We all have a need to feel validated; to know that others value us and that the good work and actions we take are recognized and appreciated. But what happens when our need becomes ‘too much?’ How do you handle it when you are doing well at your job or you are cleaning around the house and no one notices? It can be very hard to keep doing those activities for very long without feeling undervalued or unappreciated. Then, one of two things will happen:
1. you will either stop doing them 2. you will overdo
Either one of these resulting actions is unnecessary and unhealthy for all concerned. When our need for approval from others becomes excessive, it can lead to a host of problems with the main one being lack of self-worth/self-esteem. Hidden hurts turn to anger which then can lead to one of the two actions mentioned earlier. After a period of time, these hidden feelings can manifest in the form of physical problems, like headaches or stomachaches, or can lead to feelings of depression and anxiety.
Is it wrong to want or need approval? No it’s not. Recognition feels good and can enhance our self-esteem; it can be a motivator and spur us on to achieve more. But it can be negative when there is an expectation for it or if we over-give.
So what is the answer? First of all, recognize that you have the need and in what areas, i. e. work, children, home, etc. Review instances where you felt unappreciated and your resulting thoughts and feelings in that situation; look to see if your expectations were the problem or not. See how you handled it – did you demand gratification, hide it or perform another action in the hope of getting the result you wanted? Practice empathy to understand what the other person involved was doing at the time; maybe your boss was working on a deadline or dealing with a personal situation that got in the way. Work on your own approval by taking time to recognize the good work that you do; write them down at the end of the day. Explore your need for approval – do we truly take the actions we do with others for them or for us?
Begin to validate yourself so you will need it less and less from others. You will feel free and your thought and actions will come from a purposeful place, leading you to feel empowered and of service as opposed to obligation.