Why Do We Seek Approval?
Most of us are looking to fit in, to be accepted and approved of, aren’t we? The ways in which we seek this are many. And it begs the question: Why?
Even the supposed ‘outsiders’ are seeking approval from others; still belonging to a group, even when looking to be different. They just become members of a group of ‘different’ people. A true outsider, without any need for approval, would be considered alien. A true outsider – who walked amongst us – wouldn’t actually be human.
Coming back to the question of why, once asked, we can easily see that approval is important to us because of our ego driven lives. You only need look at modern TV shows to see striking evidence of the popularity of ego driven approval. Consider Master Chef or similar cooking programs. Once the cook has presented their food to the judges for tasting, we then go through the rigmarole of their food either being praised, or criticised. We love it when the judges praise and praise the beautiful tastes and exquisite blends of flavours don’t we? Oh do they feed or slam the ego’s of those people! It’s sometimes painful to watch. It is addictive programming though.
Approval gives us a good feeling. We feel included and well… approved of!
This ‘feel-good-factor’ does hark back to childhood when we had parents, carers and teachers, tell us how good we were a particular thing; congratulated for creating or sharing, and sometimes for how well we knocked something down, only so we could build it up again. We felt loved and included when we were approved of.
Some will seek this approval all their lives, however, for most, it tends to diminish with age. As we grow older, we become increasingly confident; ever more self-assured. In a way, it’s another one of those things that separates the young, from the old. The young often compensate for this with bravado, arrogance and simple pretence.
When we begin to lose the need for approval our individualism really starts to take hold
Speeding up this process obviously has its advantages. Recognising and understanding approval – as the ego’s need to feel loved and accepted – helps us with this. One thing it’s important to bear in mind though, if we don’t seek the approval of others, our food might actually taste really bad!
Cook musician, writer or gangster, when seeking feedback, for how well you’ve done, it need only be about inclusion. We don’t need to bolster the ego, in such a way it makes the observer cringe, with embarrassment. Save your arrogance and bravado too. If your food – or whatever you do – isn’t up to standard, people will simply not love it enough, to return for more. All the judges need say is: ‘I love it, can I have some more please?’