Overcoming Approval Addiction

I have been getting a lot of positive feedback in my journey to becoming more vulnerable. So far, I have covered some pretty heavy topics including my broken relationship with my father, the divorce of my patterns, my experimenting with drugs, my struggles with my marriage, and today I cover my journey to overcoming approval addiction.

I have struggled with wanting and needing approval my whole life…perhaps, it’s because I never was validated by my own father and mother…so I sought validation and approval from others. I know this desire for approval has been with me every since childhood, then into elementary, high school, and university. First, it was seeking approval from friends. Then, it was seeking approval from girls. Lately, it’s been seeking approval on social media.

Every Facebook like, comment, and share is a confidence booster. Every new Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest follower is almost like a heroin shot. The desire to be liked doesn’t stop there. Plus, more views on YouTube! More email subscribers! More monthly views! More readers! More fans! More followers! More, more, more. The problem is that “more is never enough.” If you get 50 likes, you want 100. If you get 100 likes, you want 200. If you want 200, you want 300…and so the never-ending cycle of approval continues. More, more, more…instead of simply being content with what you have.

Part of this journey into being vulnerable is not seeking the approval of others but simply being me – with all my struggles, challenges, and obstacles. Just me with my strengths and weaknesses, loves and fears, areas of confidence and areas of self-doubt. It’s about accepting me for me (not for what others think of me or what I want others to think of me). In reality, it doesn’t matter…at all. The journey of vulnerability is also a journey into complete self-acceptance.

People’s opinions of me are what defined me growing up. When I was voted Most Shy in high school, I simply started living up to that definition. Instead of me defining my identity, I let others define it for me. So because my fellow graduates felt I was “Most Shy”, I simply accepted this myth as reality. However, it was after graduation and when I entered University that I released the power of choice. I could choose who I want to be. I could choose to be confident. I could choose to be outgoing. I could choose to be sociable. My choices in being more extroverted have defined me and now I am one of the most extroverted people I know! 🙂

A lot has shifted in my journey towards self-acceptance. One, becoming Christian, I realized I am created and loved by God simply because of who I am (not because of what I do). Secondly, getting married. My wife also just accepts me for me – no need to earn her approval). Lastly, my kids. They just love me because I am their daddy. So, if I truly understand and accept that I am loved by God, my wife, and my kids nothing or no one else matters. Therefore, I don’t have to seek after another like on Facebook, another retweet on Twitter, another view on my YouTube video.

I simply accept me for me (every part of me: the good, the bad, and the uncertain).

What areas of approval addiction are you struggling with?