When you think of the word addiction the most common thing that comes to mind is drugs, alcohol, shopping, food, or gambling. But it’s becoming increasingly more common for people to have an unhealthy need for approval from others. Our culture thrives on the need for self-improvement and we are bombarded with media that tells us we are not good enough as we are. This has left us in a state of constant need for validation, whether through social media likes, dating apps, or feedback from friends.
According to Joyce Meyer’s book, Approval Addiction, Approval Addiction is “when a person seems uncertain about themselves and then seeks a fix or high through approval from another person.”
In the book, Meyer outlines the common signs of Approval Addiction:
- You depend on other’s people’s approval for your self-worth—at work, in romantic relationships, or from your family and friends and may be called clingy or codependent.
- You measure your success on what other people think of you—and you constantly fish for compliments or validation.
- You take things personally and get upset if you feel like you’re being rejected.
Chances are you know someone like this (or you may even struggle with these symptoms yourself.) The overwhelming need for approval can significantly impact your ability to function as an independent human. It also can lead to people perceiving you as someone with poor boundaries—both with maintaining your personal boundaries and violating others’.
A very common manifestation of Addiction Approval is staying in victim mode, emotionally overwhelming others, and feeding off them in order to make yourself feel better. If you are constantly seeking advice or emotional help from someone but not actually taking steps to empower your life, then you need to evaluate why.
Take time to discover self care; talk to a therapist or counselor to explore the reasons behind your need for approval. Challenge yourself to make decisions on your own without relying on others. Focus on your positive qualities and how you can show up as yourself without the fear of criticism. Ask yourself what you want in life and make a step-by-step plan to help you move forward.
By healing the underlying emotions and fear behind Approval Addiction, you can open to a new life full of self-trust, joy, and independence.