11 Tips to Stop Your Approval Addiction

PicMonkey approval

I don’t need your approval to be OK and you don’t need mine. I don’t need your love and devotion to be happy and you don’t need mine. 

It took me two different therapists and several years to finally take back my power and accept that certain family members, friends, coworkers and colleagues would never accept or approve of me. Never. 

When I finally tired of holding myself back, I let go of trying to win others over. I let go of trying to fit in. I let go of trying to be someone I was not. I let go of needing what I so desperately wanted—their validation. 

I’ve since picked up the shattered pieces of my heart and soul and accepted that some people will never love and accept me. Never. 

I’m perfectly fine with it. There are over seven billion people in the world. There are plenty of people who love me and always will. There are people I haven’t met yet who will be crazy about me! 

If you’re tired of beating your head against the wall, if you’re tired of trying to be someone you’re not, then it’s time to let go of seeking validation from others. 

It’s time to be exactly who you choose to be. That’s freedom! 

The most splendid achievement of all is the constant striving to surpass yourself and to be worthy of your own approval. ~ Denis Waitley

1. Be your own best friend. You cause your own pain and suffering when you fail to love and approve of yourself. Give yourself the love and acceptance that you want from others and your neediness will subside. 

2. An opinion is only a story. What someone thinks or says about you is only their perception. Don’t allow anyone to define who you are or what you’re all about. Don’t allow others to decide your worthiness. You have a Divine legacy. 

3. Think well of yourself. Remind yourself that the unasked-for opinions of others don’t matter. Don’t allow anyone to bring you down. Treat yourself with respect. Celebrate who you are. You deserve the best that life has to offer. 

4. Observe yourself. Gently notice how you are around others and what you say and do to disconnect from your authentic self. How do you give away pieces of yourself to fit in? Learn to make the choices that are right for you. 

5. Make a decision to stop. Stop pretending to be someone you’re not. Stop hiding who you really are. Stop feeling pressured to go along with something you don’t believe in.

6. Practice being you. Lean into who you are. Don't be afraid to speak your truth. Honor what you want. Don’t go along with the crowd. Be willing to walk away. Make decisions based on what’s best for you. 

7. Find your tribe. Don’t take rejection and abandonment personally. Walk away from the people who don’t want the best for you. Have zero tolerance for those who don’t see your magnificence. Seek out like-minded family and friends. 

8. Know what you want. Hold on tight to your own tastes, values, ideas and dreams. Take risks, commit and allow yourself to fail. Live life your way! 

9. Serve others. Don’t be a people pleaser. Find the people who need your talents and gifts and look for a way to meet their needs. 

10. Be kind to yourself. Accept your shadow side, imperfections and flaws. Understand and heal the parts of you that you’d rather hide. Don’t allow yourself to be shamed. You deserve to be seen and heard. 

11. Live a life of awesomeness. Let your beauty shine. You don’t need anyone’s permission. You set the tone for your life. Be weird. Go in the opposite direction of the herd. Stand in your power, have fun and enjoy your freedom! 

How has the need for approval impacted your life?

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  • Elle March 25, 2013, 1:48 pm

    Number 5 hits the nail on the head Tess. I still experience some of the shyness that ran my life as a child, and I still find myself wanting to fly under the radar. But guess what? I took your course and it propelled me forward, found a mentor and I’m being propelled even more and big changes are afoot. And best of all I pretty okay with it.

    Thanks for this…we always need those reminders…those little nudges.

    Love Elle

    • Tess March 28, 2013, 6:18 am

      Change is so exciting when we choose the direction of it. It’s so much easier than getting hit over the head;)) I can’t wait to see what life has in store for you. You’ve only just begun!

  • waiwa March 25, 2013, 9:16 pm

    Thanks for your sharing, the article touches my heart deeply. Some people no matter how hard you try, still don’t think you are good, anything you done they can find out a negative side. Let them go out my life should be a good choice, I mean that don’t let them affect my emotion feeling.

  • Sue Kearney (@MagnoliasWest) March 26, 2013, 10:01 am

    Love this, love #10 the most at this moment. I’ve embraced “imperfect action”. Frees me to take lots and lots and lots of bold actions for my business and my tribe, and to release the need for perfection, which is so freeing!

    Thanks for a lovely article! I’ve shared it with my tribe.

    • Tess March 28, 2013, 6:20 am


      Congratulation on all things bold! Thanks for your support. Have a lovely weekend.

  • Cathy Taughinbaugh March 26, 2013, 2:06 pm

    Hi Tess,

    Great list here! I like Number 7. Find your tribe. I have found through the years that the best thing I can do for myself is to surround myself with people who love me for who I am. I’ve had to let go of those that were causing me stress. It is an honor for people to care about me, but it is also an honor that I care about them. Respecting myself enough to spend time with those that share the love is what works for me.

