To gain the approval from others is the ultimate achievement for some people. It’s as if this is the primary purpose that they have on this earth. And should they actually achieve this; their life will then be complete.
This will mean that this person’s focus is more or less external. I say person and not individual, because in order to be an individual; one would have to be individual.
And if one is looking for approval from others, it means that this person hasn’t separated from others and is therefore not an individual.
The place where one will look for approval is from other people; as it can’t come from anywhere else. It is unlikely that one will look to animals, or to tress and other so called inanimate objects, for approval.
However, if ones is religious, it could be from a certain deity or god or some other kind of presence. But with that aside, it is unusually a human being.
Areas of life
Here one may look to their social group or friends for approval, from their family and intimate relationships. And it could also extend to people in society; with certain authority figures or people of status being looked towards for approval.
This could range from ‘celebrities’ to musicians and anyone else who has been elevated, interestingly enough, through the public’s approval.
All Of Nothing
To some people who compulsively desire the approval of other people; it will be ether complete approval or complete disapproval. There will be no middle ground, there will only be one choice and one option available.
This will mean that one’s mental and emotional wellbeing will be constantly under threat. How other people react to what one is presenting will define their state of mind. I say presenting, as one could be looking for approval in a myriad of ways.
Ranging from the type of clothes that one has, their career choice, style of hair, how one should be behaving and who one should be in a relationship with. Are but a few examples and are many more.
Approval Or Disapproval.
Seeing the choices as being either; approval or disapproval is the result of the dual nature of the ego mind. This is a normal process of the mind and how it perceives reality.
To see life in this way is not only dysfunctional; it will also lead to a lot of unnecessary pain and suffering. Sometimes people will approve of what one does and sometimes they won’t.
If one is seeking to gain the approval from others, it will mean that pleasing others is more important than pleasing themselves. However, it would be inaccurate to say that one does not gain anything from this type of behaviour.
Perhaps this person is so out of touch with what they truly want and need; that pleasing other people is the only thing they know. And this will mean that their ego mind has associated getting the approval from others, as the only way to survive.
This is not to say that the person who is motivated to please other people is consciously thinking about this. It could be a process that is so normal and natural that it goes on without any conscious awareness.
Adults And Children
As an adult, it is clear to see, that one does not need to have complete approval of others in order to survive. What does need a hundred percent approval to survive - is a child.
This is completely normal, as the child is powerless and dependent on its caregivers for its own survival. Looking at this logically, one can see that an adult is not a child and so this means that what happened all those years ago is, in theory, irrelevant now.
Letting go of seeing the world through the eyes of a child is not something that always happens by itself. What can impede this process is a lack of emotional development, being brought up by undeveloped caregivers and trauma.
And due to having a past that wasn’t conducive to growth or was traumatic, it will mean that there will be memories and emotions that have remained trapped and frozen. These will cause one to react and not respond and to behave without awareness. That is, until they are acknowledged, processed and healed.
Another description is known as regression. This is where the ego mind goes to an earlier point in time that has been associated as safe to the mind. This does not mean functional or empowering; it simple means familiar and familiar is safe to the ego mind.
The Childs View
To the child, there is only complete approval or complete disapproval. Because at that age it does not have the awareness to see that there is any other way. And neither is the child developed enough to approve of its self.
So even though this is a scenario that could have happened decades ago for the adult, it will not matter. As through the act of regression, one will see the world through the eyes of the child. And as this child needs complete approval to survive, it will mean that this is an extremely strong need or instinct.
This child is also completely connected or enmeshed to its caregivers. Individuality does not exist at this time.
In the present day one may wonder why this need for approval is so strong and yet based on the process of regression; it starts to become clearer. It may mean that ones boundaries are not very well developed and therefore cannot see that they are separate from others. And this can then lead to the childlike perspective that gaining complete approval is essential for ones survival.
Gaining approval from others is not always possible, part of being human means that we don’t all value or appreciate the same things. People’s wants needs and desires are often different.
People can often be unstable and capricious. There will be times that when what one does, will gain the approval from a certain amount of people and there is likely to be times when few people will approve. However, if one can approve of themselves, it will no longer be a case of all of nothing.
If one is constantly looking outside for approval and has no self approval; it will only lead to a life of inner instability and pain.
In the short time it may be more pleasurable to please others and more painful to please oneself. But the long terms is a very different scenario. For if it was easy, this would be the common route.
One may require assistance of a therapist, a healer of some kind of coach; to allow one to develop self approval.
The ego mind may resist and this is the result of seeing it as either approval or disapproval. And either pleasing others or displeasing others. Ultimately it is neither of these two. It is about following one’s own truth and at times this will please others and at times it won’t.
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Oliver J R Cooper
Oliver JR Cooper
Author of 25 books, Transformational Writer, Teacher & Consultant.
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That which is contained within these articles is based on my own empirical understanding and is true for me at the time they were written. However, as I continue to grow, what I perceive as the truth will inevitably change and as a result of this - parts of these articles may not reflect my current outlook.