Approval is a drug.
By David G. Markham, C.S.W.


I went to church yesterday and the priest said in his homily that approval is like a drug.

I started thinking that he's right. Approval makes people high. Some people will do anything for it. I have known people who have cheated, lied, stole, killed, screwed, taken drugs just to make others happy so they can get their approval.

What is it that makes some people crave approval?

Low self esteem? Insecurity? Low self confidence?

Some people need to be loved by others because they don't love themselves, and because they don't love themselves they don't believe that anyone else could really love them either, and because nobody else seems to love them, they don't love themselves. Dog chasing its tail. Vicious circle.

Advertisers know how to play on this lack of love and craving for approval. That's how they sell their products. They tell us that if we wear these clothes, and use this perfume, and drive their car, then other people will approve of us and we will be happy.

My son worked with some guys who robbed the Olive Garden at 2:00 AM when they were closing. Got away with $258.00 to be split three ways for hip hop clothes for the rapper's concert coming up on Saturday night. Got caught. Got three to five in State prison.

I knew these kids' mother. She claims they didn't do it. My son says the guys were bragging about it looking for approval.

Preacher's right. Approval is just like a drug.

Some people will do anything for it. Even ruin their lives.

How to kick the habit?

When you quit, you go through withdrawal. You get depressed. You get anxious. You get paranoid thinking people are saying nasty things about you.

When you start being yourself and saying "No" to people, they start to wonder what's gotten into you. They will say that you are being bad, or that you are crazy, or that you are being disloyal and not wanting to fit in with the group any more.

You start finding new friends and new things to do. You start to realize that you are looking for satisfaction and fulfillment from using your talents and abilities in ways that you enjoy, and that you find following your interests rewarding. If people approve, that's great. If they don't, you still had a good time.

Having a mind of your own feels good. Standing on your own two feet feels solid. Counting for something which is important to you, gives you confidence.

Kick the habit, and be yourself. Take yourself out to dinner and see how you enjoy the company. Wherever you go, that's where you'll be, and you won't need the approval drug.

Remember the bumper sticker that says "If you don't stand for something, you'll fall for anything."



Mail your comments on this article to me David Markham



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