I wanted to take a moment to discuss something that plagues the lives of many of us, Approval. It is especially something that we as women deal with because we are often times groomed from birth to be nurturers, care givers, and sometimes providers.
Approval Addiction or "People Pleasing" is when an individual constantly seeks out the acceptance of others and bases the worth of themselves and their relationship of others on that acceptance. This individual means well and genuinely cares for the people they are helping but doesn't take the time to put their needs first which can foster resentment and feelings of rejection when they are in the position of needing help.
Let me clarify that there is absolutely nothing wrong with helping others and/or being a great friend or family member. However, there are certain limits and boundaries that need to be established to prevent emotional disregard and burn out.
Here are some signs based on the research of counselors who work with helping people overcome this:
1. You make compromises for acceptance: Do you place your belief system and integrity to the wayside so that you can be viewed in another light by friends, family, or co-workers?
2.You are controlled by what others think: Do you feel that you have to walk, talk, or dress a certain way to be viewed as someone of value? Also, do you obsess over comments people make about you even if they are hurtful causing you to believe hurtful things they say about you?
3. You exhaust yourself by doing acts of kindness such as pulling people out of financial binds or allow others to blame you for things that you had no control over.
4. You allow people to hold you to a standard that they don't uphold themselves: People that you consistently offer your time and efforts to accuse you of never "caring" but are never there for you when you are in need.
5. You allow individuals in your life who help you based on the simple fact that they plan to "cash in" their favors to you later: These people don't help you out of the goodness of their hearts, they only help because they see they can take advantage of you in the future.
If you identify with any of the above points it's not too late to start taking measures to implement healthy boundaries. You will save yourself a lot of stress, heartache, and energy by simply making a conscious decision to care less about what others say and want of you.
Take your time in responding to requests from others. If they become impatient create a solid response that you can "administer" over and over....(i.e. "I'm sorry, I don't know what to tell you, I don't know what to tell you, yeah I don't know what to tell you.")
GET NEW FRIENDS! People grow apart and people change it's ok to move on and create friendships that are healthy and supportive. Seek out connections with others that give you what you give out.
Love family members from a distance. You can't choose your family but you can definitely practice control of how often you let them into your space and how you interact with them. Know your limits and your triggers. Don't agree to go on a 3 day weekend with your cousin who casually brings up your recent break up like she's discussing the weather.
I don't have all the answers but I hope that this post can help anyone that has ever felt that they are a prisoner of their own positive regard.
Here are a few books to also help in your journey (Click on book for ordering info):
"Stay true to yourself. Always remember that what others think about you is between them and God...and is none of your business...."