Why do we need other people’s approval?  Because on some level we have abandoned our self.  If we don’t feel good about ourselves we look to others to tell us that we’re lovable, wonderful, worthwhile, sexy, smart and generally OK.  There are a couple of problems with this:  

  1. Sometimes the people we desperately want to approve of us don’t feel great about themselves.  We’re asking them to give us what they can’t give themselves.  How much sense does that make?  
  2. We often look outside ourselves to assess how we’re doing.  This leaves us without an inner compass to guide us on our journey which makes us really anxious.  
  3. Other people are fickle.  They love you today and complain about you tomorrow.  And that doesn’t have much to do with you.    
  4. The hunger for approval is endless.  It can never be satiated.  That’s how you know that approval is not what you really need.  If you can’t stop eating the brownies, it’s not about your love of chocolate.  
  5. There’s no such thing as purely objective feedback.  Other people’s feedback is based on their perceptions of you which are colored by their experiences, moods, feelings, history, health, needs, etc. (See Number 3.)  

Why don’t we approve of ourselves? Because we allow our inner critic to have the last word about who we “really” are.  We unquestioningly believe that small, loud, persistent and bullying voice inside our heads.   

I bet that if I asked you to make a list of the things you don’t like about yourself, you could come up with a long list in about 10 seconds.  What if I asked you to write down 10 things you like about yourself?  Or 10 things you have done well? 

I challenge you:   

To make a list of 10 things you like about yourself.  Really.  This is going to take a lot of courage and soul-searching.  Write them down.  That will help to make them real for you.  Commit to them. No less than 10 but you can do more.     

For the really brave, write down 10 things that you have succeeded at or done well.  Wondering if something counts as an accomplishment?  Write it down anyway.  Trust yourself.  Your perspective.  Don’t ask anyone else.  

Then stand back and watch your inner critic go crazy.  Argue with you.  Put you down.  Doubt you.  Judge you.  Minimize your accomplishments. 

Now do you understand why you turn to other people to be the barometers of how you’re doing in your life?  To assure you that you’re acceptable and good enough? 

The question is: When will you stop letting your critical mind or other people run your life?        

This issue of not feeling good about ourselves and wanting other people’s approval does not discriminate.  It comes up again and again in the work I do with my clients no matter who they are or what they have achieved. I have worked with CEOs of corporations, lawyers, teachers, doctors and many others who doubted themselves and depended on other people’s approval to feel good about themselves. I have dealt with the demon of wanting other people’s approval in my own life as well.   

One of the things that’s fundamental in determining how happy we are in our lives is how we feel about ourselves.   

In my next newsletter I’ll talk about how you can truly feel good about yourself.  Your life depends on it. 

Mark your calendars for Wednesday, February 29th at 10 AM Pacific, 1 PM Eastern. (Click here to find the time in your region.)  We’re going to celebrate this leap year with a call that will help you stop struggling and blast your blocks to manifesting what you really want in your life. Click here to register and we’ll send you the call-in information. If you can’t make the call, register anyway and we’ll be happy to send you the recording. Send me your questions so that I can address the issues you’re struggling with: Anne@CoachingInANutshell.com

I’d love it if you’d go to my Facebook Fan page (click here) and declare one thing you really like about yourself. I already got the ball rolling.