How To Stop Seeking Approval From Others

We all like getting validation from other people. If we didn’t, social media would cease to exist. But there’s definitely an unhealthy level of approval seeking and life coach Lisa Philyaw says this usually manifests because we lack confidence in ourselves. “When we don't trust ourselves, then we look to others [and] trust their opinion more than our own.”

So essentially, if you want to live your best life and not give a single ‘F’ about what anyone else has to say about you… you’re going to need to learn to trust yourself. Here’s how to do that:

  • Replace That Mean Voice In Your Head. When you’re alone in the mirror, what does your inner monologue sound like? Are you bullying yourself? According to counselor Cheri Timko, “if the way that you talk to yourself is critical, judgmental, or harsh, it will undermine your confidence.” So when those mean thoughts creep in, Timko says to counter them with “reminders that you are capable and valuable.”
  • Remember To Practice. Often we find ourselves seeking the approval of others when we’re learning something new. There’s nothing wrong with asking for help but Timko says “the more you practice a skill, the more confident you feel in your ability.” So if you’re tired of asking your coworkers “is this right,” put in some more time solo.
  • Try To Understand Why You’re Seeking Approval. Before asking someone what they think of your work, clinical psychologist Christina G. Hibbert recommends asking yourself “why don’t I trust my own opinion in this matter?” Is it that you want to be right or is it because you want to be liked? Hibbert says “understanding the motive behind your need for approval is an important step in overcoming it.”


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