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Seeking Approval Addict in Relationships - and How to Stop It

By Jim Hall, MS, Love Addiction Specialist


One of the familiar aspects of love addiction is a dependency of approval seeking from another person in relationships. Everyone wants the approval of others. It is a natural human desire.
However, as love addicts, in relationships we allow our lives to be controlled by our efforts to gain this approval. We give up our choices, opinions, likes, dislikes, even our own values.
We let our thoughts and feelings be dictated by others, and lose touch with our own true selves.
We may go along with whatever others around us are saying, or doing, or allow ourselves to be dominated, coerced, or manipulated. Whenever we ignore our individual wants and needs and let other people choose for us, we are hurting ourselves.
If you are love addicted, you likely modeled one or both parents who geared their behaviors towards getting approval and acceptance from people and avoid disapproval.
It was all about “looking good” and being what we thought others wanted us to be instead of being authentic.

Modeling this kind of approval-seeking behavior, you might have learned that self-worth was determined by what others think instead of learning that our own worth and value comes from within.
You may have received a message that you had to give up parts of who you were just to please one or both parents.

This wasn’t your fault, as a child you had to adapt and cope in the family system.

Love and approval addiction is a draining way to live our lives. It fuels the pattern of dysfunctional and unhealthy relationships not only with others but also with the self.
In depending on others love and approval you have to relentlessly work to say and look and perform as perfectly as possible to avoid rejection.
In reality, seeking approval from someone else to feel valued and loved is seriously unrealistic and childlike. It is an impossible task and ultimately does not work.
The approval, attention, or ‘love’ we may get is never truly satisfying when we think we have to give away ourselves to get it. No wonder why when a relationship crumbles we can feel like our own sense of self-identity is missing.

As human beings, we need to feel approval; we need to feel loved and accepted by others.
The problem comes when (like the oxygen we breathe) we become unreservedly dependent on another person as the sole source of feeling valued.
Our culture sends many dysfunctional, very toxic messages saying that love, value, and worthiness is reliant on something outside of the self, outside of you or me. However, this is flatly false- and it is a lie.
You were born with inherent worth and lovability.
It has been with you and always will be.
Feeling genuinely lovable, valuable, and worthy doesn’t rely on an external source, it doesn’t come from placating to others, giving up ourselves, it doesn’t come from having to prove or earn it—it has to come from within. It comes from learning the concept-reality that we all were born with inherent worthiness and lovability. It has been with us and always will be with us.

How can you change seeking approval pattern in relationships?

For now, I suggest the following tool to help you realize you do not have to seek approval from another person to know and feel you are important, valuable, and a precious human being.

Repeat these affirmations on a daily basis:

·         I am and always have been an inherently worthy, valuable, and lovable human being.

·         My intent from now on is to open my heart and learn about honoring, respecting, and loving myself.

·         I am responsible for my knowing and feeling my inherent value & self-worth; I no longer give that power up to anyone else.

Here are a couple of ways to use these affirmations.
  1. Say these affirmations to yourself quietly or out loud 5-10 times daily; record them and listen to your voice say them as much as you can; write them out on paper; paste them on your bathroom mirror.
  2.  As you say them, imagine breathing these words into your body; slow deep breathe; then release/exhale any negative thoughts you may have;   then breathe the affirmation in again into your body, and release/exhale. Repeat each affirmation up to 10 a day for several weeks.




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