This article was first published on ksl.com
I have noticed lately that I’m really needy when it comes to attention and validation. I think I use social media for this too. I crave posting things that will bring in the “likes” and make other people jealous of my life. I am fishing for compliments. I also find myself showing off or saying things that I know will make whoever I’m with like me. I know that I shouldn’t need this attention, but I do. I just wondered if you have any advice to help me stop needing this kind of validation all the time.
I think it is awesome that you are aware enough to see what you are doing. I think most of us are unconscious approval addicts and we aren’t aware of the things we do to try to get it.
Most of us have been seeking approval since childhood, and it has become a big part of our subconscious programming. We honestly believe our value as human beings is determined by our appearance, performance and what other people think of us. This seeking for approval and validation usually backfires, though. The more you try to get approval from others, the less respect they have for you.
Understand, it isn’t a problem to enjoy some external validation, it’s only a problem if you need it to feel worth. It’s a problem if you can’t accurately determine your own value on your own.
Here is a list of things you might do (without consciously realizing it) to get validation, attention or approval. See if any of them sound familiar. Honestly ask yourself the following questions to see if you are an approval addict Do you:
You must understand that a need for external approval comes from a deep insecurity about your value, and it is going to create misery in your life if you don’t fix it. You can’t truly be happy if you are needy and insecure.
Joyce Meyer, in her book "Approval Addiction: Overcoming Your Need to Please Everyone," says you must eliminate the guilt and shame you have carried with you since childhood if you are going to cure your approval addiction. You must also change some of your fundamental beliefs about who you are. You must change the way you value yourself and learn to give yourself internal validation.
This means getting a sense of value from your intrinsic worth as a one-of-a-kind, irreplaceable human soul. It means letting go of shame and guilt about your past and choosing to see mistakes as lessons that taught you things but didn’t affect your value.
Here are a few fundamental mindset shifts that can cure your approval addiction over time. For these to change you at the subconscious level though, you will have to make them "your official policies" and review them often.
Don’t be gray and don’t try to be a color that makes other people happy.
“The reward for conformity is that everyone likes you except yourself.” — Rita Mae Brown
You can do this.
Kimberly Giles is the founder and president of claritypointcoaching.com. She is also the author of the new book "Choosing Clarity: The Path to Fearlessness" and a coach and speaker.
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Kimberly Giles is the president and founder of Claritypoint Life Coaching and 12 SHAPES INC. She is an author and professional speaker. She was named one of the top 20 advice gurus in the country by Good Morning America in 2010. She appears regularly on local and national TV and Radio.