There are certain core needs shared by every person on the planet. Some of these needs are physical such as food, water, and air. We also have emotional needs. Once our physical needs are met, filling our core emotional needs becomes our number one priority in life.
The need for approval fits into this category. Whether we choose to acknowledge it or not, the desire for validation is one of the strongest motivating forces known to man.
Whose validation do we want?
Well, it all depends on whose opinion we value most. A child wants to feel approved of their parents, while a teenager generally seeks the validation of their peers. Wives want the approval of their husbands, and visa versa. But it doesn’t stop there!
Employees want to hear the phrase “well done” from their employer, just as authors want to please their readers. The fact is, we all have a longing for validation, and feeling approved of helps fill that desire.
Why does it matter so much?
Have you ever wondered why approval is so important? The answer may surprise you, but it’s actually pretty basic. Approval feeds our strongest desire. The strongest of all emotional needs is directly linked our feelings of approval or disapproval. Can you guess what that need is?
The first thing people usually think of is the need for love. Was that your thought also? As powerful as the need for love is, in reality it is the same as validation. In fact, love is the ultimate expression of approval. So love feeds the same core emotional need as approval does.
What is the granddaddy of all human emotions?
Every person on the planet has an inherent and insatiable desire to feel safe and secure. Most of what we do in life revolves around this core desire. Efforts to fill this desire shape the actions of individuals and the course of world events.
Wanting to feel secure is the fundamental driving force of the human species. Just as the Earth is in orbit around the sun, human behavior revolves around the need to establish a physical and emotional sense of security.
Approval makes us feel secure.
Once we understand the close relationship between these two core emotions, it becomes obvious why everyone is seeking approval. On a deep emotional level, feeling approved of makes us feel secure with ourself as a person. There is a huge degree of inner peace and security connected to feeling good about who we are.
We should also note that disapproval can have the opposite effect. When we meet with ridicule or rejection it can undermine our view of ourselves. If we internalize this kind of negative feedback, we can begin to doubt our personal worth. This threatens our sense of security and disrupts our inner harmony.
When we are children, we seek validation from external sources. If we feel approved of by our parents, it will be easier to develop a healthy degree of self-esteem. If we are constantly belittled or criticized, our sense of self-esteem will suffer.
During our formative years we rely mostly on approval from outside sources. Environmental feedback is the number one contributor to our early emotional development. However, as we get older there needs to be a fundamental shift in our primary source of approval.
From external to internal.
If we remain dependent on external factors to feel approved of, then we will always be emotionally vulnerable. Our self-esteem would be in the hands of things that we have very little control over. This kind of situation fosters a needy, helpless, dependent mindset.
Our primary source of approval needs to be internal rather than external. We need to approve of ourselves in order to feel true inner peace and security. That internal sense of approval needs to be developed until it is no longer vulnerable to the shifting tide of external validation. Self-esteem comes from how we feel about ourself!
How self-approval works.
To feel truly good about yourself as a person, you must eliminate internal conflict. If you are not living in harmony with what you believe to be right and just, you will not be at peace with yourself. No matter how hard your conscious mind tries to justify things, on a deep emotional level there will be conflict.
There can be no self-approval in an internal environment of conflict. Disharmony can only lead to disapproval. When you disapprove of yourself, all the external approval in the world cannot make up for it.
Be true to yourself.
Here are three important ways to create internal harmony and avoid inner conflict.
1. Be truthful with yourself and others. Saying one thing while thinking another throws your whole being into confusion. You may not be consciously aware of the disruption, but your nervous system certainly is. How can you approve of yourself if, on some core level, you feel like a liar?
2. Be true to your values. We all have personal ethics. If we compromise our standards for any reason, it costs us emotionally. Many people have lost touch with their deepest values. Consequently, they live in a way that violates their inner sense of right and wrong. They may defend their actions, but internally they are earning their own disapproval.
3. Show consideration for those around you. We all want to be treated with respect and consideration. It send mixed signals to our nervous system if we treat people differently then we want them to treat us. There is no way to justify hypocrisy on an emotional level. Our brain can make excuses, but that won’t prevent the disapproval and inner conflict.
Give yourself validation
There is nothing wrong with self validation. When you act or speak in a way that makes you feel good about yourself, stop and acknowledge it. When you work hard on a project or goal, find a way to reward yourself. It is not egotistical to give yourself acknowledgment.
External approval is always reassuring. When we receive the validation of others it reinforces our view of ourselves. But our personal sense of self-worth should be built on a solid internal foundation of self-approval and internal harmony.
How do you feel about self-approval?
What makes you feel good about yourself?
The lines are open!
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