  • David Stevens March 26, 2013, 2:42 pm

    Hi Tess,
    11 Great tips. Many favourites … all are standouts. Thankyou.
    be good to yourself

  • Cornel March 26, 2013, 6:09 pm

    Hey Tess,

    I agree the need for approval drastically limits your freedom. We all need a bit of approval, but seeking it from the wrong people is a sure recipe for getting hurt.

    Being yourself and finding the tribe that loves you just like that is an amazingly liberating experience…

    Talk soon,

  • Betsy/Zen Mama March 26, 2013, 9:31 pm

    Love your tips (as usual) Tess! It’s a struggle to not care what people think, isn’t it. It’s very hard, too, to not to just be comfortable with ourselves so we can not care.
    Thanks for these reminders!!

  • Galen Pearl March 28, 2013, 2:02 pm

    I especially love #2 and #11. I will use these both this afternoon while I have to spend some time with someone who does not like me very much. I have to remind myself that his opinion is his story and has little to do with me. It’s still hard to be around it sometimes which is why the last point is so great. Thanks for the pep talk just at the right time.

  • Anne-Sophie March 29, 2013, 3:09 pm

    Tess, I just love number 2: an opinion is just a story. In a way, we’re diminishing our own worth by believing that someone else’s opinion is more valuable than the one we have. We don’t believe we’re enough, worthy and OK the way we are and so we depend on others to give us the permission to be someone only we ourselves can decided to be. Not letting the stories of other people get in the way of stepping into the real you is an essential lesson and challenge in life – but if you master it, you’ll be more confident, happy and fulfilled. I still have a long way to go as I do want the approval of everyone – all the time. But every day, I take one essential step toward a valuing myself enough to believe in me and to know that this is all I need. I alone am whole and have everything I need to take on the world. 🙂

  • Jo Casey March 30, 2013, 10:53 am

    Being Kind to yourself is something that’s always a work in progress for me. It’s not my default position – self blame, overly high standards are my specialties 😉 So learning to be compassionate with myself, being vigilant with my thoughts and going deep to really notice if my actions are in my best interest or not.

  • Joan Harrison March 31, 2013, 10:27 am

    I don’t want to sound technical, but there is no other way I can describe what I know to be true. As kids we develop what in Transactional Analysis terms is called ‘driver behaviour’. The ‘drivers’ are ‘Please People’, ‘Hurry Up’ ‘Try Hard’ ‘Be Strong’ & ‘Be Perfect’. I lived my life trying to Please People and to Be Perfect, which made things much more difficult than they needed to be. Once I studied therapy I was able to recognize these ‘drivers’ and use them to my advantage, rather than let them have control of me. Phew! the relief once you understand what is happening is palpable. So I would add to your list ‘Understand What Makes You Tick!’

  • Debbie April 1, 2013, 12:13 pm

    Great list. I go with all of them as important, but this one 7. Find your tribe. Don’t take rejection and abandonment personally. Walk away from the people who don’t want the best for you. Have zero tolerance for those who don’t see your magnificence. Seek out like-minded family and friends. I really like
    As you say not everyone is going to like you,we have to learn to walk away, because there is enough people on this planet that you find do like and love you just the way your are.
    Thanks Tess for reminding us that we are OK just they way we are.
    Debbie XX

    • anandela July 30, 2014, 10:25 am

      Yes number 7 is very important!!!!!!!! As I’m getting older I find that I need to let the wrong ones walk away, and let the right ones in or back into my life!!!!!! Life’s too short to let the wrong people get you down, whether they are friend or family!!!!!!!

  • Al April 17, 2013, 12:44 pm

    I’m 30 right now and I’m just starting to live without considering *too much* what others think of me or what I look like. I think this is what they call “starting to live”.

    “Desire for approval and recognition is a healthy motive, but the desire to be acknowledged as better, stronger or more intelligent than a fellow being or fellow scholar easily leads to an excessively egoistic psychological adjustment.”
    Albert Einstein

    “Do not look for approval except for the consciousness of doing your best.”
    Andrew Carnegie

  • Elle April 19, 2013, 10:29 am

    I think Lao Tzu’s quote has a great point. We have got to stop trying to validate ourselves through others’ approval.

    I am glad you have come to the terms that there will be some family members who will never accept you.

    Similarly, I had to learn and understand that I would not be able to please family members all my life. I had to do what made me happy, and not get pressured into fulfilling their dreams.

    This is why I loved #2 on your list. We need to remember that opinions are just opinions!

  • Kavitha May 23, 2013, 1:19 pm

    In am so glad I came across your blog and this article. ” It’s time to be exactly who you choose to be. That’s freedom! ” this is what I have been telling myself but never put into action. Now I am going to be BOLD and take the first steps to live life way. Will update you. TIA.

  • Rayme Torain May 30, 2013, 10:11 am

    Thanks for this article! I’ve been dealing with this all of my life with family members.
    Your advice is so liberating!

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