One thing that is often said in the self-development world is that someone shouldn’t seek approval from others. This is typically seen as something that will hold them back and prevent them from living a fulfilling existence.
A quote by Eckhart Tolle, a spiritual teacher and author, goes deeper into this and explains why it is not a good idea. He says, "Stop looking outside for scraps of pleasure or fulfilment, for validation, security, or love - you have a treasure within that is infinitely greater than anything the world can offer."
In addition to approval, then, there are all of the other things that someone can look for in others. Therefore, to say that someone would only look for approval wouldn’t be completely accurate.
This is similar to how one person could enter a shop and only want one thing, while another could enter a shop and want a number of things. Not everyone wants the same amount of things when they go shopping and, likewise, not everyone seeks the same things from others.
After reading this quote, if someone wants a lot from others, they could believe that they need to stop seeking whatever it is that they have been seeking and to find it within themselves. There is also the chance that they will end up feeling ashamed of being this way.
If so, not only will they have been doing the ‘wrong’ thing, they will also experience a lot more emotional pain. And, thanks to how they are likely to already feel, the last thing they will want is to be weighed down even further.
What they could do, to gain a greater idea about what it is that they seek from others, is to make a list of what it is that they generally seek. If they were to do this, they could find that they look towards others to provide them with the love, self-worth, emotional stability, safety and security that they themselves don’t embody.
Now, if they were to take a step back and to reflect on how long they have been this way, they may find that they have more or less always been this way. Moreover, a big part of them could believe that this is just what they are like.
Thus, even if part of them believes that they need to stop seeking these things from others, a bigger part of them could believe that this is the only way for them to attain these things. Without the supply that other people give them, their life would be even more unbearable than it already is.
What this show is that one can’t simply stop seeking these things from others and access them from within themselves; it is just not that simple. If it was that simple, there would be no reason for one to behave as they are.
A Barren Existence
Without the sustenance that other people give them, one could be like a desert. On the one side, they might not look that much different to anyone else, but on the inside, they will feel empty and be emotionally malnourished.
When they don’t experience life in this way, they could be overwhelmed with painful feelings. But due to how uncomfortable their inner world is, it is to be expected that they would crave so much from others.
It is true that whatever they seek form others is within themselves; however, due to what they have experienced on this earth, they are currently unable to access these things. The reason for this is that their early years were probably extremely traumatic.
A time in their life that should have built them up and prepared them for the ‘real world’ would have greatly undermined them. Their physical body would have grown, but their emotional self wouldn’t have received what it need in order to develop properly.
A Brutal Time
This may have been a time when they were abused and/or neglected on a weekly, if not daily, basis. Their energy wouldn’t have been directed towards their own growth and the expression of their true-self, it would have been used to keep them alive.
With this in mind, there is no need for them to blame themselves for looking towards others for so much. This is a natural consequence of not having their developmental needs met on a regular basis during their early years.
As a result of what they have been through, they could have the tendency to be very hard on themselves. They could have a strong inner citric and this part of them could lay into them from morning until night.
It will be important for them to keep in mind that they had a very difficult childhood and that there was nothing that they could have done about what took place. What they went through wasn’t their fault and they didn’t deserve to be treated so badly.
At this point in time, they may often think that there is nothing that they can do and that their life will always be this way. Nonetheless, with the right support, they can gradually develop a strong sense of self and to source from within themselves, what they have sought for so long from others.
This support can be provided by the assistance of a therapist or healer.
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Oliver JR Cooper
Oliver JR Cooper
Author of 26 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.