Perfectionism or Approval Addiction

Dancing bear in Bulgaria about 1970 3

You call it perfectionism.  I call it approval addiction.  It’s all the same.  It is all rooted and grounded in wrong thinking.

Thinking that we have to measure up to what other’s think, and have their approval to be of any worth.

This is the lie bought into with every action we take to please someone else.

We all want to be wanted.  To be loved.  To be needed.  To serve a purpose.  However, that natural tendency can go haywire, and the next thing you know you are desperate to be wanted, loved, needed, and significant.

It can paralyze you.  Which decision do I make?  Will I be accepted?  What will others say or think?  Will this please God?  Oh, God I pray this pleases you.

We can buy the lie.  Bow down to the God of opinions, and end up hating ourselves.

The thing is that we are wanted.  Loved beyond measure.  Needed as the hands and feet of Christ.  Needed for a niche only we can fill in the Body of Christ, and the world.  Original masterpieces that serve a divine purpose that affects eternity.  And this self-hatred, and this idolatry.  Well it is straight from the pit of hell.

I’ve been learning a lot of life lessons on Approval addiction.  This is something I have battled for the majority of the years I’ve walked this planet. Only one conclusion can give you a clue into what it takes for me to overcome what other people think…

What I am learning is that if I take my focus off God’s approval of me I’ll go for someone else’s in a snap.  In fact my own approval doesn’t matter if I don’t have a grip on His everlasting love for me, and rest in who He made me to be.

Of the addictions I have overcome from the past it is by far the worst.  Insecurity feeds it.  Those who smell it exploit it.  And like any drug the more you crave it the more you need.

I remember as a child being told to comb my hair and brush my teeth to go outside to play.  That is something I could care less about when it comes to my children jumping on the trampoline.

Don’t get me wrong.  It is important to teach children hygiene, and I do, but I knew that was not was being taught.  I don’t know if that was my family’s intention, but that is what I learned.

I was being taught that image was everything.  In fact what other people thought, and what they knew.  It was something I never stopped thinking about.

Suddenly I was so self-absorbed thinking about what others thought about me.

So after years and years of trying to keep an image that you would approve of.  I gave up.

Today I still give up.  I don’t have the energy to expend in making others happy.  In fact you will never make everyone happy, and make yourself miserable trying.  Just read the latest news articles online, and check out the comments.

This is a generation that is ludicrously addicted to the approval of others. Everyone’s opinion is out there about everything. We have social media mania. We can tweet during talk shows and news polls. And if for one minute we allow the statistics and opinions to shape our actions we would all be like dancing bears. Tapping out an exhaustive tune.


Remember that as those whom Christ has redeemed, we need only live for an audience of One. Lets save our dancing for rejoicing in His eternal, unchanging approval.

For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ. Galatians 1:10 ESV