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Healing the Need for Others' Approval

By Dr. Margaret Paul
August 02, 2010

Discover why much of the time repeating positive affirmations doesn't work to heal your low self-esteem and need for others' approval, and what does work.

Do you ever find yourself thinking things like:

  • I'd better give her a call or she will think I don't like her.
  • If I do what I want to do he will be mad.
  • If I don't explain myself they will think I don't care.
  • If I wear the same outfit again they will think less of me.

And so on....

Do you automatically adjust your behavior to try to have some control over what others think of you - trying to get approval and avoid disapproval? The need for approval and the fear of disapproval may be running your life, albeit unconsciously. When your sense of safety, worth and lovability are tied to what others think of you, then you constantly attempt to look "right" and perform "right" in order to attempt to control what others think.

However, since the very act of making others responsible for your sense of safety, worth and lovability is a form of self-abandonment, the more you do it, the more insecure you feel. No matter how much approval you receive, it never heals the inner insecurity that comes from abandoning yourself.

How to Heal the Need for Approval

We all need approval, but we end up depending on others for approval when we do not give ourselves the approval we need.

This concept can be confusing, because many people have learned to give themselves affirmations, such as, "I am perfect," "I am lovable," with no positive effect on their self-esteem. Why is this?

When you give yourself approval from your left-brain programmed mind - your ego wounded self - you will not believe what you are telling yourself. You will know that you are "just making it up," so your feeling self, which is your inner child, will not believe you. Your inner child will especially not believe you if you continue to treat yourself in unloving, self-abandoning ways, such as judging yourself, ignoring your feelings, turning to addictions, and making others responsible for your self-worth. If you tell an actual child that he or she is lovable and perfect, but you ignore the child, judge the child, give the child cookies and material things instead of love, and try to get others to take care of the child, the child will not believe you when you say that he or she is lovable. If you give the child approval AND treat the child in very loving ways, then the child will believe you when you say, "You are so incredible. I love you so much." 

Likewise, if you are connected with your Higher Self - your wise and powerful source of love and truth - and you are taking loving action in your own behalf, then your inner child will believe you when you give yourself approval.

Approval and affirmations do not affect the core of you when they come from your ego wounded self, but they go deeply inside when they come from your Higher Self, and are followed up with loving actions toward yourself.

This is what heals the need for others' approval. Obviously, in order to give this to yourself, you have to be connected with your Higher Self - whatever that is for you. It may be the highest part of yourself, your experience of God/Goddess, your connection with the universe, and so on. The approval and affirmations need to come THROUGH you, from a higher source, rather than from your programmed mind, in order for your inner child to believe them.

If you practice Inner Bonding, you will discover that your connection with your spiritual Guidance gradually becomes more tangible to you. With this strengthened connection, you will be able to heal your need for others' approval.


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