What is it with our need for approval?


Note: if you have an instagram account and prefer to watch me talk through this click here

Since we made our My Internal World site completely free in the last week over 300 people have registered accounts with us and many of those have started using the comprehensive assessment and emotional health report to build their emotional strength.

This is throwing up some interesting stats one of which is that over 70% of our users are experiencing challenges and stress around the issues of seeking approval of others.

This is part of our 5 Pillars of stress programme. These 5 pillars are the ways we as humans attract, build up and sustain stress in our lives.

Now please remember there is a healthy side to stress which improves our performance and speeds up our responses and helps us get things done. Equally, if we are exposed to stress for unhealthy periods of time or in unhealthy quantities then it can undermine performance, undermine our health and generally feel debilitating.

I am well aware that my need for approval from others has driven me, in the past, to achieve outstanding results, go the extra mile and support others in their time of need.

I am also aware that when this motivation gets out of hand I can find myself ruminating over what others have said, what they have not said, what they may be thinking and whether my current status, occupation, levels of success etc meet with their approval.

In the current (COVID19) situation where many of us are forced to stay at home, where our livelihoods are threatened and where, often, our sole source of information can be social media, any worries that we may have about our status, our future and how this may relate to the wider world are going to be exacerbated.

If you are feeling anxious and you are becoming aware that part of this is your need for approval from others, either specific others, or the world in general may be is is worth reflecting on these questions

How much is your life helped at the moment by the approval of others?

Are you aware when the balance changes from positive healthy motivator to unhealthy debilitating influence?


Maybe more importantly, what can you do to develop that consistent calm inner voice that approves of you and sustains you when times are challenging?


I am always struck by the emotional content of when I hear someone say “I don’t care what others think of me” because often my intuition has tuned in to their body language, their tone of voice and overall demeanor and it feels like they are trying to convince themselves more than they are me.

The personal journey I have been on from wanting to be approved of too much to rejecting others opinions and finally to understanding that there can be a healthy balance….I name that for myself as from Dont care to don’t mind. In other words I think I am in  healthy place when I genuinely don’t mind what others think of me.

I’ll end with 2 quotes – one is attributed to several people but it makes sense and it goes like this “what you think of me is none of my business”

And then moving back to that last question I suggested you may reflect on

Mark Twain wrote…man cannot be comfortable without his own approval.


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