Approval Addiction

You wake up and one of your children announces you are not winning parent of the year with that parenting technique.  You put on your outfit for work and your mate asks, “Are you wearing that today?” When you get to work your boss wants to know why you forgot to run a report?  A bad day.  By the end of the day the opinion of everyone else matters so much you wonder what on earth is wrong with you? 

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What makes a bad day bad, and good day good for you?  Is the approval of others so important that the very thoughts about yourself hinges on how others examine your work, your life, your looks?  This starving for affirmation leaves us thirsty, and riding a roller coaster ride of emotion. 

Let’s paint another picture.  You wake up and your children adorn you with praise, your mate tells you how beautiful you look (while he is mopping the floor, just had to add that, that’s a good day), and your boss is so thrilled with your work she wants to give you a raise.  Everyone applauds at work as you leave her office, and you feel affirmed, approved…..This is a GREAT day!

All of us want some form of affirmation and desire to do well in our efforts.  No problem.  It becomes a problem when I define myself by what man thinks of me, says to me, views me. This approval addiction is recognized by the 12 Step Program as an addiction.  The same principles that alcoholics use to overcome alcohol, can be used for someone who is addicted to approval, and people pleasing.

Many causes of this addiction exist, such as trauma or abuse as a child, inborn traits and personality preferences, how you were raised, your culture.  God wants us to know Him in such a way that we examine our lives based on His love alone.  He speaks to our potential, and speaks promises into our lives!

For some of us awareness is enough and we can seek God, and a good friend to help us understand.  For others, a trusted Christian counselor is needed to work through the layers, and reframe our thoughts and patterns.  This bondage that chains us to false self-esteem and fickle humans is dangerous. 

Ask yourself the following questions:

  • Are you obsessed with what other people think about you?
  • Are you afraid to rock the boat?
  • Is it difficult for you to know what you want?
  • Do you find yourself saying yes when you desperately want to say ‘no’?
  • Do you feel guilty when someone does not approve of something you are doing?
  • Is it hard for you to express your feelings when they are different from someone you are close to?
  • Does your happiness depend on the approval of others?

If you answered yes to any of those questions, it may be time to kick the ‘approval addiction’. To replace draining habits with nurturing habits. (

I have not read this book, but trusted, Christian friends have shared that Approval Addiction by Joyce Meyer is a great book for the healing process.   If you’ve read it, and would like to comment on it, please do so!

I like the thoughts of this counselor:  Do you seek approval from someone who does not have it to give? For whatever reason, do you seek their approval hoping for them to release their approval to you, yet they are not capable of this? 

Remember who is more than capable.  He is more than enough, and will guide you and teach you.  He is the gentle shepherd!


“… my grace is sufficient for you, for my POWER is made perfect in weakness.” (2 Corinthians 12:9)  

..for it is God Who works in you to will and act according to His good purpose.. (Phil. 2:13)

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