How Do I Stop Seeking Approval?

Updated on May 28, 2010
S.T. asks from San Diego, CA
10 answers

Ironically, I am posting a question about not needing input. But, as a parent, wife, friend, how does one reach a point where they don't need the approval of others?
Ideally, we need to approve of ourselves first, right?
And once we have that it really won't matter what anyone else thinks.
Should it matter what anyone else thinks? Should I even be on this site posting questions to complete strangers about what they think of me?
Should we judge ourselves, our mothering skills, our friendships based on anyone else's opinion?
How does a person reach the point when they don't care if someone else thinks they are a good mom?
That they volunteer the right amount of time in the classroom, feed their children properly, schedule the proper quantity of play dates, etc
Judgement for divorcing, judgement for their children's short-comings, judgement for not being perfect. We judge each other instead of praising one another. We need to lift eachother up. We are doing the hardest job in THE WORLD.
Does anyone see what I am getting at here?
When does one stop seeking approval for being a good parent?
I feel like I am waiting for validation from teachers, dentists, friends, etc. that I AM a good mother.

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answers from Houston on

Hardest job in the world!?! Are you kidding? I am a SAHM, after 18 yrs+ in the restaurant biz...this, my friend, is a cake walk!!!
That, right there, is the attitude you need to have. I dont give two shakes of a salt shaker of what "others" have to say about me. I only have three people to answer too....MYSELF, my husband and my daughter.
YOU dont need validation....hell, you will wear yourself out trying to get it. Just be the best you can be...all the other stuff will fall right in line.

Remember, people dont think about you as much as you think...its YOU that does all the thinking. Stop wearing yourself out and LIVE LIFE!!!!!

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Cleveland on

Well it has to come from within yourself. I was in need of people approval. I am still polite and gracious. However I have learned to just let certain things go. Some people will never like you and thats ok.
Be happy with yourself because when your at ease with yourself you make others comfortable to be around you.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from San Francisco on

Hi there,

I have felt this as well. For me it was because I went from being a professional where I received praise all the time in the form of a paycheck, raises, promotions, positive client and supervisor feedback, etc. to being a stay-at-home mommy, where no one thanks you for all the hard work or tells you that you are doing a good job! And, you have to be self-motivated and set your own priorities. These were hard for me to do since I was used to fulfilling others' requests professionally.

What I've learned in the past 2.5 years since I've been a mommy and housewife (geez, how did this happen?! :) is that everyone does things differently, so there is no "right" way to do things, so no one can give you approval. Know what I mean? Also, are your kids generally happy and do you have a good relationship with them? If so, then you are doing a wonderful job!

And are YOU happy? The first year I went to ridiculous lengths to do the "right" think for my baby girl. I was miserable, and looking back I think I spent much too much energy trying to be perfect, and not enough energy in being happy. I think if I'd been more flexible and taken some short cuts the entire family would have been happier.

I'm living in Italy right now, and there is a saying that goes something like this: "fare il meglio non fa bene". It means that doing the "best" thing isn't good for you. And I think that's true. When I see uptight mommies (like me!) and compare them to really relaxed ones, I think the relaxed ones are having more fun, and so are the kids. And the kids aren't missing anything.

Anyway, that's just my opinion! Like another mommy said, think about what's important to YOU and let that guide you. No mommy or wife can be prefect or do everything. But when we do things with love it is absolutely good enough!

Hugs to you,


1 mom found this helpful


answers from Seattle on

I used to care what other people think... and really... I mostly don't anymore. I say mostly because I do NOT walk outside naked no matter how hot it is. So obviously I care to some extent. But really... I don't care.

I do love learning about how other people do things. And I co-opt like MAD. The "why didn't I THINK of that?!?" is both wonderful and frustrating at the same time. I'm also more than willing to share my own experience... but as always... my experience is mine (right, wrong, or indifferent). It doesn't always translate.

What matters to me:

- My son
- Kindness
- Bravery
- Laughter
- Curiosity
- Honor
- Education
- Pleasure (i'm a wee bit of a hedonist)

As long as I know what matters to ME, and I'm doing right by myself and for my son... the rest of the world can go hang themselves or come along for the ride. The tricky part is that only we ourselves determine what is right. No one else can, but we live in a society... so we have to do what's right by ourselves while negotiating what is right by convention. (Case in point, my son was sick a lot in K. The convention -aka what the school board says is *okay* in absences made my husband very very afraid, because we were beyond the 9 days per year by xmas. I didn't care. I'm not going to send my son to school sick, and I don't need anyone's approval to do what I believe is right by my son. What I WILL do is get the absence backed up with a doctor's note... and be prepared to fight the school board. Come to find... even though that's district policy, it's not enforced until 3rd grade because K-2nd graders are still catching every bug that goes around. But I only found it out, because we were waaaaay past the limit and I enquired into the appeal process.)

