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  • Writer's pictureKelly Osbaldiston

Acceptance vs. Approval: How to Stop Seeking Approval From Others

Seeking acceptance and seeking approval are two different concepts. Seeking acceptance is a healthy and necessary aspect of personal growth, as it allows you to develop a sense of self-compassion and self-worth. Seeking approval, however, can be detrimental to your mental health, as it can lead to feelings of inadequacy and a constant need for external validation.

The Difference Between Seeking Acceptance and Seeking Approval

It’s important to recognize the difference between seeking acceptance and seeking approval. You want to strive towards self-acceptance rather than seeking approval from others. Here's why:

Seeking Acceptance

Acceptance is the process of acknowledging someone’s thoughts, feelings, and behaviors without judgment or criticism. It involves recognizing and embracing someone’s strengths and weaknesses, as well as receiving someone as they are, with all their imperfections and flaws. It is an active and ongoing process of discovery, growth, and improvement that requires honesty, vulnerability, and a willingness to face fears and limitations in a safe way.

It is an essential component of self-esteem and mental well-being to have self-acceptance. When we accept ourselves for who we are, we are less likely to experience negative emotions such as shame, guilt, and anxiety. We become more comfortable with our identities, and we are better able to navigate life’s challenges with resilience and confidence. It is a journey of self-love, self-compassion, and self-care. It involves treating ourselves with kindness and understanding and learning to appreciate and value ourselves for who we are.

Seeking Approval

Approval is about giving consent or showing support for something or someone, but it does not equate to acceptance. It implies that something or someone is satisfactory based on evaluation, but it is not the same as affirming that person or thing.

Seeking approval from others is a natural human behavior, but it is important to strike a healthy balance between seeking validation from others and relying on our own internal sense of self-worth and validation. Let’s propose there’s a difference between receiving approval and seeking it.

Receiving approval from others can boost our self-esteem and make us feel valued and accepted. It can give us a sense of belonging and help us feel more confident in our choices and actions.

However, seeking approval from others can also have negative effects on our mental and emotional health. If we rely too heavily on external validation, we may become overly dependent on others for our sense of self-worth and happiness. This can lead to feelings of anxiety, self-doubt, and low self-esteem when we don’t receive the approval we are seeking.

Additionally, seeing approval from others can lead to us making decisions based on what we think others will approve of, rather than what we truly want or what is in our best interest. This can result in a loss of personal autonomy and can prevent us from fully expressing and pursuing our passions and goals.

How to Stop Seeking Approval From Others

Seeking approval from others is a common behavior that many people struggle with. Here is some helpful insight for you to move toward acceptance and let go of having to make decisions based on other people’s comfort:

Identify the root cause

The first step in stopping seeking approval from others is to identify why you’re seeking it in the first place. It could be due to low self-esteem, fear of rejection, or a need for validation. Understanding the underlying cause can help you address the issue at its core.

Develop self-awareness

Practice self-awareness by paying attention to your thoughts and actions. Recognize when you are seeking approval from others and what triggers this behavior.

Build self-confidence

Building self-confidence is essential in stopping the need for approval from others. Focus on your strengths, skills, and accomplishments along with self-affirmation and self-love.

Set healthy boundaries

Set boundaries for yourself and communicate them clearly with others. Be clear about what you are willing to do and what you are not comfortable with.

Focus on your values

Develop a strong sense of values and beliefs. When you know what is important to you, you will be less likely to seek approval from others.

Seek support

Seek support from people who encourage you and lift you up. Having a support system can help you stay focused on your goals and help you focus on self-acceptance instead of approval.

Hire a transformational coach

Transformational coaching can be an effective way to help you move forward in your life by focusing on personal growth and development. In my decade-long career, I have remained passionate about offering my clients clarity about what they really want with a clear vision for their future. Making a mindset shift is about developing a deeper understanding of your limiting beliefs or patterns and behaviors that might be keeping you stuck in your life.

If you want someone who will help you stay accountable to your goals and commitments while offering you emotional support and guidance while you navigate the road to self-acceptance and letting go of seeking approval from others, reach out to me.

Remember, it takes time to break the habit of seeking approval from others. Be patient and kind to yourself. With practice and persistence, you can overcome this behavior and lead a more fulfilling life.


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