Is Approval Seeking Necessary?

Papers are due tonight in my class and I am excited to read them.  They were to answer 20 of the 140 questions I gave them that I thought my assist them in expanding their awareness and consciousness.  This is an opportunity to see what the class is picking up from the material presented and from their own learning about life.    I get to work with these students and provide them with a unique perspective of my being a student of life and an experienced therapist.  I very much enjoy teaching at this level with people who are early in their learning about counseling others.

As I write this now I am sitting in my classroom as people are doing their counseling practice with each other.  I am staying away from listening in because I want them to get more comfortable.  Having an observer always creates a different dimension.  One of my fellow teachers observed me tonight (this is called Peer Observations here at the college) and I felt a tinge of anxiousness even though I feel confident in what I teach. 

The papers are in and sitting on my desk and I am holding back reading them as I write this.  I also got the written report from the peer observation at our break and I already looked and it was very positive.  Yeah!!! I feel relief.

The papers will wait because I want to explore this idea of what causes us to be so concerned about what others think?  It is like we are hardwired for approval seeking.  I wonder if that is true cross-culturally.  I suspect any culture that is highly influenced by the West is going to have some similar influences and seeking approval will be one of them. 

Why does it matter what other think?  Is it because we have self-doubts or judgment towards who we are?  Is it because we think all humans need to be approved of?  Is it the conditioning of our family and our culture?  Maybe we think approval of ourselves is wrong or a sign of too much ego?

My suspicion is that we seek the approval of others because we don’t fully approve of ourselves.   What is your answer?  When do you feel like you give yourself the approval you want?  Are you aware of your own self-criticism or judging?  Who is your harshest critic? 

Self-acceptance and self-love are very positive qualities.  What will help you develop these qualities? 

This is a lot of questions and the hope is that we all take a closer look at how we view ourselves.  If we are critical and withholding of our approval towards ourselves than maybe it is time to examine that strategy?  Are we able to make ourselves a better person by beating ourselves up?  My sense is we are just get better at beating ourselves up. 

Recognize and change the judging mind, find reasons to appreciate yourself and learn to be ok with who you are in the moment and it all works out for the better.