Approval traps

approval askshivani confidence leadership Aug 09, 2021

Approval traps you may be in and how to navigate out of them

Seeking approval is a part of being human.

We are influenced by many different approval traps.

The earliest one is our family - parents, siblings and extended family. If they like what we do, we get a pat, a well done, a glance of approval. If they don’t, then we get the opposite. We start to look for these signs early on. As early as babies and these patterns continue

Then there are the friends. What they think of us, will they like us? What behaviours do I need to adopt in order to be liked and so I can fit in.

Social media thrives on approval. What will people think if I put myself out there? How many likes have I had? If not many likes, then you might wonder if you and your content was no good. This is something I have experienced and I try and not let social media drive who I am but occasionally it does..

Our partners and children have approval traps too. I noticed I stopped trying new dishes and cuisines in case the family didn’t like them for a while. Make it easier I told myself to get them to eat it but behind it sat a nod for approval.

Work is a big part of my life and the approval maze just gets magnified when we look at areas where we seek approval at work.

It is important to get our boss, colleagues, people reporting to us, clients to like us. We want to look professional. Sound professional. Create professional content. We want the positive feedback from them to say we did a good job.

Seeing approval traps are everywhere, how do we go about navigating it so we can be authentically us?

Tips to beat the approval trap

  1. Become aware of whose approval you still seek? This is a good starting point. There may be an old pattern here from childhood or it could be a new relationship or work related

  2. Look for what you are hoping ‘they’ are going to say in an ideal climate. For example you might want a partner to say you look beautiful before meeting his friends. Or a boss to say you did a great job. Or a friend to say you are an awesome friend. What are you hoping ‘they’ will say that will fill your cup?

  3. Can you say it to yourself? Saying you don’t need it, may be a little naive. The issue is when ‘they’ do not say it, we feel ripped off. Just a little nod. I worked so hard. We feel unfulfilled. So rather than waiting for others to fill your cup, can you say it to yourself? I look beautiful. I did a great job. I am a loving and loyal friend.

Love and Regards





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