We define our identity through our communication with the people around us. We experience things and get feedback that directs us towards a desired, productive and agreeable behavior. Even the words we use require some form of agreement. For example, if I started writing here in another language, you would leave the website and even get a bit angry at me, because we do not have an agreement that I can write to you in a different language.
It is not easy to recognize when external approval becomes a kind of social trap. In fact, many people reject the idea by saying that we cannot really live without approval. If you feel you cannot live without approval, it must be right for you!
The fact we consider encouragement as approval is not a real problem. There is no person on Earth that does not enjoy it and feel good about it. The problem appears when we are sucked into an approval power game, because it is addictive and turns approval into a need for us.
Wanting to be loved, accepted, part of a group, approved or a source of pride for someone are all natural feelings that help us succeed in life, but when we cannot succeed (or function) without them, we are trapped. It happens slowly, like putting a frog in hot water and heating the water slowly, so the frog cannot feel it is being cooked slowly up to its death.
Read more about how to regain control of your life…