The accompanying video to this article can be found here.
What is ‘Approval Anxiety’? It’s the worry that we won’t find love or someone who loves us because they won’t like us, or think we’re good enough for them. Our desire for love is really a search for approval, to have people like us, accept us, and to find us worthy of their love.
And we’re afraid we won’t get it.
Then we start looking for someone who will approve of us, rather than really being clear about being ‘The Prize’. Sadly, we find only heartache, rejection, and disappointment because we look for approval from people who don’t, won’t, or can’t give it to us. Then we think we’re not worthy of love because no one approves of us…
Now you’re thinking – that’s nuts, who thinks that way? Well, you’d be surprised and you probably have done this too. Did you have a critical parent or someone in your life who could never tell you that you were loved or accomplished, and nothing was ever good enough for them? (I have a client who has ‘approval anxiety’ which started in childhood with her very critical, demanding, and unloving father, who has now denied being her father even though she had a DNA test result and she looks just like him!) Her case may be a little extreme but it is a good example of how much our approval needs are not met by those in our lives and how much that loss can impact us.
Did you ever feel you had their approval, that they liked, valued, and accepted you? Probably not and that feeling of being wrong, unloved, and not valued doesn’t go away. It follows you around and it impacts your job, friendships, your family, your self esteem, and your self love.
Carry that forward to today and you are looking for someone who will give you the value you so desperately seek. You may call it ‘looking for love’ but it is far more basic than that, all you want is someone to tell you that you’re OK and good enough to be liked. When we desperately want approval, being liked is what we’ll settle for because true soul stirring, heart opening love is something we cannot even dare to hope for.
We all need approval from someone — we need to know that someone looks at us and says ‘hey, you’re pretty special and I think you’re great, valuable, and I like you.’ So our search for love is often a search for someone to like us, which also means they approve of us (we like things that we approve of).
We want them to see in us what we don’t see in ourselves — someone who is deserving of love, who deserves love, and who is worthy of being loved.
The problem is your need for approval interferes with your ability to create true love because while you say you want true love, you will settle for approval. So you accept bad behavior, tolerate a lot of things, lower your boundaries, get rid of your priorities and non-negotiables, because you hope that makes you more ‘likable’ and more approval worthy.
What do you do? Start with learning self approval, so you fill your approval needs basket from our own energy and then you approach others with a ‘full approval basket’ and there are no holes or gaps to fill. Then you can be open to receiving love without needing approval so you’re focused on one thing, real, honest, true love, and not scattering your energy in different directions.
You’ll learn more in the video below, it’s a great resource for you if you have ‘approval anxiety’ and how to turn that into self approval and then fill your approval basket so when you say you want love in your life, you don’t have to try to get your approval needs met first and true love can step up to the front of the line and say ‘hello’.
Approval anxiety is the fear that you won’t be liked or approved of by others. Then your desire for love becomes a search for approval and to be ‘liked’. Can you relate to this in your life?