Do you seek approval? From Who? Why do you need it from them?

Canada
September 11, 2007 11:18pm CST
I don't know about friends and fellow Mylotters but I think most of us seek approval from our parents when we are young...and sometimes that pattern goes on throughout life. This can be especially so when parents are not very forthcoming with honest praise for a job well done or give the kids a feeling that no matter what they do...they never quite measure up. In our work we suggest to clients that we all 'train people how to treat us.' So if we do not have a really solid sense of self there can be a tendency to seek approval from others whom we admire or want to emulate. The challenge with this is it can lead to disappointment..because in my view no one can ever give enough approval if we do not approve of ourselves first. We all need feedback and positive reinforcement about who we are, what we do and be willing to have our moments in the sun when we've earned it. That is not what I am talking about here...I am asking about a need for approval because there is a a lack of belief about an intrinsic self-worth. I struggled with this a lot when I was younger, but thankfully not any more. I still value the other people's opinions, critiques and feedback...but not in a way where I 'need ' it to feel good about who I am and what I do. So I've been in both places. My view now is that our self-worth must be stronger than the rejection of our ideas and beliefs by others. I had to learn this or I would never be able to make it as a writer...because sometimes our ideas are rejected by others...it comes with the territory. Any contributions you'd care to make are always welcome. These topics would be nothing without your thoughtful responses. That is why I do my best to respond back...the chats are too interesting to let them go with one quick reply. I will be in Winnipeg Wednesday, but will be back to respond to whatever you choose to add on Thursday. Thought I'd leave a couple of ideas for your 'thinkers' to munch on until I get back! LOL Best regards and thanks in advance...Raia
4 people like this
7 responses
@rosie_123 (6118)
12 Sep 07
Well, this may make me sound really pompous and arrogant - but - no - I don't seek approval from anyone. As long as I am content within myself that I am taking the right path, I don't give a **** what anyone else thinks! I am probably very much a typical "only child" - I was bought up in a very secure and loving environment, and I never felt the need to actively seek approval from my parents because I knew I had it anyway whatever I decided to do! They bought me up to think for myself and be my own person, and as long as I was sure in my own mind, then they were happy. Of course I want to be sucessful in my career, but I will not "toady" or "curry favour" with the Bosses - I do my job to the best of my ability, and if that isn't good enough for them, I won't lose sleep over it, because I feel the failure is with them not with me! Have fun in Winnipeg!
• Canada
13 Sep 07
Hi Rosie...thanks for that. We had a good trip and had dinner with one of my best gal pals. We had neighbors over this afternoon so I am a little behind in my responses. No on to yours. I love to hear people state a strong, well adjusted sense of themselves..and that sure comes across here. I do not think you sound pompous or arrogant at all...just confident and sure of yourself! I have used this quotation before but it fits here as well. Dizzy Dean the old time baseball player said...it isn't bragging when you do it! Well you don't appear to be bragging...because do it! If more people lived with that kind of centered-ness they could not be led astray or be desperately seeking outside approval. So good for you..they say the best way to teach is by example...you are setting a great example from the sound of it! Good for you! Cheers, Raia
2 people like this
• United States
14 Sep 07
That's partly why I like you, Rosie. Go, girl!
2 people like this
@Aussies2007 (5339)
• Australia
12 Sep 07
The type of approval you are reffering to is unhealthy and shows a lack of confidence in one-self. However... our self confidence is built-in during our childhood and teenage years by our parents and our teachers. And the way this is done... is by our parents and our teachers praising our actions and achievements. It is a form of approval given to us freely without asking for it. But I know that there are some people out there who will not praise you and reward you. I don't know why those people are like that... but I don't like them and I try to stay away from them. I have always been self confident... even as a child... because I use my brain before jumping into anything and I rarely make mistakes. Seeking approval as a child... is a form of seeking permission most of the time. Even as a child I did not do that too often. I went ahead and did it... and then asked for approval... which I usually got. When I do a job... I sort of seek approval at the end of the job. That is my reward. When people come home and tell me that my job looks fantastic... it makes me feel as good as the check they give me. I could not live with myself if people told me that my work stinks. So... if you are good at everything you do... which is education... and you can stand on your own two feet... you are automatically self confident. You will still seek approval... everybody does... but you seek it as a reward to build your confidence to greater heights. Seeking approval as a permission when you are a child is acceptable... but it is not acceptable as an adult. It shows a lack of confidence. A lack of decision making. That makes you a slave. And it cannot make you happy. The secret is to study and learn in order to be good at whatever you want to do. And there is more to life that just learning a job. You also need to learn about all the little things which you will need to do around the house. Otherwise you are going to work in order to pay tradesmen to do all those little jobs for you. You also need to learn to deal with people and stand up for yourself. Seek approval for what you did... not for what you want to do.
• Canada
13 Sep 07
What a well presented, articulate perspective...again! Thanks Aussie...I think your clarity on healthy/unhealthy examples of approval are excellent. I agree with you completely that we all need to learn how to live from our own center and...on our own terms. The phrase 'stand in the resonance of your own power' is vary clearly stated in your addition to the topic. The way you present your approach to life comes through in all your discussions and responses...so you certainly appear to walk your talk on this one!
