Approval is like a dangerous drug.

When we win approval from others, we feel loved and accepted. That’s what we’re after, those two feelings.

With a feeling of love and acceptance, we generally feel better about ourselves and our position in the world.

It’s important to have this when growing up. It’s important for our parents to help us feel loved and accepted, maybe even a little bit special.

Less so to not at all in later years.

It can even be dangerous — chasing approval — because it becomes like an addiction. We start needing it and can feel worthless without it.

The medicine is to try and find ways to be OK as you are. Meditation can help, definitely. Removing yourself from toxic peer groups. Making a list of all your positive qualities.

The main thing is to be aware of the pattern. To catch ourselves when we are looking for approval from others.

It’s not sustainable, this approach. Self-defeating, also, just like a drug that gives you happiness, eventually causes suffering.

The ultimate medicine? Doing what you keep telling yourself you should be doing but are avoiding out of ___________ (fill in the blank).

When we do our work (however imperfectly), the love and acceptance automatically comes. Naturally, then, others approve of us because we gave ourselves what we were looking for, and that’s like the icing on the cake.


I speak from Silence.