I have spent my entire life seeking for approval. Everyone does it when they are young. I know this now because I can watch my nephew go to do something, and he knows it is probably wrong, so he looks at mom or dad to see if they will say no, or smile if it’s okay. As we get older and go through school at various ages, we complete our homework and turn it in to our teachers for approval. Often when we have ideas at a young age, we seek an adult to show their approval for our idea.
As we get older, approval sneaks into every aspect of our lives. Eventually, we as human beings begin to seek approval from many different people, cliques, or organizations. I think the largest place that I have and continue to seek approval from is parents. I have always sought approval from my mom and dad; and still from my dad. This is not all bad, it has kept me in line many times, and out of trouble that otherwise may have occurred.
Recently though, as I become more comfortable with myself and how my thoughts function, I have realized that I am still consistently seeking approval from every being in my life. One can only imagine how much stress this puts on an individual, that is unnecessary. Some of this is me caring for those close to me, but the majority of this is unhealthy.
I have come to find that I seek approval from many individuals because I have an immense fear of disappointment. I did not realize how much I have struggled with this thought in my past, but as I am more honest with myself, I get it.
Suicide is a very tough subject for many. It is a touchy subject for me because of the loss of my mom in 2006. I was twelve years old, and felt very much at fault. This is normal for children of this age in the loss of a parent to suicide. They think they are not good enough, that they should have seen it coming, but even worse, they think “what ifs”. “What if I was there more?” “What if I didn’t upset her that last time”, “What if I would have listened better?” “What if I told her I loved her more”, etc. There are so many thoughts that people struggle with when they lose anyone to suicide. These are just some of my personal struggles throughout this “lifelong” journey that I have encountered.
I think I have problems seeking for approval, too often, from those around me that I care for the most because I am still very fearful of loss. I have encountered so much loss in my life, some particularly painful, that I do not think I can bear another loss. I am constantly concerned about what I say, my actions, my reactions, etc. to those close to me because I do not want to hurt them.
I have upset many people in my lifetime, and apologized many times. Though, I have noticed, that often with me, I take the situation much more negatively than the other party involved. I get so concerned about what other people are thinking, about me, my actions, my words, that I upset myself. This is one of my biggest challenges to overcome because I will always feel like I need to know that things are “okay,” but I can start telling myself this. I am smart enough to know when things actually are okay, and I just need to move on, and when they are not. It is just that habitual constant fear in my mind of losing another somebody that I treasure so dear, whether I lose them physically, or on a social aspect, both are very hard to endure.
As an adult I need to find a way to give my own approval to my ideas, beliefs, and future plans. I do not need anyone to tell me whether I am right or wrong, I have to develop that decision on my own, just with partial guidance. After an apology, I have to leave it up to God to arrange that forgiveness, and trust that it has been worked out, and not rely on being told that everything is okay. I do not think I can truly be happy until I am no longer seeking for approval from people. This is much harder said than done, especially since I have been struggling with this for many years, but I would say it is achievable.
I doubt I am the only one struggling with this concept, which is why I decided to share it. If you have similar feelings, or situations, write about them, and let me know. It is so important in life that we all know we are not alone in any circumstance. Somebody in this world has experienced the same emotional states you have.
Here’s to better days ahead for all.