Last week I talked about approval addicts and how they acquired this addiction. Why do most of us rely exclusively on others’ approval and discount our own perception of ourselves? We may not trust our instincts and judgement or we may believe that others’ perceptions are more accurate, unbiased, and valuable than our own. Regardless of your reasoning, your focus needs to shift. The problem with relying on others for approval is that you are at the mercy of the other person and you give up all power and control. For starters, generating a list of positive traits and qualities of yours that you can read regularly will help you in modifying your self-talk. Most approval addicts lack self-esteem and would benefit from developing ways to gain confidence through assertiveness, self-care, exercise, and self-acceptance. The new self-statement might be: “If I feel good about myself, it doesn’t matter if others do” or “most people are self-absorbed and not focused on approving or disapproving of me.” In essence, shifting the focus from the external to the internal will help tremendously. Learning self-approval and acceptance can be empowering. Another important point for the approval addict is learning to accept that it is impossible to be liked, loved, accepted, and approved of by everyone. We may get rejected even when we do a perfect job because the person evaluating us is having a bad day. Sometimes people don’t like us, which doesn’t mean we are unlikable, but may be based on jealousy, envy, fear, insecurity or whatever. Assuming it’s always a negative about you is unrealistic. Accept yourself and others will accept you. Remember you teach others how to love you by the way you love yourself.