When we think of addictions, we often think of drugs, alcohol, or cigarettes. These addictions are fatal to our bodies whether it’s physical or psychological. However, there is another addiction that is just as or even more detrimental to us that it’s often ignored or overlooked. This addiction is known as “approval addiction”. Yes, it is a real disease or sickness, but there is hope because there is a cure! What is “approval addiction” you ask? Well, let me break it down for you.
Addiction can be defined as the state of being enslaved to a habit or practice or to something that is psychologically or physically habit-forming.
Approval can be defined as seeking formal permission, sanction, consent, agreement, or someone to judge favorably.
“Approval addiction” is basically when we seek someone to speak or think favorably of something we do, believe, or anything we decide. Sometimes it seems so natural that we don’t recognize that it’s a problem. You have to realize that you can’t be a “people pleaser”. If you spend your life trying to please everyone else, you will ignore the “true” desires that lie in your heart or spirit. We want to make sure that people around us are going to be pleased with our decisions and what it is we really want to do. This can be anyone around you. Sometimes we have people in our lives who we greatly respect like our friends, spouses or significant others, parents, or even our grandparents. This is quite natural for us to want to seek their approval, but we shouldn’t let that control our decisions about OUR life. There is a difference between a healthy desire of wanting to feel appreciated and always wanting someone’s stamp of approval on your life decisions. The first step is realizing that we have this addiction. There was a time in my life when I suffered from this addiction. In my case, I wanted my parent’s approval. I wanted to make sure that they approved of everything that I did. Well, at least of the things that I knew they eventually find out about or would affect and effect my life greatly in some way. Many of the decisions that were made about my education like the school I attended and even my interest of study were chosen for that reason. I made the best of those decisions, but it wasn’t what I truly desired. However, in other instances at the end of the day I wasn’t truly happy with my decisions because I wasn’t doing them solely because that’s what I wanted. Going through life walking out what others believe you should do, will not bring you true happiness.
The root of “approval addiction” is fear. We must truly understand what fear is. Fear is an emotion of distress caused by the impending or threatening of pain, danger, shame, guilt, or even failure. Our own insecurities, lack of confidence, or self-doubt will cause us to seek other’s approval. Sometimes we don’t follow our heart because we are afraid that it may hurt someone else if we don’t do what they expect us to do. That can leave us with feelings of guilt or shame. I’m not condoning anyone to purposely hurt anyone. However, you do have a responsibility and obligation to yourself to do what makes you happy. Ultimately those spouses, family members, and friends will realize that you had to make a decision that you was going to make you happy. You can’t settle for something because it’s what your loved ones expected you to do. It’s time to step outside the box. We have to realize that we are more than conquerors , and we have already overcome the battle. The problem is that some of us are afraid to confront “us” and admit who we really are. Until we do that we will always be bound and subject to the approval of man.
You have to realize your purpose and who you are. God created us each with a special purpose.
Jeremiah 1:5 -Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee, and I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations.
God knew who you were going to be before you were birthed into this world. He already designed you for what it was you are purposed to do. He knew your desires before you realized it was what you desired. He placed them on the inside of you. Until you are following those desires, you will never experience “true” happiness. You have to come to terms with who you really are. Stop pretending and putting on for other people. Not one of us are perfect, but we are all supposed to be striving for perfection. Be authentic to yourself! Once you do this, then you can deal with the addiction, anger, guilt, or shame that accompanies the “approval addiction”. It’s time for us to introspect, and become real! The only approval we should seek is God, and whether we pleasing Him. He want us to live happily and worry-free from what will happen if we don’t do what others expect us to do.
Ask yourself, “Do I suffer from always wanting someone’s validation of my life choices?” If so, then you need to know that this isn’t the way we are to live our lives. Are you going to live your life for other people? Are you going to settle and compromise your happiness for someone else?
Stop trying to convince yourself that you are happy with those “approval addiction” choices. I promise you the feeling won’t last forever, and you will not like the end results. It’s time to live your life “approval addiction” free! Realize there is a difference in EXISTING and LIVING! I urge you to start LIVING your life today!