How to Handle the Need for Approval

Who’s approval do I need to be ok with me, about Rae? 

People cry hard and long every day about how they don’t need anyone’s approval.  They don’t need anyone to validate them. They don’t need a crew or anyone else to help them.

I call bullshit.

It’s not true.

How many of us have that one person or persons who’s approval we crave?  We need them to tell us we’re right, we’re beautiful, we’re accepted, we’re awesome, we’re talented, we matter, we’re on our way, they’re proud of us….

The list goes on.

But what happens if I never hear it from the person I most want to hear it from?  What happens to my self-esteem? Or what happens if that person turns on me and tells me  something other than what I hope to hear? What if they don’t see me how I want them to see me?  Worse yet, what if what they’re telling me has any indication of the truth?  What do I do then?

It means I need to stop relying on the approval of (wo)mankind.  There’s no way possible to keep everyone satisfied at the same time.  Not possible!!

I mean this.  It’s not possible.

It’s like trying to stand on a moving elephant while spinning plates on sticks and managing to duck as the acrobats swing through the air and still singing A Lovely Day. I am sure there’s someone who can make it happen.  That woman is not me.

Now let me be real, there are still people who’s approval I do need.  I’m not a loose cannon.  Anyone who tells you they don’t care what anyone thinks – they have no fcuks* to give could care less about what ANYONE thinks?  A dangerous person to be around.  It also means they’re probably not in a place to receive any counsel or correction.  I can’t deal with folks like that.

Let me repeat this – there are a few people on this earth and I need their support, their approval.  I clearly, without a shadow of a doubt need people in my life.  I have people I love who have the power to crush me with their words.  Everyone else, it may make me pause but it doesn’t totally destroy me anymore.  There is such a thing for a healthy need for approval.  We all need to be accepted, approved of and loved.

I of course, have come a long way.  I’m super sensitive.  Someone says they don’t like something I’ve done, written, am wearing – then I used to fall to pieces.  It’s not like that anymore.

Here are a few tidbits and reminders I now employ:

  1. Identify my ride or die confidantes.  There will only be a few in a lifetime so it’s not going to be a high number of people.  This person or persons, given the love they have for me and the ability to support me – their approval is needed and appreciated.  They have the right to speak into my life, offer correction, offer advice.
  2. I don’t share everything with everyone.  Everyone is not going to approve of everything I do.  It’s not possible.  So I know going in there will be naysayers.  There will be people who want to see me not reach my goal.  Some will discourage me in an attempt to protect me. What’s the point in sharing with someone when you don’t think they’ll have anything good to say?  Time and time again I used to get sucked in to thinking I needed to tell certain people about certain things I was planning.  I don’t do it any more.  I have an idea.  I pray about it, think about it, mull it over, sleep on it.  Then may run it past someone who gets my vision and see what they think.  Most times, if the idea is following me – I’m doing it regardless.
  3. Keep it moving.  When I don’t receive the approval I’m looking for, I keep moving forward. What if someone tells me they don’t like my writing?  What if that person is a well known published author? Should that stop me from banging on these keys?  No.  It should just be added as fuel to the fire.  JK Rowling’s Harry Potter was rejected 12 times before  her now literary agency reluctantly chose to represent her.  What if she had given up?
  4. Lack of approval doesn’t mean you’re not on track.  Once again, the popular vote isn’t always a good indicator of success.  Reality TV makes it seem that way.  But if I’ve got something good going on, I hold on to my hope and my belief in myself.
  5. I know my end goal, my road, my purpose.  When I know the road I’m traveling and my desired destination, people can’t derail me as easily.  If I’m clear on where I am supposed to be and what’s supposed to be done, it makes it easier not to seek the approval or others all the time.  There are many people I know who would NEVER write and share their lives in the manner I do.  It’s not their road.  But it’s mine.  I respect their walk and I ask them to respect mine.

Looking backward to my 20s and my early 30s I sought the approval of the wrong people and it de-railed me EVERY DAMN TIME!! People who weren’t really there to help or assist.  More so people who were there to use me for whatever they could get out of me.  I stopped seeking approval and validation when I realized trying to impress people wasn’t serving my needs.  It means I’m free to be me.

There is nothing better than being able to be free to be yourself – the natural you who you were designed to be.  Seeking approval sucks the life out of who I really am.  If I’m moving and swaying and changing every time someone thinks I should change, look different, straighten my hair, wear tighter clothes or high heels to the grocery store (you’re laughing right) or re-arrange my house a certain way then I would never figure out who I really am.

I hope you approve of yourself.  If you’re not at that space yet, I pray you’re working towards it.  I still work on it every day but it’s a battle I’m willing to fight.  I also hope there are a few people in your life who approve of you and support and love you.  We all need it – even those who seem the most unlovable. I’ll venture out to say they are the ones needing it the most.  We all need the approval that we’re “OK” as we are, right where we stand.




9 thoughts on “How to Handle the Need for Approval

  1. WOW, absolutely wonderful post Rae, enjoyed reading this! And you are so right, no matter how hard of a front we try to put on that we don’t care what people think, we do. That’s just human nature, but the key is to NOT care what everybody thinks, ONLY what the people that matters think (as you mentioned).

    #5 is a major one, i love your take on that. Me personally, I like to keep my life private. I know that sounds weird to be running a personal blog myself lol, but I only share minor details about my life with a purpose to help others. If it wont benefit my readers, then I wont share it. But i definitely respect your walk!!

    • Thanks Maurice. Well, running a personal blog – I still keep my life private. Like we talked about with the statute of limitations. I have to make sure people feel safe. I mean, I can’t say I’ll never write certain things, but I would at least talk with the person first before I did. And yes, if it’s not put into a format that will bless folks, there’s no point in writing it.

  2. I LIVE by #2!! I got tIred of folks dissecting my plans and sh!tting on my aspIratIons. So I learned to keep my mouth shut and then do #3, keep It movIng. Yes to this post! I believe it just helped somebody.

    • You know what? That’s soooo true. Folks will kill dreams in a minute or just with a sigh or some crazy stuff. I hope it helped someone. I really am working on getting past that need for it. Maybe from a few people, but mostly, I realize it’s not possible to please everyone.


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