Approval-seeking territory

You're in this territory if you:

  • Change or downplay your point of view to appease your boss or agree with the rest of the team in meetings.
  • Compliment colleagues’ work, so they’ll like you.
  • Always say yes to requests for your time, even if it means compromising your professional boundaries.
  • Fail to speak up if you’ve been treated unfairly by a co-worker or boss.
  • Become upset or insulted when someone disagrees with you or heavily edits your work.

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Self Improvement

MORE IDEAS FROM THE ARTICLE

Research has shown that social rejection activates many of the same brain regions involved in physical pain, which helps explains why disapproval stings.

Reflect on how your childhood or early development may be contributing to your current approval-seeking behavior. In many cases, a tendency to seek approval at work stems from something in your past. 

For example, were you taught to respect authority growing up? If so, you may feel uncomfortable expressing disagreement in work contexts.

See disapproval as a form of feedback, as information you can use to improve and make your next performance even stronger. It also helps to also re-frame rejection as something positive. 

It means you’re moving forward and pushing limits, rather than just staying in your comfort zone.

By understanding that there is abundant room for growth, improvement, and success, you free yourself from needing approval from others.

If you usually seek approval, focus on improving processes, rather than achieving a particular outcome.

When you focus your energy on one singular result (getting a promotion or raise for example) you attach your self-worth to external standards—which may be outside of your control.

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RELATED IDEAS

Mentally strong people ask themselves, "What did I gain from this?" so they can learn from rejection. With each rejection, they grow stronger and become better.

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IDEAS

Fear of rejection

The main reason why we are having a hard time declining other people's requests is that we are afraid to be rejected. We are afraid that people might think negatively. It's a heavy burden to carry because with the urge to say yes also comes a lack of self-confidence and self-value.

Acknowledging Emotions

Trying to minimize the pain by convincing yourself—or someone else—it was “no big deal” will only prolong your pain. The best way to deal with uncomfortable emotions is to face them head-on.

Admit when you're embarrassed, sad, disappointed, or discouraged. Be confident in your ability to cope with discomfort in a healthy manner.

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