How to Stop Seeking Approval In Your Relationship
Do you have a constant need for your partner's approval, whether at home, with family and friends, or on social media?
Internal vs External Feedback
Approval seeking behavior is energy-draining and has negative consequences for you, your partner, and the relationship.
Imagine it, your partner sees that you don’t think you are “good enough” when you are constantly seeking external validation from them, that is tiring! As hard as this sounds, approval comes from within yourself and not someone else, even your partner. Knowing how to stop seeking approval in your relationship is, therefore important for both of you!
From an early age, many people have been conditioned to modify their behavior. They relied on outside sources such as feedback from others' approval, or whether or not their behavior negatively impacted their caregivers' response.
As a result, you may feel the need to “seek the approval” from others. When you get validation, it means you "exist" and are therefore worthwhile. On the other hand, when you don't get the approval or validation you are after, you don't feel worthy or important. For example, as a child, you may have experienced positive attention from your teacher when you had good grades at school or avoided punishment from your parents when you were quiet. Or maybe you disappointed someone when you disagreed with them.
The list of scenarios that can impact on you as a child to change your behavior is endless, from the approving smile of a parent to the withdrawal of hugs, etc. As a child, you quickly learn to adapt your behavior to receive love and acceptance.
You learned to stop listening to what you want, and what is right for you, because your basic need for love, and acceptance, from your caregivers, is hard-wired and perceived as a necessity for survival. External validation became more important than your internal thoughts and doing what feels right for you. As a result, you learned to turn the volume down, or completely off, and you became emotionally unavailable to yourself!
Issues arise when you take this childhood learned behavior for survival, into adulthood which can last your entire life. Some adults become addicted to positive affirmations and needing approval from others, and will deliberately sabotage situations, or relationships, so they can be the “hero” in the relationship for salvaging a problem which they sabotaged.
“Queen of social chameleons, I mastered the art of telling people what they wanted to hear and being someone they would find impressive—all the while worry incessantly about what others thought of me, fearing criticism, and holding myself back as a result.”
— Sacha Crouch
Why do You Want Approval?
How many times (on an average day), do you actively try to get your partner's approval? You are probably approval-seeking without even realizing it.
Seeking your partner's approval takes away the real, and authentic "you." You are not being yourself because you're trying to avoid disapproval, which results from low self-esteem and listening to your negative thoughts.
Why do you want your partner's approval? Maybe you are fed up with trying to get your partner’s approval and living in their shadow? For example, are you always putting the needs of your partner before yours? Or do you feel that your partner constantly puts you down and nothing you do is "good enough"?
Why do you put the needs of your partner before yourself?
Is it because you want to be approved of, accepted, and you fear their rejection because you don't want to be alone and isolated? These fears may stem from your childhood and are coming to the surface.
The fears that come up to the surface want to be noticed and loved. They do not want to be pushed away and ignored.
The need for others' approval has adverse consequences on your life, for example, it can cause anxiety because of your inability to stop worrying about what your partner thinks of you. Eventually, you may end up living in fear because you don't want to disappoint your partner.
Needing your partner's approval prevents you from letting go of your fear of disapproval and reaching out for what you want. For example, you may want a Chinese meal for dinner but are afraid to say in case your partner wants to eat Indian. In this scenario, you are "people-pleasing" and don't want to say what you want in case your partner disapproves.
“Seeking validation will keep you trapped. You don't need anyone or anything to approve of your worth. When you understand this you'll be free.”
- Unknown -
As a people pleaser, you may procrastinate and avoid doing things that important to you. For instance, go back to school and get that qualification so you can follow your dream, but you are afraid that (again) you will disappoint your partner.
Time and time again, you will find reasons why you cannot to take advantage of new opportunities. Maybe you fear failure and your partner is a convenient "excuse" not to pursue your goals? When you live your life trying to please others, you are not living your full potential and therefore not giving your relationship everything it deserves!
When you no longer need your partner's approval, you have a strong sense of self.
A strong sense of self means you have self-esteem, and you love and accept yourself just the way you are!
