Let’s face it Everyone wants to be liked. It feels good when someone pays you a compliment or likes a photo we post to Facebook.
But do you ever feel preoccupied with wanting attention from someone? Have you ever found yourself obsessing over what that person could be thinking about you, or stuck on that time your friend made a negative comment? Most of us can say we’ve experienced- or continue to experience on so e level that annoying anxious feeling.
When we are focused on people’s responses to us (good or bad), what we’re really doing is looking for their approval. We want to know that we’re liked and what we do is good, and if all that lines up, then we really feel accepted. We measure up. While this experience is entirely common for us as humans, it brings huge problems.
We are only making assumptions.
Despite our most well thought-out theories, we often can’t be sure why someone does what they do. Sure, if a person doesn’t respond to you text message as quickly as usual, they could be mad at you for something you did. They could also be facing a mini emergency at work that is taking tons of time to fix. It could be that after that moment of chaos they even forget to respond all together. Of course you don’t have all this information. And if you blame yourself it’s just wasted energy or a false assumption.
How others act is a reflection of them.
The Bible says, “Out of the heart the mouth speaks.” What a person says, or what they do matter, come from within them. It all flows from their life experiences, along with their own potential insecurities and past wounds. It has nothing todo with us. We shouldn’t take responsibility for something that comes from another person. And we certainly shouldn’t label ourselves by biased messages.
Others don’t have the knowledge of God.
When we are grasping for feedback from other people, we give them authority in our own life’s. In essence, we’re asking them to tell us who we are. Not only does this dishonor God, who alone is our creator, but it also just isn’t accurate. Even the closest presto us doesn’t know us as well as God does. They haven’t been around our whole lives, seen us through our journeys, known our inner world or potential as God does, and they also don’t know what the future holds for us.
Another person can’t determine your status if they don’t know you from the inside out.
The Issue Comes From Us.
One of the main problems with looking for validation from other people, is that if can’t actually fix the restless feeling you feel. And here’s why:
You see, that nagging desire to get responses from others is not actually about those other people. What it’s really about , is how you feel about yourself. If you are on a quest for another person’s approval- it’s because there’s a part of you that doesn’t completely approve of yourself.
It could feel like a tinge of dissatisfaction, a concern that we aren’t where we “should be” or a large gaping hole of inadequacy. We might not even be aware that we feel that way until someone actually hits a nerve. We feel suddenly injured or restless to fix their opinion. We then know we’re lacking the inner security we maybe thought we had.
Truth be told, if we accepted ourselves completely, we wouldn’t need to look for validation.
The problem is, the more we look for approval outside of ourselves, the more we reinforce the feeling that we need it. It perpetuates the cycle. And it doesn’t help us. The positive attention we receive feels good temporarily, but it cannot fix the source of our discomfort. Of course the (even perceived) disapproval just fuels anxious feelings, sadness or resentment. Peace can only be found as we address what’s going on inside us, because that’s where the problem lies.
And this is actually good news. While we have no control over others’ behavior or thoughts, we do have control over our own. If the problem is ours to fix, we can indeed fix it.