2 people like this
@heymal (2)
• China
12 Sep 07
in home ,we can rely on our parents ,but ,in the society we only rely on our friends.In my whole life,i hope i can find one realy friend
2 people like this
• Canada
13 Sep 07
Hi heymal...and welcome to Mylot. I am sure you will make many good friends here on Mylot. Yes, in the beginning we all need to rely on our parents...but I think if you Aussie's post his approach suggests we also need to develop self-reliance so we can develop a healthy sense of self that is not dependent on how others see us. Enjoy your Mylotting experience..it is a great place to be!
@alamode (3073)
• United States
12 Sep 07
The only times that I have felt truly lacking in self-worth were the times after I'd been injured. These things are always accidental, but I feel that I wasn't careful enough, or that I put myself in jeopardy subconsciously. The good thing that comes from this is that I will work with everything I have to get better... the bad thing is, there are some things that can't be fixed. Coming to grips with my loss is the biggest hurdle. After a year or so, my rational mind takes over again, self-worth returns, and life becomes what it will be. What helps me survive this is that I know it will pass.
• Canada
13 Sep 07
You have shared some of your struggles...and when our worlds are rocked there is a tendency to doubt ourselves in the interim. Your approach seems to have worked...and it is not so much that we get knocked down...but how often we pick ourselves up. You appear to have a great capacity to do that and learn from your experiences. That attitude creates great inner fortitude and that comes through in your parting comments..."life becomes what it will be...and what helps me survive is I know it will pass. So very true everything has a beginning, middle and end within the various cycles of our lives. The wheel does keep turning. Thanks again for your addition...much appreciated. Warmest regards, Raia
1 person likes this
• United States
13 Sep 07
I am at the stage in my life where I do not seek approval from anyone. I have earned my own feeling of self worth and do not need it from my fellow man. I do enjoy the odd "pats on the back" from others but that is just superficial not life altering in any way. However I do like to show approval/disapproval to others if I think they deserve it.
1 person likes this
• Canada
13 Sep 07
It is a good place to be isn't it. It took me awhile...but now that I am comfortable under my own skin and am willing to be responsible for the choices I make how others view things does not affect my sense of self any more. However, I think the accolades and positive feedback that we offer each can give us reason to pause..and say...how nice of you...thank you. My Mom raised me with a belief in acknowledging the things that make life sweeter. So offering positive feedback to others comes fairly easy to me. However I do not value superficial compliments or insincerity in an attempt to win brownie points. They are a turn-off. Disapproval...hmmm..if it is not a personal attack and offered as a heads up that I need to hear...I am fine with whatever opinions others want to express as long as the approach is respectful. Thanks for you input again...good to hear from you. Raia
• United States
12 Sep 07
I agree, we all need a pat on the back once in a while or we don't feel appreciated. When I was a kid my mother was always free with praise and so were my grandparents. My dad was a little tougher. I had to do something really special for my dad to say something. I think that was a good thing for me because it pushed me to be to my best at everything I tried. In my late 20's - early 30's I was really bad about fishing for compliments, I think mostly because I had low self-esteem. I was so overweight and did not feel good about myself at all so I took whatever I could get. Now that I've gotten older I find I don't need much approval for anything. An occasional nod or "good job" is enough. As long as I feel good about what I'm doing then I'm happy. I also find that I take criticism much better too. If I make do something and I ask for my hubby's opinion on it, he'll give me an honest answer and tell me why he likes it or doesn't like it. I find I want the honest answer, even if it's negative, not just praise. The funny thing now is, being on stage with my band is one of my least impressive talents and that's the one I get the most praise for! I find it kind of ironic sometimes. I understand that it's because it's the most public talent I display. But it's the one that I have a hardest time taking compliments for. It took a lot of restraint to learn not to roll my eyes and just say thank you. It gives me a chuckle though. Don't get me wrong, I love singing with the band, it's a lot of fun for me and I'm proud to be up there but I'm no great singer. The positive reinforcement is welcome though. We all need our ego stroked once in a while. :D
1 person likes this
• Canada
13 Sep 07
You have covered a lot of stages of growth in your post...so many changes as you have progressed along your pathways of discovery! Thanks for sharing them for the rest of us to read. It is great to have parents that give kids a balanced view and praise when it is legitimate. Too much can give kids a false sense of self that can be annoying and arrogant to others when they grow up. Your approach with your hubby is similar to mine. Like you I trust his input and know that whatever he says is because he wants me to be the best I can be. So I agree even when it might not always be what I want to hear..I trust him and when he says something I stop and pay attention and look at things a little closer. When I wrote my 500 page manuscript he stayed up every night until three in the morning to hear my first, second, third, forth drafts...and added much value insight to my work. His critiques are usually right on...so we are very fortunate to have partners who love and respect us enough to be truthful. Your musical abilities and the praise your receive must have validity...even though it sounds as though you pooh-pooh it a little. My view on this is...if you receive similar feedback from unrelated sources...there has to be something to it! I am glad you are receiving positive reinformement..you give a lot back to others. Even though I do not 'need' approval for my work..I truly appreciate it whenever people care enough to volunteer their kudos...including you!
@remo999 (49)
• Canada
28 Sep 07
I have trouble with the term 'seeking' approval. I am pretty much my own person...but I do want my wife's approval, friends, approval, clients approval...although I do not seek it or need it to have what you call an intrinsic worth.