We all want it. You want it. I want it. No matter how much we try to escape it or explain it away, we all want the approval of others. This isn’t simply a “want” however, it’s a legitimate need. We need a sense of approval in our life to be emotionally healthy. Like all needs, though, it’s easy for us to indulge it in unhealthy ways. We need food. We don’t need a dozen Krispy Kremes, 3 Big Macs, and a gallon of sweet tea. We need time off from work. We don’t need to live in our parent’s basement and have 365 days off a year. Approval isn’t bad, it’s necessary, but it has to be sought out in healthy ways. Here are three ways to make sure your need for approval is met in a healthy way:
First Things First
The first and most important approval that we must be assured of, is the approval of God. Mercifully, the Bible is jammed full of stories and declarations of God’s approval of you. God’s love for us is described as everlasting, and in a letter to Christians in Rome, a writer says,
"And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from His love. Death can't and life can't. The angels can't and the demons can't. Our fears for today, our worries about tomorrow, and even the powers of hell can't keep God's love away." -Romans 8:38
God loves you and won’t ever stop. Approving of you and approving of what you do are not the same thing, however. If God loves us then he would never approve of everything we do. You love your child and therefore, you don’t approve of your her sorting through the bottles of cleaner under your sink to drink whatever looks good.
The second approval that you need for a healthy life is your own. God loves you while knowing everything about you. He owes you nothing. And, He chooses to love you. It that's true, then you can choose to love yourself as well. You can’t really think that you are more discerning that God do you? You have to stop beating yourself up. You need to quit assuming that you are the most unintelligent, unattractive, and unimportant person in the room. You matter, God says so. So, learn to trust God on this one, and agree with him about your worth.
Only when you know that the God of the Universe loves you, and you have made peace with yourself can you accept the approval of others in a healthy way. When we have accepted God’s love, we don’t have to desperately seek the approval of others to survive. We accept it when it’s there, and we are ok when it’s not. Find healthy people who love you for who you are , not for what you can do for them. When you have found those good friends, invest in them and enjoy them.
Approval is a key component to a healthy life, but seeking it blindly can also create huge messes for us. Know that God loves you today, just as you are, and that the plans He has for you are better than you can imagine.