We Are Therapists – Here's How To Stop Seeking Approval From Others

It'll take some work but it is possible.

According to Psychology Today, 85% of people worldwide report having low levels of self-esteem.

Self-esteem relates to how we think and feel about ourselves and how much value we believe we have as individuals, according to NHS Inform. This means that if your self-esteem is low, you’re more likely to focus on your setbacks than your successes. Additionally, people with low self-esteem often ignore their own achievements and positive things about themselves and tend to be needlessly self-critical.

When we’re experiencing these confidence dips, it’s likely that we’ll look for validation of who we are in other people — a behaviour known as ‘seeking external validation’, according to Psych Central.

If this all sounds familiar to you, advice from licensed therapists Nick Tangeman and Dr. Jim from podcast ‘Pod Therapy’ might be exactly what you need.

How to overcome low self-esteem

Back in April this year, the therapists took to social media platform Reddit saying, “We are Therapists hosting a R-Rated podcast called “Pod Therapy”, Ask Us Anything for Mental Health Awareness Month!”

One user, So1337, asked”, “It took me a long time to realise that I was constantly seeking my esteem and sense of self-worth from others. What are some things I can do to 1) look inward for my own worth and 2) stop seeking validation so much?”

The therapists responded to the commenter saying, “First, it’s not inherently bad to get a sense of ourselves from the perspectives of others. Humans are social animals, we value community and its normal for us to want to please others and desire their approval.

“However, as you’ve realised, this often becomes toxic to us. Maybe the people we look to for approval will never give it, can’t give it, or have a myopic view of reality and we shouldn’t trust their judgement of us in the first place. Maybe people around us see our conspicuous flaws and fail to be curious or interested in who we really are. Or maybe we are just surrounded by assholes.”

The therapists then recommended taking the following steps:

Reflect on who you are as a person

The therapists unsurprisingly recommended looking inwards as the first step saying, “Get a list of personality description words from the internet. Look through that list and circle as many positive qualities about yourself as you can find which you relate to. Then reflect on each of the words you circled, recalling memories and experiences you’ve had which you feel exemplify that word.

“Make it a ritual in your life to review your day, your week, your month and your year through the lens of what your personal goals for yourself were, where you’ve grown as a person, and what you are proud of.”

They said this is important because, “part of how we let go of the voices of others is to consciously hear our own voice, so we have to make this a practice in your life.”

Be direct about your needs

The therapists pointed out that when we’re looking for external validation, we’re often doing so passively and laying expectations without actually indicating what we need. They said, “While it’s natural to seek validation from others, we often do so in a passive way that is unsatisfying. We are *hoping* somebody will thank us, compliment us or affirm us.

“We post online that we are sad or feeling down to fish for some positive feedback (which isn’t wrong to do). But a better way is to approach a few quality people in your life from time to time and tell them that you need a reminder of what they like about you, or admire in you, and ask if that is something they can take a moment to give you.

″I like being direct and honest about what we need from others because it gives them an opportunity to think about it and get closer to providing what we need.”