I could give you a list of ideas on how to let go of seeking your partner’s approval. A list of how to develop your sense of self by telling you what I think you want to hear so I get your approval. I could list all those obvious self-help tips, for example, keep a journal, be genuine in your interactions with others, do positive affirmations, be grateful, etc.
In this post, I will share with you what I know to be true; the three top tools that work and have helped to improve my self-esteem. This is how to stop seeking approval in your relationship:
Work on Your Chakras
Each Chakra is an energy center, and when your chakras are off balance, under or overactive, they will affect your life. According to, Belinda Davidson, if one chakra is imbalanced, it will affect your other chakras. You can’t work on one chakra and ignore the others; they all need love and attention.
Working on your chakras improves your relationship with yourself and attracts loving and supportive people into your life. There are many chakras, but there are seven main ones.
Below, I will give brief examples of how your first three chakras being out-of-balance can impact on your life, well-being, and need for approval from others.
- When your chakra 1 (Root) is out of balance, you may feel unsafe, insecure, you do not have a sense of connection or belonging; you cannot trust yourself or others and set healthy boundaries.
- When your chakra 2 (Sacral) is out of balance, you seek people who will make you feel good about yourself, and you may form obsessive (unhealthy) attachments.
- When your chakra 3 (Solar Plexus) is out of balance, it affects your power, self-confidence, and self-esteem. You can become dependent on, and put the needs of your partner before yourself, and attract people who have narcissistic traits.
If you want to discover more about chakras and how they are connected, click the "Learn More" button below.
The above is a very general overview to give you a basic understanding of how imbalanced chakras can affect your life.
So how do you work on your chakras? Focus on each chakra two to three times a week (every day if possible).
Where your attention goes, energy flows, and when this energy flows, you are balancing your chakras. The longer you focus on them, the quicker you will see and feel results (the minimum of five minutes on each one is a good guideline).
Do not expect to see results overnight, after all; you took your lifetime to get where you are today!
To be aware of your thoughts.
Be aware and acknowledge when you seek the approval of others.
Is there a pattern? If you want to discover more about your patterns of behavior in a relationship, click here.
When you think and behave differently to get your partner’s approval, does it bring up any sensations in your body?
Focus on the sensations in your body that arise. You are developing the muscle and ability to listen to your inner guidance rather than seek validation from your partner and external sources. You will become more insightful, honest, and confident as a result. Like everything in life, it takes time and practice.
Do not judge the feelings and make them wrong; just feel them. Observe the sensations leave your body.
The process can take anywhere between two minutes and several hours to achieve.
You are doing deep work. You are clearing your buried hurts and traumas. You are working on and changing your energy.
Love Your Thoughts and Feelings
When you “catch” yourself thinking, or behaving, in a way that is seeking the approval of your partner, acknowledge the thought and feeling that are associated with you wanting to get approval, and "LOVE it!"
When you make yourself wrong, you are in resistance. When you try to work out "why" you had the thought or feeling, you're in resistance.
What you resist, persists. If you want to change your behavior, acknowledge it and LOVE it!
As Kyle Cease says, if you feel bad about feeling something, say what you are feeling followed by, “And I love that!” For example, you may feel bad that you ate a chocolate cake. You then make the statement, "I feel bad for eating that chocolate cake even though I know it's bad for me, and I LOVE THAT!"
You stand in your true power and authenticity when you do not seek or need approval from your partner and others.
You, your partner, and your relationship will benefit!
So there you have it—my top 3 tools to stop seeking approval from your partner by working on your inner strength and sense of self. Having a growth mindset and having the ability to stand up for what really matters to you is an indication you're standing in your own power. If someone disagrees with your perspective, that is okay! Let's move from worrying what your partner or others think, to sharing your ideas, gifts, and unique you!
Why do you seek approval?
What tactics do you use?
How does seeking approval impact on you and your relationship?
What can you do differently when you seek others' approval?
Why do you crave inclusion?
How has dimming your light impacted on your mental health?
What is the first step you can take towards going after what you really want?
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I look forward to hearing from you.
Until next time
Relationship Coach and Dating Coach
Coach 2 Connect
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