As the author of an eCourse about addressing approval-seeking behaviour, I must admit that I have recently been through a bit of a rocky patch on my journey to becoming ‘self-approved’. I am currently gathering my thoughts and recalibrating myself. I thought it was important to share my recent musings as I want everyone else who suffers with this to know that the work never stops – it’s a journey, not a destination.
I have been a ‘career approval-seeker’ all of my life, a default setting learned in childhood. Although I realise that the responsibility ultimately lies with me to get over this, it is quite hard to deal with the fact that there are many people out there who happily take advantage of approval-seekers and people pleasers. We are easy targets, our ‘good nature’ is taken advantage of. But is it really our good nature? Or is it our vulnerability. Is it our endless search for certainty and security.
Well guess what, guys, you won’t find any certainty or security in these sorts of people! You will only get used. So should be blame these ‘others’, those who pray on our weakness? Nope – what would that achieve? Those people have their own stuff going on.
Bottom line, everybody is fighting their own battle. But what we can do is take personal responsibility for our own learning and growth. Aim for those little breakthroughs. If yours are anything like mine then each time you have little breakthrough, you leave one of ‘those people’ in your dust. A controlling boyfriend, a boss with boundary issues, a friend who wants all of your energy and attention. You can move on…in your own time, when you are ready of course.
I have noticed a pattern in approval-seeking thinking, and it seems to be a cycle to me. I would love to know what you think about this, so please leave me a comment below if this looks familiar to you too.
Anyone with me?
Neuroscience and developmental psychology researchers tell us that these sorts of patterns and habits are well formed in the brain by seven years of age.
I have been operating on the logic of a small child. No wonder it doesn’t serve me in my complex, adult existence. And the bottom line is that we know it doesn’t work for anyone. People pleasing fails because we can’t please everyone – what others think of us is not within our control. Sure it’s within our influence. But how are you influencing others if you are a ticking stress-bomb of pent up, passive-aggressive rage?
When you overlook your own needs to put others first you wind up in a dark place. Sooner or later, you will run out of energy (or even the will to live) and will lose your perfect, people pleaser exterior. The mask will come off. Hell, the gloves might come off too.
This really doesn’t serve anyone. And so I would like to leave you with this:
Self-care is not selfish. You can be a better friend/employee/partner/parent if you are operating from a happy, authentic place. Don’t try to please everyone, it is a myth, just like the myth of perfection. It can’t be done. Take care of others, but take care of yourself too.
An Elective Orphan x
p.s. My eCourse is now live and you can watch the introductory video here.