All of us seek approval to a certain level. Some more than others.
Some are “approval junkies” who live on people telling them how great they are and on being applauded for everything they do. If you do not approve, they either hate you for it and try to hurt you, or they end up being miserable themselves for not being able to secure approval. “People who are addicted to approval have a fragile ego,” according to Gregory Jantz, an author of several books about addiction. “Their sense of self-esteem is dependent upon whether or not someone likes them, so in order for them to feel OK about themselves, they need to know they are liked,” as he is quoted to say by the Chicago Tribune. Another life coach, Amanda Harvey, has another interesting analogy for approval junkies: “The words of others can be like the icing on the cake of our solid sense of rightness in ourselves, but if we don’t have that cake to start with, no amount of icing is going to do us much good.”
Some are self approving. They do not need nor seek others’ approval. They are who they are and they accept it that way. The do not need anyone to tell them whether they are good or bad. They do their own internal self inspections and take the necessary preventive and corrective action. They welcome input from others and listen attentively to what they have to say, because they want to learn about themselves through others. However, they do not let others define for them who they are or whether they are worthy of approval or not.
Others are “part-time” “approval junkies.” Meaning most of the time they are OK with themselves and do not necessarily seek approval even if they enjoy it when they get it. However, when feeling weak and vulnerable, they need and seek approval of others. I think most people are in this “in-between” state.
Regardless of which state one is in, even if one thinks he or she is an approval Junkie, it defeats the purpose to get angry at self for that, or to seek someone else’s reassurances that one is not an approval junkie. It sure defeats the very purpose in a funny and ironic way. Instead, a good place to start is from where we need to be: self approving. So, regardless of whether one loathes or loves others’ approval, one has to start by self approving self. Then observe when this self-approval is shaken, and make a mental record of how it feels at that moment and how one got there. Then shower self with love and self-approval and acceptance of the imperfection of self and being amazed and respecting of the complexity and sophistication of the human nature. It is so awesome! This opens the door for love and compassion towards self (in a good way) and towards others. From there, things become easier and more fun.
Being around an approval junkie is a two way sword. On one hand, you can get your way from them through flattery. So, relatively they are so easy to manipulate. On the other hand, you are not always int he mood to dish out compliments and admiration. The problem with the approval junkies is that their narcissistic tendencies ensure that you and they focus only on their greatness. Reminds me of King Julien from the movie Madagascar when he says:”Feel free to bask in my glow.” While one can tolerate that once in a while, and even laugh at it, it does get tiring after a while.