The other thing is, though... like most people... I enjoy friendships and relationships. Which requires compromise and understanding... but not compromise of my own values. No one else can tell me what "right" is. I may or may not agree. The people I agree with most tend to become friends. And vice versa.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Portland on

What an outstanding question, Luka. I'm 62, and still working on it. In my case, and I suspect many other people's (especially women's), we are taught almost from birth to care what our parents, teachers, and the whole rest of society thinks of us. That early training gets in deep.

Because of the degree to which I have suffered over this exact issue, I love parenting that considers the child's needs and feelings, not exclusively, but respectfully. I love parenting that helps a child recognize and nurture her own sense of right and wrong, rather than always striving to please an outside authority. I love parenting that doesn't demand some arbitrary idea of perfection, and accepts that life is a learning process, mistakes and all. I have loved learning about and offering this kind of parenting – a process that has helped me quite a bit to heal my own dysfunctional, dependent, fearful upbringing.

To the degree that this sort of parenting takes hold in coming generations, I think we have a chance of producing children who have genuine self-esteem and a deeply rooted sense of ethics, who can recognize and respect the needs of others because they can recognize their own authentic needs, who care about kindness and are not possessed by materialism, who know what respect feels like, how to give it and receive it. May it become so.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from San Francisco on

You don't need anyones' approval only your own. Sometimes we forget that we have been there, done that, got the T-shirt to prove it. It doesn't hurt to look in that mirror each morning and say to yourself, I'm a wonderful person, I love myself, and I have achieved and accomplished. If you do this on a daily basis, you'll never ask again, Do I Need Approval. The answer is "NO"
Good luck, and don't forget the mirror. Take care.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

My husband is easily able to ignore others and doesn't care if they think he's raising his boys wrong. I on the other hand...I'm worried about what others think. I try to ignore it, but it's always in the back of my head. I really don't want my boys to feel how I do. My husband is so less stressed than I am. I actually want to homeschool my boys so they don't have to deal with the pressure of school. I also don't want to have to deal with the teachers who might not get along with my boys one year. My mother was great at standing up for me against a couple mean teachers...I just hope I can do that for my boys. I actually have joined a church recently for the fact of being surrounded by happy people. Everyone is happy with their children at group gatherings and are always trying to think positive. It's really helping being around positive people. It also helps that my husband thinks I do a wonderful job and tells me not to worry what others might think. I'm glad someone else is seeking more positivity in this world. And on that note...You are a great mother!
P.S. I feel like the best mother in the world because I finally bought bubbles for my boys! They can't wait to go outside tomorrow, they're pretending to blow bubbles inside.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Burlington on

My situation is not unusual but it is somewhat different from the norm and there are a lot of people (friends and family) who tell me that I should do things diffrerently then I do. My daughter's father and I are not together but we are GREAT co-parents. We've never gone to court and I get NO (not one penny in 3 years) child support from him. I work only part time and struggle financially. But, based on the facts of my life I have chosen to live this way. There are many reasons that I have decided on my current situation but they all achieve the same thing: What is best for my daughter. I feel that having 2 parents who love her and get along is far more beneficial to her than more "stuff". We have enough to get by; the rent is paid, the bills are paid, there is food and she's got clothes and lots of toys. There are many people who disagree with me and think I should sue her dad for support but in the grand scheme of things it would NOT be what is best for her and ultimately me. It was hard to push back against other's opinions (which is the "norm", I guess) but I chose what is right for us and our family and I am a happier (read, better) mom and my daughter is better off in the end. Find what is best for YOU and your FAMILY and do that and don't worry about what other's think. They are intergecting their opinions based on their life experience not yours. Good luck to you!



answers from Eugene on

Sometimes the need to feel approval can come from other things in your life, like maybe the past and how you grew up. This is just an example. I would recommend seeing a therapist. I love mine. I started going because I was suffering from depression after finding out that my daughter has autism and it is so helpful. We should be lifting each other up. We all do our best! I know that I do and that I am a great mom, wife, daughter, friend.. I am judged by others too, especially when my daughter has a HUGE meltdown in the middle of the store and they see that she looks "Normal", but they have no clue. If you are having the feelings that you need to be validated, then talk to a therapist. It can be so enlightening!



answers from Provo on

I love to read self help books. So much can be gained just by understanding yourself. The world just opens up for you. I love being around positive people who can give wonderful opinions. Positive people just lift you right up. I am reading a book right now called SELF MATTERS by Dr. Phil. It takes a very strong person to be able to self examine. We are doing the hardest job in the world and we NEVER get enough appreciation for it. That is OK because we all have to weigh our own strengths and give ourselves appreciation we need. Personally, I know that when my family finds fault with everything I do as a parent that they are very jealous because I am something they aren't. In the end we have to impress ourselves. I think to a certain extent it is nice to hear that we are being appreciated and I know those compliments don't come around enough. Most people want to look into everyone else's life and judge everything. To a certain extent that is what we are taught at a very young age so that is what we learn.

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