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  • Writer's pictureSusan Stubbings

Do you need approval?

Updated: Dec 20, 2023


Throughout our childhood we try to attach to our caregivers and gain approval from them, this is a natural way for a child to be validated and shown their value and worth from their caregivers. Children can’t survive on their own and this is one of nature’s way of ensuring we survive.

Feeling accepted and having a sense of belonging are important needs not only for children but as we become an adult.

Abraham Maslow an eminent psychologist and founder of the Humanistic school of thought believed our sense of belonging is an essential and core part of who we are as human beings: we are not meant to be alone. It is unlikely any of us would survive on our own.

If we had unconditional acceptance, love and were nurtured positively, we felt our parents and significant others approval naturally as a child, as an adult it is easier for us to maintain our subjective world in a positive light. As a child we depended mainly on approval from external sources i.e. our parents, teachers, peer and sibling.

If approval was conditional, negative and critical or we didn't feel loved and nurtured this also has a lasting affect on us into adulthood.

This external source is internalised, and we maintain our need to be validated, approved of and have a sense of belonging.

If we didn’t get our emotional needs met as a child, we will still try to fulfil the need that was missing in childhood as we become adults whether we recognise or knowledge our validation needs or not they exist in us all and are one of our strongest motivational energies we have.

Unacknowledged and unmet our acceptance, approval needs can leak out in our behaviours when we interact with other, these are often known as repetitive patterns.

We all have emotional and psychological patterns whilst some peoples will be positive and life enhancing other will be unhealthy, or even detrimental to their living, in relation to others and in relation to self.

But what are you need approval for as an adult and what might those unmet needs be for you?

To answer that question, we first need to reflect upon what healthy approval is and what is not for example:

Health approval is personal acceptance, having a sense of value in what you do and confidence.

Unhealthy approval is having a sense of being rejected, criticised and inconsistent behaviours leaving confusion behind.

Where does your pendulum rest on the continuum of personal acceptance, self-validation and confidence?

If you have repetitive patterns you find are restricting your living happily and at peace contact me and we can explore them together.

Contact me and connect - telephone or WhatsApp 07867938630 or email

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