What Will They Think? - Love and Approval AddictionBy Dr. Margaret Paul
August 23, 2010
Are you love and approval addicted? Are you constantly worried about what others think of your looks and/or performance?
Who are "they?" Unfortunately, "they" are everyone. Many of our parents and caregivers were love and approval addicted and geared their behavior to try to have control over getting love and approval and avoiding disapproval.
This was the role modeling for many of us. Our worth was determined by what "they" would think. Most of us did not see our parents or other role models defining their own worth and validating themselves.
What about now? Is your sense of worth determined by what others think of you, or have you learned how to define your own worth? Do you get your sense of inner fullness from others' love, or do you know how to fill yourself with love?
Being love and approval addicted is a hard and tiring way to live. Being dependent upon others love, attention, and approval for your sense of safety, security, worth and lovability means that you have to constantly work to look right and perform right. You can never let up, because even if you get the love or approval that you are seeking from a person, he or she can always take it away. Or maybe they are not available and then you have to try to get it from someone else, anyone else - "they."
We all need love. We do not thrive without it, and many do not survive without it. However, problems occur when we are dependent on others as our primary source of love and attention.
As long as you are making others responsible for defining your worth and making you feel safe and loved, you will likely continue to feel alone and empty inside. There really is another way to live!
What if you were to decide to give yourself the love and approval that you keep seeking from others? What if you were to decide to stop focusing externally, and instead start to focus internally?
We all have the power to define our own worth and bring love into ourselves. While you might think that the only love that feels really great is love from another person, this is a huge false belief. If you have ever experienced a moment of Grace, where you feel full and joyous for no external reason, you know that it is possible to feel incredibly wonderful without another's love and approval.
The only way this happens is when your heart is open to the Love that is Spirit.
We live in a sea of Love and wisdom. It is everywhere - within us and all around us. It is who we are - created in the image of God-that-is-love. When you shift your intention from trying to have control over getting love and approval, and instead move into an intent to learn about loving yourself, your heart opens to the incredible love and wisdom of your spiritual Guidance.
Try it right now. Move your focus out of your head and into your heart. Breathe into your heart. Make a decision that, for right now, you want responsibility for your own feelings of fullness and worth. Now ask one of these questions: "What is loving to me right now?" or "What is in my highest good right now?" Relax, let go, and listen for the answer. It might come in words, or images, or feelings. When you get a sense of what is loving to you right now, then do it. Take the loving action.
Now notice how you feel.
If you practice this all day, you will stop worrying about "What will they think?"
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Today, think about what you do that makes you feel invisible to others. Do you give in to others rather than stand in your truth? Do you avoid asking for what you want to avoid rejection? Do you act like everything is okay when it isn't? Do you agree with others to avoid conflict? Do you ignore your own feelings but attend to others' feelings? If you sometimes feel invisible, notice what you may be doing to create this.
By Dr. Margaret Paul