ourselves.


Until tomorrow –


Es kava turen hai

We work towards an identical goal.




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