Is acceptance the same as approval? Why do we always seek to be approved? Addiction to the approval of others.

Is It The Same Acceptance As Approval?

1- Accept

  • Accepting means taking what is offered or what is there; accepting (or not) what is or what happens.
  • It depends more on the judgement than be judged, who is as he/she is; some people accept who is different from them (race, religion, sex) and others who are not.
  • Its opposite is rejection.

2- Approve

  • It is to pass a kind of” test”; as to measure the behavior or performance of something, according to pre-established standards.
  • It does not depend so much on the judgement, but on what is being judged; you may or may not pass a selection test, but it has nothing to do with who applies the test, but with the candidate’s knowledge and/or skills.
  • It applies more to the way you do something than to people or facts.
  • Its opposite is disapproval.

So Who Accepts Me Or Approves Of Me?

1- Someone can accept you, but reprove your behavior.

  • Like the mom who gets mad at the kid and scolds him for his low grades, but he keeps wanting it.
  • In this case, the child would improve his behavior and grades if he wanted that to change.

2- Someone may not accept you but approve of your behavior.

  • Like when you don’t like someone for who they are, but suddenly you find out that they did something that you think is valuable and you approve (rescue a puppy from the street, for example)
  • Because that fact doesn’t lead you to change how you feel about that person, or he/she walk away from you because whatever you did, they wouldn’t accept.

Why Do We Seek Approval?

Seek Approval

1- Since childhood, our parents are like a mirror of the inner self.

2- We self-evaluate who we are and if what we do pleases our parents through their reactions.

  • It is important to know if they like us and accept us because life is going on. “If they love me, they take care of me”

3- We begin to seek approval when we are being set standards of conduct that depend more on what we do than on who we are.

  • “It’s not enough to be me, I have to do something to be loved”

4- This gets worse when we are “educated” in childhood through messages:

  • “Look at your ugly face, so no one will love you.”
  • ”If you keep crying, I’m going to give you the one with the garbage.”
  • “I’m gonna get you out of school if you keep your bad grades up.”

5- Normally, rejection leads you to, after an episode of pain, make an evaluation of your behaviors and look for a new group to which you belong.

What About Approval Addicts?

1- They suffer from cognitive fusion: they believe that what their mind tells them is real.

2- This distortion of thought leads you to believe:

  • They’re constantly being evaluated.
  • it’s never enough what they do.
  • They are more likely to perceive signs of rejection than approval, which they perceive not only as scarce but of short duration.
  • It is as if the rejection is darkness and approval is light on an eternal cold night. You have to feed it to keep it on.
  • They are constantly compared to others, always disadvantageously; they may even feel like a fraud.
  • They set ridiculous standards of perfection; like they always have to say something smart or funny to others.
  • Which are the center of attention of the universe.
  • That’s why they think everyone’s so attentive to what they’re doing.
  • This is a paradox because they feel rejected but at the same time very important so that everyone cares what they do.

3- They are emotionally unstable, leading to anxiety.

4- The feeling of rejection that drives the search for approval never ends and where it goes will end up feeling that no matter how much is done for others, they will end up rejecting it.

What Effect Does This Produce?

1- Dr. Nathan DeWall, a professor in the Department of Psychology at the University of Kentucky, published in the Journal Current Directions in Psychological Science in 2011 that being a recipient of a” social snub”, ‘’real or imaginary’’ has important psychological consequences:

  • It increases anger, anxiety, depression, jealousy and sadness.
  • It reduces performance in intellectually demanding activities.
  • It contributes to aggression and under impulse control.
  • It decreased sleep quality and immune system dysfunctions.

2- It also generates: Hypervigilance before other people’s signals.

  • A study carried out by Dr. Eric Wesselman and published in the journal Psychological Science in 2012, showed how for these people who pass a stranger and do not make eye contact with them they perceive it as disapproval.

3- The constant fear of rejection, defrauding or disappointing.

  • Which does not allow them to flow socially and facilitates the rejection of others (self-fulfilling prophecy)

4- They modify their behaviors to seek to please others compulsively (they no longer decide, they need him as a drug addict).

5- They can be abused for being so complacent.

6- They begin to develop feelings of inferiority by never being able to give 100% pleasure to all those with whom they try.

7- They may engage in self-denial or self-sacrifice.

  • When you’re addicted to something, all costs are little to get what you need.

What To Do If You’re Addicted To This?

  • If someone relates to you through exploitation and receiving favors, it’s not someone you need in your life.
  • Learn to say no and express your views, even if others don’t like them so much.
  • You are not an object to be evaluated for its usefulness to others, nor are we ever going to like everyone.
  • Think that you’re not important enough for all people to care about what you do and that’s normal.
  • Stop doing what your mind tells you to do and start doing what’s right for you.
  • Be careful not to go to the opposite extreme; remember that it is important to continue being part of a social group.
  • In general, this requires working with professional help, starting with reviewing the early affective bonds of childhood.

Would you sacrifice the life of the person you love the most for a little approval? Well, stop doing it.



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