“A man cannot be comfortable
without his own approval.”
~ Mark Twain
Last week I wrote a post about the drawbacks of being an approval junkie. Just to recap, an approval junkie is someone who is preoccupied with gaining approval from others in exchange for their own sense of self worth.
Following my post I received quite a few emails from fellow approval junkies, asking how to overcome their addiction. While it takes time to transcend the need for approval altogether, the following twelve steps are a good start.
Approval Junkie Rehab Step 1: Acknowledge Your Addiction
The first step in any rehab program is the acknowledgment that you have a problem. Release any shame or guilt associated with your need to please by noticing that almost everyone else on the planet is an approval junkie too. The addiction to approval has been ingrained in our cells for centuries; you’re not alone.
Approval Junkie Rehab Step 2: Meditate
Distancing yourself from your thoughts via meditation is a powerful way to transform your habits. Through meditation you’ll become so self-aware that you’ll begin to notice the unconscious motivations and unmet needs that are driving your desire for approval.
Approval Junkie Rehab Step 3: Ditch your Television
Be selective when it comes to your daily dose of mass media. Make a commitment to ditch all external weapons of mass distraction that reinforce your craving for a pat on the back. Be aware that the intention behind most of todays’ advertising is to make you feel bad about yourself in order to convince you to buy a product.
Approval Junkie Rehab Step 4: Hang out with Non-Judgmental People
Be selective about who you spend time with. Choose friends who love and support you unconditionally. There’s nothing more liberating than hanging out with someone who completely accepts everyone exactly as they are.
Approval Junkie Rehab Step 5: Stop Judging Others
If you’re judging yourself for not living up to external standards, you’re probably projecting these judgments onto other people as well. Give up gossiping and criticizing and learn the art of unconditional love and acceptance instead. When you cease judging, you’ll cease feeling judged.
Approval Junkie Rehab Step 6: Get a Dog
If you can’t find a non-judgmental person to befriend, get a dog. A dog loves you no matter what you look, talk, or smell like. The way your dog feels about you is the same way the Universe feels about you.
Approval Junkie Rehab Step 7: Live Your Passion
Find your passion in life and live it fully. When you become captivated by doing something you love, you won’t notice the man in the corner, giving you the evil eye. In fact, you won’t attract disapproval of any kind into your environment because you’ll be vibing too high.
Approval Junkie Rehab Step 8: Practice Affirmations
Affirmations reprogram your subconscious mind to look at the world in a new way. Grab a deck of affirmation cards and post them on your bathroom mirror. Louise Hay’s affirmations for example, help you reinforce your self-worthiness, independent of external opinion.
Approval Junkie Rehab Step 9: Examine your Expectations
Do you expect to be approved of? Or are you expecting to be rejected? People who subconsciously expect approval can’t relate to the anxiety of the approval junkie. Their expectation to be loved is effortlessly mirrored in their external world.
Approval Junkie Rehab Step 10: See a Professional
If your need for approval is overwhelming, you might want to see a psychiatrist to help you sort it out. Externalizing your thoughts via psychotherapy can really help transmute the negative programming that is holding you hostage.
Approval Junkie Rehab Step 11: Join Toastmasters
Toastmasters meetings are a great place for people to learn how to give speeches in a supportive environment. For the approval junkie, the real benefit of Toastmasters is the chance to receive constructive criticism on a weekly basis. Learning how to handle criticism at Toastmasters will help you deal with “disapproval” in your day to day life.
Approval Junkie Rehab Step 12: Approve of Yourself
The last step in your rehab program is to take every opportunity you can to approve of yourself. Give yourself compliments, smile at yourself in the mirror, and acknowledge your accomplishments. When you completely approve of yourself, you’ll no longer need the approval of others.
Your homework? Make a list of everything you admire about yourself… make it a long one.